Flying Squirrel Facts
Flying squirrels are found all over North America. Though the name suggests it, they actually don’t fly like birds or bats. Instead, they glide from tree to tree using a parachute-like membrane that stretches the length of their bodies.
Northern flying squirrels mate in late winter, whereas southern flying squirrels mate in early spring. In the wild they can live up to 4 years, though it is possible for them to reach 13 years in captivity. Both species enjoy typical squirrel diets consisting of nuts like acorns, fruit, buds, insects and even bird eggs. A large part of their diet actually includes lichens and fungi.
Flying Squirrel Damage
These squirrels can quickly become annoying if they decide to nest in houses or barns because of the noises they make at night. If they’re inside the home, nests that occur in events create potential fire hazards. They also will chew on wiring, which cause electrical items in your home to malfunction.
Munching on crops in your garden or on your freshly-planted flower bulbs is not uncommon, either. They don’t mind pilfering bird seed, and they will help themselves to fruit and bark from trees, too.
Diseases can come with these squirrels, too. Mange, the loss of healthy fur, is not uncommon in these rodents. Cat Scratch Fever is caused by being scratched by an infected animal and can cause swollen, tender lymph nodes. If the squirrel bites and is carrying typhus, this disease can cause rashes as well as delirium. While it is rare, these squirrels may also carry rabies, a disease that can cause severe damage to the central nervous system if left unchecked.
Flying Squirrel Infestation
Flying squirrels are nocturnal, so sightings will mostly be during evening hours. If in your home, you may hear them scampering, chewing, or scratching as they move around and chase each other. Flying squirrel droppings will be found in distinct piles. They are oval-shaped and can measure up to 1/4 inch long.
They’ll build nests out of leaves and will normally make them in hollow spaces like an old woodpecker hole or hollowed-out tree limbs. These nest sites are most active in the spring and summer. If you find piles of gnawed nuts and acorns in your attic or walls, flying squirrels have found moved inside your home.
Flying squirrels also enjoy healthy diets of fruit and other crops. If your flower bulbs or fruit trees appear damaged, they might be creeping around your property. Inside your home, you might notice holes in vents, eaves and soffits. Flying squirrels may claw at your siding, tunnel inside your insulation, and even contaminate your stored foods by chewing or defecating on them.
Types of Flying Squirrels
There are two varieties of flying squirrels, which are the northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) and southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans). They are the only native North American species. Both have a greyish-brown color, but vary in the color of their belly fur.
Northern Flying Squirrel Identification
The northern flying squirrel is slightly larger and measures 21 inches long, including its 9.5 inch-long tail. Northern flying squirrels are distinguished from the southern counterparts by the fact that the hairs on their stomachs are greyish hairs that are tipped white.
Southern Flying Squirrel Identification
The slightly smaller southern flying squirrel measures 10 inches with a 3.5 inch-long tail. They have an all white-haired under belly.
Flying Squirrels In The Walls & The House
Flying squirrels love wooded areas that have a variety of different tree species. While some other squirrel varieties are particular about their tree homes, the flying squirrel will be happy making a nest anywhere that provides protection. Most often, you’ll find these squirrels denning in old woodpecker nest holes and in hollow tree limbs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do flying squirrel droppings look like?
Flying squirrel droppings are pellet shaped and have a dark-brown color if fresh. Flying squirrels droppings are known to collect in distinct piles. The darker the color, the fresher. Signs of an extended infestation would be a mixture of dark and lighter droppings.
How do you control a flying squirrel infestation?
If these flying furballs are hovering around your home, it’s possible to have them take the first plane out. Don’t encourage them to come back by feeding them. Free meals are often one of the biggest reasons they’ll stick around. If you have bird feeders, consider removing them or making sure that seeds don’t spill around them. They probably are loving your gardens, too, so protecting them with fences may help. To stop them from getting inside in the first place, it may also help to trim back your tree branches, as this will make it more difficult for them to get on rooftops to enter through attics.
Benefits of Professional Flying Squirrel Pest Control
A pest management professional has the education, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address a flying squirrel problem. Finding and treating the flying squirrels can be challenging, especially if they are spread throughout your yard. A pest management professional provides their expertise to identify the pest problem and determine the best possible solution to resolve the flying squirrel infestation.