Today’s Sunday Squirrel Spot Light star 🐿🌟is the Southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans). These squirrels glide through the air using a specialized skin membrane that stretches from ankle to ankle called a patagium. This allows them to leap from branches and gracefully glide through the sky to other nearby trees or down to the ground forage.
Southern flying squirrels are found in Eastern North America, but are rarely seen by squirrel gazers 🐿👀because unlike the other squirrel species profiled so far, southern flying squirrels are nocturnal🌙🌲. Using their extra large eyes, these flying rodents are able to see and forage at night. Flying squirrels enjoy eating insects, bird eggs, and fruits, but their favorite meals are hickory nuts and acorns 🌰. They do not hibernate during the winter months when food is hard to find, so they have to store food for later!
Southern flying squirrels are social animals and live in groups tucked inside hollowed out tree cavities, and sometimes occupy abandoned woodpecker holes. To communicate with their buddies these squirrels use ultrasonic vocalizations! Ultrasonic vocalizations are sounds so high pitched humans can not hear them. These are the same type of sounds that bats use for echolocation!
I have never been lucky enough to see a Southern Flying Squirrel myself so, today’s video clip is from National Geographic's coverage of research being done on squirrel flight mechanics. Watch these tiny flying rodents glide over a football field 🏈with ease!
(Neilson, 1918); (Thomas & Weigl, 1998); (Garroway, Bowman, & Wilson, 2013); (Marrant, et. al., 2013)