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  • Middlesex County Educational Article of the Month - Facts About Flying Squirrels

Facts About Flying Squirrels

Flying Squirrels exist in around 43 species that are classified into 14 genera. Most of the species of this animal are least understood due to their varying complexities. This animals would be appropriately named as Middlesex County gliding squirrels since they have a special membrane between their back and front legs that helps them to glide between trees. They don’t have the true capabilities to fly as they have no wings. They are generally nocturnal and they bore deep holes in trees for nesting.

Since they are arboreal, they can create homes in almost any habitat especially forested and wooded areas. They are notable in: - Temperate deciduous forests
- Northern boreal forests
- Tropical rainforest.

Other Massachusetts species have adapted to plantations and parklands. The complex-toothed and the woolly species are known to stay in high altitude areas on rocky cliffs and outcrops. These animals are barely spotted on ground, all they do is stay in their tree nests and hover from one tree to the next.

They mainly feed on plant and animal matter. Those in the tropics are generally herbivores because they feed on shoots and fruits. Those in the temperate regions feed on seeds, fungi, fruits and animal matter. Other tropical species tend to rely on insects, spiders and small vertebrates. Some feed on lichens, conifer needles, and mosses.

Reproductive biology
The breeding biology of these critters is less knownand researched on. However, the temperate specieshave a short summer breeding season while those in the tropics breed throughout the calendar. They generally give birth to either one or two infants and can have one or two Middlesex County litters per year. Other species can bear up to seven babies. The babies are usually born blind and naked for some species. The gestation period lasts 40 days while weaning happens at 8 weeks of age.

These Middlesex County critters have a range of social systems. Some species portray monogamous ways while others don’t. Most are also territorial with an exception of the temperate species. Their home territories range from 5-12acres. They spend a lot of their time in light-proof nests until nightfall. While gliding, they can change direction mid-flight and some can glide up to 450m. The Massachusetts animals are docile and have different vocalizations.

In captivity, Middlesex County flying Squirrels can live up to roughly 10 years and half less in the wild. New-borns are naked and blind at birth, they are weaned at 8 weeks and stay with their mother until the next litter.

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