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Northern Flying Squirrels: Can They Really Fly?

Flying squirrels are nature’s skydivers. In the Biosphere, you can find large populations of the northern flying squirrel.

Northern flying squirrels are 30 cm in length, light brown with a cream coloured belly and have a broad flattened tail. Despite the name “flying” squirrel, they actually cannot fly. Flying squirrels have skin that stretches between their front and back legs that they use like a parachute. This natural parachute lets them glide for over 20 metres! The coolest feature of a flying squirrel, other than their built in parachute, is the super large eyes! Since flying squirrels are nocturnal They have big eyes to help them see better in the dark. 

What do these gliding creatures eat? The northern flying squirrel is an omnivore. That means they eat both plants and meat. Some of their favourite foods are nuts, seeds, berries, and insects.

Northern flying squirrels are found all across Canada, from the Yukon to Nova Scotia. They like to live in old forests that have lots of tall and dead standing trees. Dead trees are the perfect home for northern flying squirrels and tall trees allow them to glide farther. One of the biggest threats to flying squirrel populations is clear cutting of old forests. Clear cutting creates big gaps in the forest that are too wide for squirrels to glide across and destroys a lot of nesting sites.

Activity Time! Funny Squirrel jokes

  • What did one squirrel say to the other on Valentine’s Day?
    • “I’m nuts about you!”
  • What’s a squirrel’s favourite ballet?
    • The Nutcracker.
  • Where do squirrels go to learn?
    • Elemen-tree school.
  • Why don’t squirrels have any friends?
    • Because they drive everyone nuts.
  • Have you heard about the new squirrel diet?
    • It’s just nuts
  • What did the father squirrel tell his family?
    • Acorn-y joke.

Bonus! Building a flying squirrel nesting box.

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