April 2015 - Flying Squirrels

flying squirrel wildlife control

 

Trivia Question: True or False? Flying squirrels are capable of true flight.

 

Correct Trivia Answer: 

FALSE – Flying squirrels might more appropriately be called “gliding squirrels,” because they aren’t capable of true powered flight that a bird or a bat can do. Flying squirrels glide.

 

 


"Flying" Squirrels

what if you could design the ultimate pest, one that would drive everyone insane? This perfect pest would run around all night long, causing you to lose sleep. It would move into the house in the winter and leave in the summer - only to come back just when you think it's finally gone. It could squeeze through a hole the size of your thumbnail, and through a linear crack the width of your pinky finger. Even worse, the entry holes would have little, if any, chewing damage, so it would be hard to find the main entryway. It would leave droppings and urine in one spot over and over again, day after day, until it would cause a strong odor and stain the ceilings and soffits. The feces would look like bat guano, just to confuse both homeowners and wildlife professionals.

The pest would be omnivorous, so if you remove the bird feeders outside, the pest could still feed on the mice living in the house. It would be lightening fast and loud, so seeing it would be difficult and hearing it would seem like an entire army was living in the attic. If you were to catch a glimpse of one, you’d find that it's multi-colored, so it's difficult to identify or describe, except for its really big eyes, which make it seem larger than it really is. Jumping 100 to 150 feet would be no problem for this pest, so cutting down trees would be absolutely useless. And, of course, I would make it so that only wildlife professionals with serious experience could effectively catch them.

They already exist and they’re called “Flying Squirrels”.

Flying squirrels might more appropriately be called “gliding squirrels,” because they aren’t capable of true powered flight that a bird or a bat can do. Flying squirrels glide. They have a special membrane between their front and back legs that allows them to glide through the air between trees. When a flying squirrel wants to travel to another tree without touching the ground, it launches itself from a high branch and spreads out its limbs so that the gliding membrane is exposed. It uses slight movements of the legs to steer, and the tail acts as a brake upon reaching its destination. Flying squirrels can cover more than 150 feet in a single glide!

Northern and Southern flying squirrels will eat mice, bats, birds, bird eggs, moths, all kinds of insects, fruits, nuts, seeds and will raid bees and hornets nests. They'll even kill and consume other flying squirrels from other colonies—they're true omnivores.

The flying squirrel may be the ultimate pest, but don't be discouraged. Flying squirrels can be excluded from your home with a one-way door and then all holes bigger than your thumbnail and any linear crack wider than your pinky finger need to be sealed. You can use any type of barrier, but the key is to use something that they cannot get through. Attention to detail is crucial. You can seal up an entire house and leave one small hole in the hardest-to-reach spot and they will find it.

If you need help with flying squirrels in or around your home, use our office finder to contact your local Critter Control office - or call 1-800-CRITTER (274-8837).

To learn more about a variety of critters visit our new "Animal Facts" resource.

Specific diseases transmitted by wildlife can also be researched from our website.

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