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Flying squirrels are common rodents in most parts of the country, but as they are nocturnal, they are rarely seen.
Northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) and Southern flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans) are the only two natives of America. Both are gray-brown, but the northern species has gray belly fur at the base, while the southern one’s belly fur is all white.
Their sizes are also different. The southern squirrels are smaller, measuring 8 to 10 inches in length, while the Northern species measure 10 to 12 inches long. They are nocturnal, and people rarely see them.
They are appropriately called gliding squirrels because they are incapable of the true-powered flight of a bird. These little rodents are great at escaping predators due to their gliding abilities.
However, hawks, snakes, owls, and some climbing mammals efficiently manage to catch them.
They have a patagium membrane between their front and rear legs, allowing them to fly between trees. The slight leg movement controls the direction, while the tail serves as a brake to end its journey. This rodent can cover more than 150 feet in one glide.
They can eat various foods, including nuts, fungi, seeds, insects, and fruits. These agile animals are considered among the most carnivorous squirrels because they typically augment their diets with birds, eggs, carrion, etc.
The northern species mates once yearly, but the southern flying one mate twice.
This critter may live up to 10 years in natural surroundings, but its life span reduces to almost half in captivity.