By Tracie Hornung
It’s not every day that Rowena Wildlife Clinic treats a flying squirrel—fortunately!
The little guy, dubbed Rocky during his rehabilitation, was fetched off the ground by the landowners’ dog and carried to the porch. The squirrel was cold and so young his eyes had not yet opened. The landowners assume he fell from the nest.
Surprisingly, Rocky had no injuries, and after several weeks of basic care and lots of pampering at Rowena WIldlife Clinic he was ready for release. Some volunteers attached a nest box to a tree so that he could acclimate to the wild on his own terms. Since then he has been coming and going, and is now a fully independent and healthy adult flying squirrel!
According to the National Wildlife Federation, flying squirrels might more appropriately be called “gliding squirrels,” because they aren’t capable of true powered flight such as a bird or a bat. Flying squirrels glide. They have a special membrane between their front and back legs that allows them to glide through the air between trees. When a flying squirrel wants to travel to another tree without touching the ground, it launches itself from a high branch and spreads out its limbs so that the gliding membrane is exposed. It uses slight movements of the legs to steer, and the tail acts as a brake upon reaching its destination. Flying squirrels can cover more than 150 feet in a single glide!
To learn more about flying squirrels, visit the National Wildlife Federation.