Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Rocket J. Squirrel

Well, I can check another item off of my life wish list. I got to touch a flying squirrel! I have had a fascination (bordering on obsession) with flying squirrels for a few years since I first saw them in my back yard. A family of four moved into this very expensive carved bird house. On closer inspection, they had chewed the nostril to enlarge the entrance, but I didn't care because I had never seen such beautiful little creatures. We learned to time it so we would stand by the tree when the squirrels left the house for their night of hunting and gathering food. They seemed not to mind our presence at all. They were hard to keep an eye on though because they are FAST.

Sadly, they abandoned this nest after the gray squirrels sniffed out their food stash. I feel partly to blame because I had put out so many nuts for the flyers. This spring we hung a "flying squirrel condo" - it's amazing what you can find on ebay! A few weeks ago we found that flyers had moved in!
On Saturday my favorite bird store had a presentation by a fellow who owns several flying squirrels. Just look at that face! I had read that flying squirrel fur is very soft. This little guy's fur felt like warm silk.

Here you can see the stretchy flap of skin (patagium) that allows the squirrel to glide from place to place. You don't need to go to Fostbite Falls, Minnesota to find flying squirrels. I found them in my back yard.


16 comments:

Susan Gets Native said...

The blog-world is so cool...where else could you see a flying squirrel hanging out of a nose?
Too cool that you got to touch one. I love them!

NatureWoman said...

How cool is this! What a cute face and soft looking fur. I can't believe you actually got to hold one!

Lynne said...

Susan and Pam-
It really was a neat experience to touch the cutie, but no I did not hold it. The owner said that he gets bitten regularly so feeling the fur and tail was it for me.

MojoMan said...

How common are they in your area? I've only seen them twice in my life. Most recently was a year or two ago when a friend live-trapped a group to get them out of his attic. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't even know we have them around here (Boston area). They seem so secretive.

Lynne said...

mojoman-
I understand they are very common. The owner of this squirrel lives near a very busy intersection in Minneapolis- heavy traffic. He said he has two nests in his yard. He showed us night time pictures of flying squirrels gliding above cars stopped at his traffic light, cars in all directions! They are very nocturnal and seldom seen during daylight.

Susan said...

I also have a thing about flying squirrels. About 5 years ago we were sitting out on our deck when one glided over our heads. Then I never saw another one again until this year when they started coming every night to eat corn from our squirrel feeders. Very cool, but I've never been able to get a photo, much less touch them!

LauraHinNJ said...

That second pic is so adorable!

Never seen one, but have heard that they're pretty common. I'm surpised by how tiny they are!

LauraO said...

They are gorgeous critters and yes, a lot more common than folks think. You probably have some in your yard too. I love that very expensive bird house. So he had a nose-job..great photo.

lené said...

Wow--how exciting! I don't think I've ever even seen a flying squirrel.

Prairie Chick said...

They are so cute. I have saw one in flight years ago, but never had the chance to see that they have such a cute face.

pablo said...

We have flying squirrels in my Missouri woods, but I've never been as up close and personal with one as you have.

birdchick said...

Awesome Jeremy photo! And I love, LOVE the flying squirrel poking out of the nose of the bird house!!

Sharon

Rondeau Ric said...

Great photos!
We had a demonstration here during the summer.
They are so soft and cute.
What is a flying squirrel condo?
sounds like something I'd like to get.

We have these guys visiting our yard but I'd like them to take up residence.
Ric

Lynne said...

Ric-

The condo is a wooden nest box, about 12X18X4. It has an entrance/exit on the front near the top, and another on the bottom side. Inside are three chambers like stories in a house. Ours is about 20 feet off the ground. Flying squirrels form extended family communes before winter to add warmth to the nest.

Wenda said...

Adorable photo, that first one. I, too, would be delighted at the opportunity to see one of these dear little critters up close.

Lynne said...

Susan, LauraH, LauraO and Pablo-

I was really lucky to have them move in and especially lucky to get a good photo!

Lene, Prairie Chick, Birdchick and Wenda-

Thank you very much for visiting!