Nature Matters: Flying Squirrels in the Northwoods

By KBJR News 1

December 7, 2010 Updated Dec 7, 2010 at 8:02 AM CDT

Carlton County, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)Many north woods animals that are only active at night, go unnoticed by us, but people can get a view of them if they are observant and patient.
One critter that is closer than many realize is the flying squirrel.

In this week's "Nature Matters" David Hoole sheds some light on the species at Naturalist Larry Weber's Webwood property in Carlton County.

"Several years ago I was walking out here, one night I was coming form the garage to the house after dark and I heard squeaking noises up in a tree and I realized that was probably what they were is flying squirrels."

"Then I put that platform out and put the sunflower seeds and as they say if you build it they will come... Boy they have found it!"
"The sheet metal was put up there so porcupines couldn't climb up the tree, but I still wanted the flying squirrels to climb so I put a little bubble behind the sheet metal so therefore they can climb up and down underneath the sheet metal like a little tunnel, and they make use of it."

"People tell me I never see any. I've never see any flying squirrels, well if you have mature trees at your place or near your place you may very well have flying squirrels."

"We are not seeing any do their jumping between trees but if you ever see them jumping between trees it is really a standing – they turn in midair they glide by having this fold of skin from the front leg to the back leg and they jump from high and that allows them to use gravity to soar out. They can go out; I wouldn't be surprised if they could go more than fifty feet."
"You ever touched one? .... "Noo"...
"They have the softest fur as well. If I chose to do so, and I don't think I will, but if I chose to do so, I'm sure I could get one to eat out of my hand."

In Carlton County, I'm David Hoole for nature matters.

If you would like to see if flying squirrels are in your area, set out some seed in the evenings, then check with a light after dark.
Be patient it may take some time for the squirrels to find the feed.