Who doesn’t love a good flying rodent video? This little guy looks like he would like nothing more than to find the great outdoors and truly stretch his wing flaps. Those short little leaps look like they would be rather frustrating, when you’re capable of much more glorious flying sessions.
These little guys may be dubbed with the name, “flying squirrels,” but they don’t actually have wings. Therefore, they don’t really fly. Not in the traditional animal way.
To get from tree to tree they climb up to a high branch and fearlessly launch themselves off of it. Then they’ll spread their arms and legs out wide, which in turn opens the skin-like membrane that’s attached between their front and back legs. This causes a parachute effect that allows the squirrel to glide. They’ll pump their hands and feet midair to adjust their path slightly. They also have fan-like fur on their tails which makes steering and stopping easier. They’ve been known to glide for over 150 feet.
There are two different types of flying squirrel. They are split into either the northern or southern classification and they are very similar in appearance. The only difference in color being, the fur on the northern flying squirrels belly is grey at the base and the southern flying squirrels belly is all white. The northern species also tends to be a bit larger, measuring at 10-12 inches as opposed to the southern flying squirrel’s 8-10.
Southern flying squirrels are generally found in the eastern United States from Maine down to Florida, extending west out to Minnesota and down to Texas. The northern flying squirrel is mostly located in the northeast and along the west coast extending out to Idaho and Montana.
Some thrill seeking humans have always coveted the ability to glide like these flying squirrels. So much so, that a special suit was designed to replicate the movements of flying squirrels. The suit allows it’s wearer to glide down from high places and adjust their trajectory to move through the air.
These little fellas are definitely designed for the wild. It’s not recommended to keep such animals as pets. It’s in their nature to be free and containing them can cause aggressive behavior. It’s always best to view our flying rodent friends in their natural habitat. That way you can see them the way they were meant to be; unrestricted, wild and free!