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flying squirrel | Description, food, breed & behavior

Hussien Shrief Mohammed

flying squirrel

The flying squirrel is considered a rodent, and scientists believe that there are approximately 43 species of flying squirrels, two of which are found in North America, two in northern Eurasia, and the rest of the other species are found in the temperate and tropical forests of India and Asia, although the flying squirrel does not actually fly.

Except that it slips for distances, and the eastern giant flying squirrels recorded the highest slipping distance of 450 meters, which helps them to do so is the presence of a membrane similar to the membranes of bats, but the difference is that the membrane of the latter enables it to fly, while the membrane of the squirrel helps it to slide only, and in This article will provide some information about the flying squirrel.

flying squirrel | Description, food, breed & behavior
the flying squirrel

Description of flying squirrel

The flying squirrel has a wide free membrane of skin covered - he and the squirrel muscles - with a membrane of fur, and this membrane connects between its front and hind limbs, and some types of these squirrels have a smaller membrane, which connects between the head and wrists, and between the hind limbs and the tail, and there is a rod Cartilaginous extending from the wrist to support the front part of the membrane on each side, and it has soft, dense fur, brown in the back and dark gray in the abdomen, and it has large dark eyes and a wide horizontal flat or cylindrical tail, and there is a big difference in the sizes of the bodies of different species of flying squirrels, some squirrels The largest - relatively - in tropical India and Southeast Asia weighs 1-2.5 kg, body length is 30-60 cm, and tail length is 35-64 cm.

The smallest are the dwarf flying squirrels in northern Borneo and the Malay Peninsula, and their length is 7-9 cm With their tails only 6-10 centimeters long, seeing these dwarf flying squirrels glide through tall trees in tropical rainforests, it is easy to think that they are large butterflies flutter.

flying Squirrel behavior

Actually Flying squirrels are always surprising; They do not fly, but glide using their parachute-like membranes. When they want to jump from tree to tree, they spread their entire body in the air and this position was used by some athletes in jumping sports, and squirrels use their tail as a leash and brakes, and to reduce their speed when they reach the tree that wants to move.

In order to escape from predators, flying squirrels go in search of food at night, aided by their large eyes, and remain asleep during the day in hollows in the trees.

These rodents take tree cavities, caves, and rocky crevices on the slopes and edges of caves as their homes, and some of them build spherical nests at the top of trees.

The nests consist of leaves, tree bark, algae or lichens.

Some species of flying squirrels, especially those found in North America and Virginia are active during the winter rather than hibernating, and they are social animals and are known to share their nests with many males, females, and young pups of their families in search of warmth.

flying squirrel food

These squirrels feed on berries, nuts, ubiquitous mushrooms and bird eggs, as well as some grains, buds, fruits, snails, insects, any leftover animal matter, flower buds, nuts, lichens, pollen, ferns, spiders and other invertebrates, small birds, snakes, and smaller mammals.

flying squirrel | Description, food, breed & behavior
flying squirrel

flying squirrel breed

The flying squirrel reproduces by birth, and the breeding season is from February to May and again in July, and the pregnancy period lasts from 37 to 42 days, and the pregnant female gives birth from two cubs to six cubs in one pregnancy, and the breastfeeding period lasts about two months, and when The flying squirrel becomes from 6 to 12 months old and becomes sexually mature and able to mate and procreate, but there are many threats facing the flying squirrel that have led to a decline in its numbers; The most important of these are the decline of forests and the increase in cutting down trees for use in wood industries.

The main predators of flying squirrels are: owls, weasels, foxes, mink, hawks, raccoons, skunks, snakes, cats and domestic dogs.

Recent discoveries about the flying squirrel

A new species of flying squirrels was discovered in North America, bringing the number of species to three.

The new species is not different from other flying squirrels, but genetic research has shown that there is a difference, but this genetic difference is not the result of domestication or the mating of different types of flying squirrels. This has led to it being considered a third type by scholars, It is worth noting that scientists discovered a secret behind its fur.

The flying squirrel is of course an exceptional being because of its membrane, but what recently surprised scientists is its fur that glows in a bright bright pink color under ultraviolet light, and this means the ability of flying squirrels to absorb a specific color at a wavelength.

This discovery raises puzzling questions about the function of this ability, and scientists indicate that this trait may be more common among mammals, and biologists said that this discovery occurred by chance when a scientist was exploring the forest at night using an ultraviolet lamp to search About some lichens, fungi, plants and frogs that sometimes glow, as the scientist says that he heard the sound of a flying squirrel, so he shed light on it and was very surprised when he saw the pink color, and some scientists attributed the pink color to that the flying squirrel is a nocturnal animal, That there is a relationship between this color and perception and nocturnal communication.