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Northern Flying Squirrel Glaucomys sabrinus


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Northern Flying Squirrel
credit: FWS

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Family: Sciuridae, Squirrels view all from this family

Description Back is brown, grayish or tawny; edge of the wing membrane is blackish. Hairs on belly are white at tips but dark gray at base. Otherwise like Southern Flying Squirrel except larger size. Often has pale patches of fur at the base of ears and a dark tail tip.

Dimensions 190-300mm, 90-140mm, 38-123g

Endangered Status Two Appalachian Mountain subspecies of the Northern Flying Squirrel are on the U.S. Endangered Species List. The Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel is classified as endangered in North Carolina and Tennessee, and the Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel is classified as endangered in Virginia and West Virginia. The Northern Flying Squirrel is a creature of the cool boreal forests of Alaska, Canada, and the far northern U.S. The two endangered subspecies are the most southerly of these squirrels, and were probably stranded in these now slightly warmer regions after the last ice age. As the climate warmed over the millenia and the habitat changed, their populations probably naturally declined. Nowadays the last of the Appalachian Mountain flying squirrels live in restricted, isolated habitats that are vulnerable to human disturbance as logging activity and ski areas and other recreational developments encroach upon them. Additionally, the more aggressive Southern Flying Squirrel tends to outcompete the Northern when the two overlap.

Habitat Forests & woodlands, Alpine & subalpine habitats

Range Plains, Great Lakes, New England, Mid-Atlantic, Rocky Mountains, Southeast, Southwest, California, Northwest, Eastern Canada, Western Canada, Alaska

Discussion Feed on fungi, fruit, nuts, seeds, small invertebrates, bird eggs, and occasionally on small mammals and birds. Known to visit bird feeding stations. Often common, but Endangered in North Carolina and Virginia. Most common near water in coniferous forests, less in mixed and pure hardwood forests.