Northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus)
The northern flying squirrel is a small rodent most commonly found in conifer dominated forests from the treeline in northern Alaska and Canada and down into the middle of the continent in Michigan, Wisconsin, California and Colorado. They can be found in deciduous and mixed forests throughout their range, and while they are not frequently seen or overly abundant, they have been found in the Jackson Hole area and Grand Teton National Park. These silvery grey squirrels inhabit treetops and, as the name suggests, they can “fly” from tree to tree to get around the forest. They do this with a furred patagium which extends from their wrist on the forelimbs to the ankles in the hind limbs. This is very advantageous to them as they are quite clumsy on the ground, so being able to glide from tree to tree and fill up on nuts, acorns, and lichen protects them from becoming an easy meal.
Even if you do happen to be in an area populated with flying squirrels, don’t expect an easy viewing opportunity. As evidenced by their large black eyes, Northern flying squirrels tend to be more active at night making them pretty tough to spot in the canopy for the casual wildlife viewer. Learn more about these rambunctious rodents.
Written by Timothy Uttenhove
PC: Daniel Arndt on Flickr https://flic.kr/p/mtGtPQ