Flying Squirrels

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When people think of flying squirrels many (especially if you are over 40) immediately think of the iconic “Rocky” the flying squirrel from "The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show." Adorned in a leather aviator cap and goggles, Rocket J. Squirrel (Rocky) would spread his arms and fly at supersonic speed engaging in harrowing adventures with his pal, Bullwinkle the moose.

Here in Capital Region, there are many types of squirrels found in New York. The squirrel family includes tree squirrels (gray, red, fox), flying squirrels, chipmunks, marmots (woodchuck) to name a few.

Flying squirrels are a bit more reserved and secretive than Rocky, but they do possess the same ability to "fly." Sort of. Flying squirrels don't actually fly; they glide through the air. While jumping from tree to tree, a flying squirrel will stretch a furry membrane called a patagia between its front and back feet. As it's stretched wide from foot to foot, this membrane acts like a parachute that, while stretched out, basically converts the squirrel into a glider. The squirrel then uses its tail like a rudder to guide it to another tree.

While the speed of the glide is not supersonic like that of Rocky, a flying squirrel can glide at a downward angle as far as 150 feet, can make 180 degree turns during gliding and studies have shown that they are capable of obtaining lift while gliding.

According to a 2012 study by Brown University, this ability to gain lift by “continuously modulating their speed and direction contradicts aerodynamic models of the evolution of flight, which assumes that a transition from gliding to flapping would be to mechanically awkward and unstable.”

Flying squirrels can fly more precisely because they possess the “sensitivity and physical ability to adjust their membrane in flight.” According to the 2012 Brown study, “This could indicate that gliders may have indeed been the evolutionary precursors to animals that flap to fly, like bats and birds.”

Flying squirrels dine on acorns, nuts, seeds, berries, lichens, mushrooms, buds, fruits, insects, and even birds’ eggs and nestlings. Both will also store (cache) food in piles in trees and will nest in tree cavities (and sometime birdhouses, attics and chimneys!)

Both species do not hibernate and are nocturnal, coming out at night to feed and returning to their nests to sleep during the day. If you are hearing noises at night, it could indicate flying squirrels or mice. Being nocturnal, flying squirrels have larger eyes and more prominent whiskers than other squirrels. Their ears are also larger in proportion to the head than other squirrels.

If you hear the pitter patter of feet in your walls or attic, be proactive! Wildlife can quickly take over a structure to shelter themselves from the outdoor elements. Contact your Albany wildlife removal company to prevent any damages before they can begin. The Clifton Park wildlife removal experts at Thomas Pest Services can help you today with a free inspection to get rid of squirrels! There are a few indicators of a squirrel issue in your home: Active squirrel populations, large opening for access, viewing squirrels entering and exiting, scurrying during the day. The best way to determine if Alvin and the Chipmunks or their friends are in your home is with an inspection. Once Thomas Pest Services performs a no charge inspection, we will be able to identify the cause of the ruckus and stop them before they do more damage.


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