Let’s get one thing straight. These little rodents are actually capable of flying, it’s not a myth! Well, kind of. More like falling with style, as Buzz Lightyear once said! So, let’s get to know a little bit more about these miraculous animals together. Here are some seriously fun facts about flying squirrels!
1. What are flying squirrels?
As mentioned above, technically speaking, a flying squirrel is a type of rodent. There are thought to be up to 50 different species of flying squirrels throughout the world! And, despite what their name suggests, flying squirrels don’t actually fly by the strict definition. Instead, they are very adept at gliding through the air.
2. Where can flying squirrels be found?
If you want to see some flying squirrels for yourself, you’ll need to head to North America, Europe, or Asia! Multiple countries have them on all three continents! All you ever really have to do is look up!
3. How can flying squirrels fly?
Flying squirrels have specialized membranes of skin called patagiums. This membrane stretches between their limbs, allowing them to glide from tree to tree. If you can picture a wingsuit, they sort of look like that in the air!
4. The powers of the patagium!
The patagium is pretty incredible! It provides lift, giving flying squirrels the ability to glide far and wide – some species can glide up to 300 feet (91.4 meters) in a single glide!
5. They’re nocturnal animals.
Sadly, if you do want to see a flying squirrel do its thing, you’ll have to get some good night vision goggles! They are mostly nocturnal animals, which means that they are mostly active at nighttime. This helps them to avoid predators and avoid having to deal with the day squirrels (known as diurnal).
6. What big eyes you have!
If you have ever been lucky enough to seen a flying squirrel, you may have been taken in by their big, beautiful eyes! They have large, round peepers, which help them to see well at night. If you’ve ever tried hang gliding at night, you’d probably envy being a flying squirrel!
7. Last orders at the postorbital bar…
Flying squirrels have another strange piece of skin known as the postorbital bar! It extends from their eyes to their ears and helps to protect their peepers during gliding and landing. It may sound gross, but it’s impressive natural technology!
8. They’ll eat anything.
Although we all tend to picture squirrel going nuts over nuts, flying squirrels are actually omnivores like us! This means that their extraordinary diet consists of a variety of foods, including seeds, various fruits, nuts, insects, bird eggs, and even small birds or rodents.
9. You’ve gotta see them glide!
Flying squirrels are known for their agility and acrobatics! They can easily make sharp turns, change direction mid-glide, and even glide upside down!
10. They’re super-social animals.
Flying squirrels love to hang out. They are commonly found in form small groups or even entire colonies! They communicate with each other using vocalizations, scent marking, and visual displays. If any rodent was to use Instagram, it’d be the flying squirrel.
FAQs about Flying Squirrels
How big are flying squirrels?
Generally speaking, flying squirrels are pretty small animals. They usually range from about six to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) in length. Not so easy to spot at night, either!
How rare is it to see a flying squirrel?
Although flying squirrels can be found in multiple countries across the world, they can be pretty hard to see! This is in part due to the simple fact that they are nocturnal. And, since they are so small, you really have to squint (or, get some night vision goggles)!
Are sugar gliders and flying squirrels the same thing?
As similar as sugar gliders and flying squirrels may seem, they are not, in fact, the same species! Sugar gliders are marsupials, while flying squirrels are mammals. And, up close, you can definitely tell them apart!
Do you know any fun facts about flying squirrels? Share them in the comments below!