July 27, 2020

Most everyone that visits Palmetto Bluff has become well acquainted with the gray and fox squirrels that roam the property. However, much to people’s surprise, the Bluff is also home to the elusive flying squirrel! Nocturnal like bats, flying squirrels are active when most of us have gone inside for the evening. But unlike bats, they are not true fliers, instead, these aerial acrobats use excess skin between their front and back legs to form their own furry wingsuit to glide from one tree to another.

While they are hard to find, the Conservancy encounters flying squirrels quite regularly – sometimes even bi-weekly! This is because the Conservancy’s bluebird boxes and cavity nest boxes are perfect places for flying squirrels to roost during the day. While it is adorable to see one of these bug-eyed acrobats, they are not the kindest to birds found within the box. The most carnivorous of the local squirrel species, eating much of the same food as gray and fox squirrels, they also eat birds, eggs, and sometimes even carrion! To protect your birdhouse, a metal portal protector around the opening can help prevent a nasty experience.

For people that wish to encounter flying squirrels, spend some time on the porch at night and listen for what sounds like a bird chirping among the trees. Those are actually flying squirrels! Another good way to potentially see this elusive species is while driving down Old Palmetto Bluff Road at night. Flying squirrels will appear as gray flashes near the top of your windshield as they glide across the road, possibly going after an insect illuminated by the headlights. Though if you are trying this course, make sure to keep your eyes ahead of you for any wildlife attempting to cross the road.

Written by Aaron Palmieri.

Flying Squirrel=
Conservation
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