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Southern Flying Squirrel

Southern Flying Squirrel
Photo by: 
Linda Orr

While most of my customers spend a lot of time and effort trying to keep squirrels out of their feeders, there are a few exceptions out there. The Orr family of Parkville brought in this photo recently of a welcome furry visitor.

Southern Flying Squirrels are not common in our area but they do occur. If you live in an area with lots of trees, it is worth keeping your eyes open and looking up when you take a moonlit evening stroll. Or, as in the Orr’s case, it is worth checking out your feeders at night. This fine fellow is enjoying a meal of our Total Cuisine. We have also had reports of them on peanut feeders.

Small and nocturnal, flying squirrels can’t really fly but the excessive amount of skin that stretches from their forearms to the hind legs acts like a parachute when they launch themselves from a tree. Like all squirrels, they prefer nuts and seeds.

If you would rather get a look at them during the day, here is a trick you can try. The next time you are in a heavily wooded area and come across a tree with a woodpecker hole in it, take a pine cone or stick and scrape up and down on the bark. This gives the tree’s residents the impression that something is climbing the tree and will at least draw a gaze from whoever is inside. I have had a flying squirrel pop out and soar right over my head only to land on another tree 30 feet away and quickly climb out of sight. They don’t always jump so make sure you get your binoculars on the hole quickly and look for eyes.

By Mark McKellar