JAPANESE FLYING SQUIRREL
Flying squirrels have a furry, stretchy membrane that stretches between their front and back legs. When the flying squirrel needs to get away quickly, it opens it's arms and legs out and uses the membrane like a parachute. Flying squirrels also have large eyes, and stubby flattened tails.
The flying squirrel is a medium-sized rodent, closely related to the squirrels found in woodlands and across grasslands around the world. Flying squirrels tend to be slightly larger in size than the common squirrel.
The adult male Japanese macaques range in size from about 20 - 24 inches tall and females about 19 - 22 inches.
This species inhabits areas of forests, hills and mountains. Forests include tropical and temperate with a mixture of tree species, such as deciduous and coniferous trees. They often inhabit forested areas around shrines and temples.
Japanese giant flying squirrels are found in southern parts of Asia and Japan, including the islands of Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku in Japan.
Flying squirrels diet consist of nuts, seeds, fruits, berries, insects and bird eggs.
Southern flying squirrels average life 6 years in the wild. When kept in an environment without any predators, flying squirrels can reach an age of 10 - 15 years.
Flying squirrels have numerous natural predators due to their small size. The domestic cats, raccoons, snakes, birds of prey, foxes dogs and coyotes are all primary predators of the flying squirrel.
The flying squirrel is more of a gliding animal than a flying one. It glides through the air from tree to tree by extending skin flaps located on both sides of its body, so called patagia (sing. patagium). By adjusting the firmness of these skin flaps (a process largely controlled by a small cartilaginous wrist bone), the flying squirrel can steer through the air instead of just falling. The tail is used as a stabilizer during glides and is also helpful when it's time for the squirrel to "break" and land on a tree trunk.
Flying squirrels are known to breed twice a year, in the early spring and again in the summer. After a gestation period of roughly 40 days, the female flying squirrel gives birth to between 2 - 7 baby flying squirrels, which are blind and naked when they are born. The baby flying squirrels develop fur and open their eyes when they are about a month old. The young flying squirrels begin to glide and forage with their mother when they are roughly 2 months old.
PET FLYING SQUIRREL:
Before getting a flying squirrel for a pet, it's important to check laws and regulations applicable for your area. It may be illegal to keep them or special permits may be required to keep, breed and/or transport flying squirrels.
The most commonly kept flying squirrel, Glaucomys volans, can reach a length of 8 - 10 in. and normally weighs around 2 - 4 oz. It is known to bond strongly with humans if raised in captivity and given a lot of time and affection. A bonded flying squirrel is normally fond of climbing around on the shoulders and in the hair of its human keeper. It is a nocturnal species so it can be quite sleepy during the day; ideally keep a sleeping pouch or similar on your chest to which it can retreat if you play with it during the day.
Many flying squirrels like to run in exercise wheels and solid surface wheels tend to be the safest option.
Wild Southern flying squirrels feed on lots of different things, chiefly fruits, seeds, nuts and insects. It is therefore important to keep them on a varied diet in captivity to ensure optimal health. Since they feed on insects in the wild they will benefit from live worms, grasshoppers and similar that can be purchased from pet shops or cultivated at home. They also eat protein in the form of hard boiled eggs. Fresh fruits and vegetables should always be served, and seeds and nuts are also highly beneficial. You can for instance get a seed mix for parrots and supplement with various nuts. Hard shelled nuts will give your squirrel an opportunity to chew and keep its teeth in order.
Calcium deficiency is quite common among captive kept flying squirrels so make sure the diet is rich in calcium and vitamin D3 and not too high in phosphorus. Many keepers supplement the diet with calcium just to be on the safe side, either by sprinkling it over the food or by placing a calcium block in the cage. Mineral blocks can also be beneficial for the long term health of captive squirrels.
Flying squirrels should always have access to fresh water.
FLYING SQUIRREL FACTS:
The reproductive habits of flying squirrels vary from species to species, so it's advisable to seek species specific information.
Almost all known species of flying squirrel lives in Asia. The Northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) and the Southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) live in North America, while the Siberian flying squirrel (Pteromys volans) is found in the easternmost parts of northern Europe.
The largest known species of flying squirrel is the rare "Wolly" flying squirrel (Eupetaurus cinereus) of Kashmir. Head and body length of this squirrel is 18 - 24 in.
The Southern flying squirrel has been observed gliding as far as 150 feet.
In North America, flying squirrels have been kept as pets since before the U.S. declaration of independence.
The following animals are frequently confused with the true flying squirrels, since they are small and furry animals capable of gliding from tree to tree. They are not even close relatives of the flying squirrels; the similarity is just the result of convergent evolution.
Wrist winged gliders. They belong to the possum family Petauridae and live in Australia and New Guinea. The most well known member of this group is the Sugar Glider which also is a popular pet. Flying lemurs, also known as Cobegos or Colugos. They belong to the family Cynocephalidae and live in South-East Asia. Despite their common name, they aren't lemurs or closely related to them. Scaly-tailed squirrels. They belong to the family Anomaluridae and live in central Africa.
Despite the name, flying squirrels cannot actually fly, although they can be airborne for a remarkable length of time. Instead of flying, flying squirrels move through the air by gliding (normally between the trees), with the longest recorded glide of a flying squirrel being nearly 90 meters.
There are nearly 50 different species of flying squirrel found in forests around the world. Flying squirrels range in size and colour depending on the species of flying squirrel. The largest species of flying squirrel is the Woolly flying squirrel, which is found in Pakistan and the smallest flying squirrel species is the pygmy flying squirrel, found in the jungles of Borneo and Malaysia.
Flying squirrels are omnivorous animals meaning that their diet is based on both plant and animal matter. The flying squirrel is a nocturnal animal, so it forages for food under the cover of night as flying squirrels are not able to easily escape the birds of prey that hunt during the day.
The flying squirrels are a type of gliding squirrels belonging to the tribe Pteromyini in the squirrel family Sciuridae. Just like the other squirrels, the flying squirrels are mammals. All species except three are native to Asia.
Even though there are 43 known species of flying squirrel, only a few of them are kept as pets. The by far most commonly kept one is the Southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans), a Southern and Eastern United States native. The information regarding flying squirrels found in this article will therefore pertain to the Southern flying squirrel only, unless otherwise specified.
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