Animal-World > Small Animal Pets > Pet Squirrels > Southern Flying Squirrel

Southern Flying Squirrel

American Flying Squirrel

Family: Sciuridae Picture of "Tinkerbell", a Southern Flying Squirrel"Tinkerbell"Glaucomys volansPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Kym Johnson
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Hello, I found a baby flying squirrel at my fiance's parent's house yesterday. My fiance's mother informed me that the dog and cats had messed with it and he even... (more)  Victoria

   These intriguing little squirrels have a large fold of furred skin stretching from their forefeet to their hind feet which they spread out like a parachute and glide from tree branch to tree branch, thus their name "flying squirrel"!

   The Southern Flying Squirrel or American Flying Squirrel is the squirrel most commonly found available in the U.S. pet trade. They are the littlest of the squirrel species with only a 3-4 inch long body. Their tiny size, along with a natural tendency to want to rustle around or even snuggle up and sleep in your pocket, makes the Flying Squirrel a perfect "pocket pet".

   At first, Flying Squirrels are very shy when meeting new people. A young squirrel that has been raised in captivity or taken from its mother at weaning time will accept handling the easiest.

   Flying Squirrels are nocturnal so after sleeping all day, these little fellows will be very playful and full of energy from dusk to dawn. To keep their muscles strong they not only need places to play, but need a regular opportunity to glide. Putting your pet up on a high shelf and letting it glide back to you will be rewarding for both of you!

For more information about the care of Flying Squirrels see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Squirrel

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Geographic Distribution
Glaucomys volans
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Data provided by GBIF.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Rodentia
  • Family: Sciuridae
  • Genus: Glaucomys
  • Species: volans
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Scientific name: Glaucomys volans

Background:    Southern Flying Squirrels are found mostly in the Eastern part of North America, inhabiting parts of Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

Description:
   Southern Flying Squirrels or American Flying Squirrels are just 7-8 inches long (with 4" of that being the tail), and they weigh just 3 ounces when fully grown.
   Flying Squirrels have a furred membrane of skin that stretches from their forefeet to their hind feet which allows them to glide from tree branch to tree branch, thus their name "flying squirrel",
   Their fur is silky and has soft dense undercoat. Their overall appearance of their fur is mostly rusty-brown or grayish-red, with a lightly colored underbelly. But upon close inspection the hair is a actually a mixture of several colors including gray, red, and beige, and there is a soft gray undercoat.
   They rest in the hollows of trees during the daytime, and will search the treetops for food after dark. Their natural foods consist of insects, birds' eggs, nuts and various kinds of fruits.
   They not only have 20 regular teeth, but like all rodents, they have sharp incisors that continually grow, and will need hard chews to keep them worn down.
   The female will produce a litter of three to six young twice a year.

Interesting Facts:    - The furred membrane of skin they can stretch out parachute like,enables
      them to glide for long distances through tall trees - sometimes up to160
      feet! They often make sharp turns just before landing.
   - Flying Squirrels are nocturnal, meaning that they sleep during the day and
      are active at night. This means they have to watch out for night predators,
      such as owls.
   - They live in very tall trees since their primary means of traveling is by
      gliding, and they are awkward on the ground. They don't have to worry
      about ground predators, but they do have to be wary of such animals as
      hawks.
   - With their natural instinct being to save up foods for the winter, they are very
      active hoarders. Make sure to check their nest regularly to discard any
      perishables!
   - Besides needing to chew regularly to keep their incisors trim, Flying
      Squirrels need extra calcium. Sterilized bones and pieces of deer antler
      work great for both these needs.

Dr. Jungle chuckles...."wow Tinkerbell sure livens up her new family's life!
Tinkerbell is a tree ornament!

"This was her first Christmas. My husband and I love her just like a daughter. She is so cute!
Tinkerbell loves to play on our curtains in the living room, coming down to play with us or see if we have something to eat!"

Tinkerbell is a Southern Flying Squirrel

Tinkerbell is a female Southern Flying Squirrel.

Tinkerbell, a Southern Flying Squirrel that has landed!

"One of her favorite foods is sugar snap peas. Of course she also loves cashews, pecans and whole un-shelled peanuts.
Tinkerbell has a ferret sized wheel in her cage which she runs in at night while we are asleep. Recently she likes to play this game in the living room where she climbs up high on the curtains and "flys" to me. We do this over and over again. She never gets tired!! When she gets bored she will climb inside my shirt and nip at me until I play with her. We just love her so much! My life would be so boring without her. I can't believe how lucky we are to have her."...Kym Johnson

Photos Courtesy: Kym Johnson

Author: Jasmine Brough
Lastest Animal Stories on Southern Flying Squirrel


Victoria - 2013-04-14
Hello, I found a baby flying squirrel at my fiance's parent's house yesterday. My fiance's mother informed me that the dog and cats had messed with it and he even got bitten on the leg. My fiance's dad also accidentally sucked him into the vacuum cleaner. The poor little guy was really scared and so he bit me which is understandable. I got a little fish aquarium to keep him in for the time being and I purchased food for a hamster which has nuts, corn, and dried fruits in it. I am not really sure what he needs to drink. He is about six weeks old. I have a very big cage that my old monkey lived in for him to live in. I don't want him to die. He has been through a lot already so I want to make sure that I am doing things correctly. Any tips??

  • Clarice Brough - 2013-04-14
    I would be concerned about broken bones or internal injuries, but it sounds like he may be okay as you didn't say if he's having any trouble getting around or acting funny. The comments from re-habbers and other folks above have some great info on what they drink and other baby foods! Good luck
  • wook - 2013-06-02
    go to www.thesquirrelboard.com and go to the forum and ask for tips.
  • Anonymous - 2014-09-25
    My sister and I raised 10 squirrels. We went to the vet and they gave us a bunch of of free syringes with little nipple attachments. We tried the small bottles from WalMart and (trust me on this one) did not work. We used WalMart kitten formula. Heat it luke warm. For the first times you have to carefully hold their tiny heads. Make SURE your thumb is barely pushing because they can kinda suck it out on there own. The nipple will look very long and hard but trust me it's fine this. Has worked on my 10 babies and on all of my cousin's squirrels. Once or twice and I promise they got the hang of it. πŸ˜‰
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Sandra Stephenson - 2012-05-20
I have a flying squirrel i think she is a little over a year old my daughter brought her home when she was just maybe 2 weeks old and she is doing great but i am concerned about her front teethe growing to long . Can they be trimmed or what do i do ? Also how long do they live in captivity ?

  • Charlie Roche - 2012-05-20
    In the wild it is said to be about 6 years and I would think it would be at least that in captivity. For the teeth - you can get a hard chew toy--- lava rock bird toy, dog bone, soup bone (boil it) usually knuckle bones at grocery store. Something hard for it to chew on and it will wear her teeth down. Vet can also probably sand them down but i don't think she will like it.
  • Rick - 2012-09-01
    My wife not only make sure our squirrel has shelled nuts to gnaw on like hazel nuts, brazil nuts, almonds and pecans, we also purchased flavored wood chews in the hamster section at the pet store. She seems to enjoy them and her teeth are doing well.
  • Kisha - 2012-12-04
    I have heard a calcium block is used for ones kept in captivity, as pets to wear down the teeth.
  • bryan - 2014-06-25
    I've done so much reading on these flying squirrels yet I can't find out how they are with children, new borns etc. Can you help me out?
  • Linda Jo Decker - 2014-09-25
    Me and my sister have raised 5 flying squirrels. We have one now. She is 5 which is longer than usual. We keep small sticks in there for her she enjoys chewing them. It gives her Something to do. They also need calcium so it is good to keep pieces of deer antler or sterilized bones. I hope I was helpful!! πŸ˜‰
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michelle705 - 2014-09-24
Help please!! I got two adult flying squirrels a couple months ago. A male and a female and I have had a really hard time bonding with them because the male is agressive! I'm wondering if I could let them out the cage for a little while to let them bond with me more, but I'm afraid I won't be able to catch them again.so my question is if I let them out will they eventually return to their cage!

  • Linda Jo Decker - 2014-09-25
    Me and my sister have raised 10 eastern grey squirrels and 5 flying squirrels.and my favorite ones where the flying squirrels. They are so cute and tiny!! The one we have now is 3 and we let her out every night. She runs around the room and climbs to the top of the door and glides to the bed. She usually is out about 30 mins. And runs back in her cage and sits there waiting to be fed. If I Were you I would go into a smaller room for the first few times. And I would let only one out at first. After they are used to their surroundings they can be together. Before,when we had 2 they were a lot more active. If you want to bond with the male I suggest you take them apart for how ever long you want. The male wouldn't be near as aggressive if there wasn't a female around. Mine of corse where raised as a baby.So... But what ever you do PLEASE enjoy your flying squirrels!! πŸ˜‰
Reply
Butch Robinson - 2014-09-19
we live in western WASH.state. our flying squirrel got out 4/5 yrs ago. We wondered what happened to it. A yr or so later our cat killed a squirrel that looked like a southern flying squirrel but larger. This morning another was brought in . This leads me to believe they are reproducing with local red oer gray squirrels.

Reply
Shelley - 2011-01-08
Does anyone know where I might get a couple of flying squirrels in Eastern NC? I would love a pair that maybe the wildlife refuge have found that they can't release back into the wild and need a permanent home. Thanks!

  • Ali - 2011-01-22
    Hi! Have you tried Craigslist.com you can find just about anything on that site and enter the state when you get on craigslist.com to get better help.
    Best of Blessings on your journey.
  • j - 2012-04-21
    Technically, keeping a Flyer as a pet in NC is illegal, so you might have to look out of state. (I found this out when mine showed up before her eyes were open and I could not get in touch with anyone to rehab for release. Now she's part of my odd little family. I figure the squirrel won't be knocking on doors anyway. lol)
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JOHNNY WAYNE CROWSON - 2011-09-14
I AM LOOKING FOR SQUIRRELS AND FLYING SQUIRRELS AND DOVES AND FABN FEATHERED TAILS PIGEONS AND SO I AM LOOKING FOR MALE AND FEMALES AND HOW MUCH ARE THEY COST ME AND EMAIL ME NOW, JOHNNY CROWSON

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Anthony - 2011-01-17
I live in New York and want to have a flying squirrel as a pet. Can anyone help me out? My email is italiansoccer141@hotmail.com

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derek bass - 2010-12-02
I'm looking for flying squirrels to raise please contact me (386)590 9174 thank you.

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