The Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) is a small, arboreal mammal in Sciuridae. It is known for its ability to glide through the air using a patagium, a parachute-like membrane that stretches between its forelimbs and hindlimbs.
This species is predominantly nocturnal and is found in the boreal forests of North America, including parts of Canada and the northern regions of the United States. Identifying features of the Northern Flying Squirrel include:
- Size and Appearance: Northern Flying Squirrels measure around 10 to 12 inches in length, with their tail accounting for approximately 5 to 6 inches. Their soft, dense fur varies from grayish-brown to reddish-brown on their upper body, while their underparts are typically white or cream-colored.
- Gliding Membrane: The patagium extends from the wrist to the ankle and allows Northern Flying Squirrels to glide effortlessly between trees. It enables them to navigate and escape from predators while covering considerable distances.
- Large Eyes: Adapted for nocturnal activities, Northern Flying Squirrels possess large, round eyes that aid in low-light vision.
Common Extermination Techniques of Northern Flying Squirrels
Northern Flying Squirrels are protected in many regions due to their ecological importance. Instead of focusing on extermination, it is recommended to consider alternative methods such as exclusion and deterrents to manage conflicts. These techniques aim to discourage squirrels from entering human dwellings without causing them harm. Examples of non-lethal strategies include:
- Exclusion: Seal potential entry points, such as gaps in roofs, vents, and eaves, to prevent Northern Flying Squirrels from gaining access to buildings.
- Repellents: Utilize natural or commercial squirrel repellents around structures to deter Northern Flying Squirrels from frequenting specific areas.
- Habitat Modification: Make the surroundings less attractive to Northern Flying Squirrels by reducing food sources (such as bird feeders) and eliminating potential nesting sites, such as stacks of firewood close to buildings.
Northern Flying Squirrels are generally docile and non-aggressive towards humans. They prefer to avoid confrontation and pose little to no threat. However, like wild animals, they may bite if threatened or cornered. It is best to observe them from a distance and avoid attempting to handle them.
While Northern Flying Squirrels may occasionally seek shelter in attics or crawl spaces, they are not known to cause significant structural damage. However, their nesting and foraging activities can lead to minor issues, such as chewed electrical wires or insulation damage. Preventative measures like sealing entry points can help mitigate potential problems.
Yes, Northern Flying Squirrels undergo a period of torpor during the winter months, similar to hibernation. However, their torpor is not as deep as other hibernating animals. They may occasionally emerge from their nests to forage on milder winter nights.