Virginia.gov

southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans saturatus)

Distribution Map

Distribution Map

Characteristics

This species is smaller than the northern flying squirrel with a total length of 198-255 mm and a weight of 46.5-85 grams. The forelimbs are connected from the wrist to the ankle by a loose fold of haired skin. The tail is densely haired, dorso-ventrally flattened, almost parallel sided with a rounded tip. There is no apparent sexual dimorphism, and the coat has a moderate length, and a dense, silky texture. The color of the underparts are varied but usually drab soft brown. The base of the hair is a deep neutral gray, and the sides of the face are gray. The forefeet are white, gray, or light brown. The hindfeet are brown to gray and the toes are white in the winter. The large prominent eyes are rimmed with black fur. One to two litters of 2-6 young are born each year. Nests in tree cavities are lined with bark, moss, lichens, feathers, and leaves. The nest is typically 4.5-6 meters above the ground. November is the period of peak activity. This species is strongly nocturnal.

Distribution

This subspecies is present in the westernmost tip of Virginia. This species prefers, heavy deciduous timber, near water. The preferred habitat is sufficient forested area for both food and tree cavity nest resources.

Foods

This is the most carnivorous North American sciurid. Nuts are stored in nests, cracks, cavities, forks of trees, and on the ground with maximum nut storage activity in November. There are elliptical openings edged with fine toothmarks on the sides of hickory nuts, and acorns which are a telltale sign of flying squirrel. They are known to consume nuts in the fall and winter, but flowers, fruit, berries, fungi, insects, bird eggs and lichens are eaten during other seasons.

More Information

For more information, please visit the Virginia Fish & Wildlife Information Service (direct link to species booklet).