Observing flying squirrels glide from branch to branch may be a thrilling experience for both youngsters and adults! Flying squirrels are sometimes called “Fairy Diddles” due to their magical abilities.
But how can you attract flying squirrels to visit your yard?
About flying squirrels
Despite its name, flying squirrels glide rather than fly. The patagium is a unique skin membrane that extends from their wrists on their front legs to their ankles on their back legs.
As the squirrel glides, it uses its tail as a rudder to help steady itself.
Gliding downhill, they have been observed to travel a distance of 150 feet. Flying squirrels will often dart around the back of the tree to avoid predators after they have reached their destination.
Flying squirrels live for up to fifteen years in captivity and approximately six years in the wild.
Are flying squirrels dangerous?
Flying squirrels are not harmful and do not pose a health risk. They’re not aggressive, but their teeth are razor-sharp.
If you have flying squirrels in your attic or wall voids, contact a Summit Environmental Solutions wildlife professional who is licensed and trained in nuisance wildlife removal.
Do flying squirrels transmit disease?
Even though rabies is commonly associated with wildlife pests, flying squirrels are not known to spread the virus. The northern pest species is free of recognized diseases that can be transmitted to people.
Are flying squirrels dangerous to humans?
Flying squirrels do not represent a serious threat to humans. However, they do create unsightly nests in attics.
As they build their nests and forage for food, they can cause damage to the home’s floors, attics, and walls. They rarely bite unless they suspect a hand smells like food or they feel threatened.
Do squirrels bite hard?
They won’t bite extremely hard, and it’s their way of playing with you. It’s important to remember that a tame wild squirrel is still a wild squirrel.
Flying squirrels, are they friendly?
Flying squirrels are fascinating to watch and have fun personalities. They can make an excellent pet for the proper person, but they are high-maintenance creatures that must be closely monitored.
Do squirrels remember people?
Squirrels are also exceptionally bright animals with exceptional memory abilities. There have been multiple documented cases of squirrels remembering humans.
Wild squirrels are quickly taught that certain people can be risk-free and reliable sources of food.
Where to find flying squirrels
Northern flying squirrels are one of two flying squirrel species in North America. You might be able to find this type of squirrel in your backyard if you reside in Alaska, Canada, Washington, North Carolina, or Utah.
Southern Flying Squirrels are found in eastern North America, from Canada to Florida. They have also been seen in Mexico.
Their ranges overlap, but looking at the trees is a good method to tell which variety of flying squirrels is present in your backyard.
Northern flying squirrels prefer higher elevations with predominantly cone-bearing trees, including fir, spruce, and cedar.
Southern flying squirrels are much more likely to be seen in trees with autumn leaves or deciduous trees.
Flying squirrels like to spend most of their time during the day inside dead tree cavities or birdhouses.
How to spot flying squirrels
Flying squirrels have a distinct appearance from their non-gliding relatives. The most noticeable distinction between the two is their parachute-like arms.
Flying squirrels, like land squirrels, come in gray or brown colors. They typically weigh between two and ten ounces.
These adorable critters have large, wide eyes that resemble those of a cartoon character.
Where do flying squirrels build their nests?
Old trees and snags (dead or dying trees) are important nesting sites for flying squirrels.
Is it true that flying squirrels eat at night?
They are nocturnal, only coming out at night to feed and returning to their nests during the day to sleep. Flying squirrels have larger eyes and more noticeable whiskers than other squirrels since they are nocturnal.
Do flying squirrels make any noises?
A flying squirrel’s sound is frequently characterized as a thump followed by scurrying down the roof or soffit. These creatures are very active and nearly never travel alone.
Flying squirrels make chirping sounds similar to birds.
Attracting flying squirrels
If you think you reside in a good area for spotting a flying squirrel, you’re already halfway there. You must now understand how to lure a flying squirrel to your backyard.
Step 1: Look for signs
Whether you’ve spotted any, you may even have flying squirrels outside your house at night. Start by looking for clues indicating they have already visited, and keep this information for later use.
These are the locations where you’ll want to put stuff like food or housing for them.
If you already have bird boxes, keep an eye out for any cedar bark that has been removed and stuffed inside them. Another clue that you may have had a flying visitor is the presence of chewing holes in your bird boxes.
The sound they make at night is something you may have seen without realizing it. No, your woods aren’t haunted. If you hear a high-pitched sound from your backyard trees, it could be a group of flying squirrels communicating!
Step 2: Use food to draw them in
Flying squirrels are omnivores, meaning they will eat almost anything you put in front of them. They eat things that are comparable to those eaten by land squirrels.
What foods are appealing to flying squirrels?
In general, flying squirrels eat acorns, nuts, berries, and some protein sources. They will even consume bird eggs on occasion.
Peanut butter on tree bark is an excellent way to attract flying squirrels.
Spread peanut butter on parts of the trees where you believe flying squirrels may be present. Add some sunflower seeds as a bonus to make it even tastier.
What is it that flying squirrels despise?
Black, cayenne, Serrano, and jalapeño peppers, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
Scents like white pepper, black pepper, and garlic are naturally unpleasant to a squirrel.
They also are put off by the smell of peppermint plants. Plant flowers that squirrels despise. Daffodils have a poison that renders them inedible.
Squirrels dislike the taste of snowdrops, allium, and hyacinth, so grow them as a deterrent.
Toxic foods are poisonous to squirrels and should be completely avoided.
- High-sugar foods (candy, cookies, granola, sweetened breakfast cereals)
- High-starch foods (pasta, bread, rice, potatoes)
- Salty foods.
- Human junk food.
- Sunflower seeds.
- Dried corn.
- Pine nuts.
Step 3: Arrange feeders strategically
You can use either a bird feeder or a squirrel-specific feeder. Load the feeder with the necessary food and hang it from a branch where flying squirrels are likely to cluster. Consider any signals you may have noticed in step one.
Try a few different places and be patient. It could take days or months to spot a flying squirrel, particularly if they aren’t already in your backyard.
Step 4: Make nest boxes.
Flying squirrels are cavity nesters. Thus they may easily find a place to nest indoors.
Most squirrels are perfectly content to live in a birdcage. Use a nest box that is at least 77′′ on the bottom and 8-10′′ in height for the most appropriate sizing.
The exit hole should be at least 1.25′′ in diameter for a Southern flying squirrel and 1.50′′ in diameter for a Northern flying squirrel.
If you choose, you can raise the enclosure to 10 feet or higher. However, flying squirrels can be spotted in lower locations as well.
Regardless of where you hang it, ensure it is as safe from predatory animals as possible. If possible, hang them on a pole rather than a tree.
If you’re lucky, you might see a flying squirrel unwinding in its new home! Just be cautious when looking for them because they may bite!
Other things to consider when trying to attract flying squirrels during the right seasons
While flying squirrels are not strictly nocturnal, they do become less active during the winter months. Flying squirrels gather together in groups within their nests to stay warm.
They spend even more time in their nest when the weather is harsh.
These nocturnal critters start accumulating food in the fall to prepare for the winter. As a result, they are more active during this period and may be more easily noticed.
In any case, flying squirrels can be spotted all year.
Watch during the right time of day.
Because these fascinating creatures are nocturnal, your best chance of spotting them is at night. You don’t want to use a bright torch or any harsh brightness because it will annoy them. Use a red cellophane-wrapped flashlight or a red light bulb in a spotlight.
They are most active between two hours after dusk and two hours before daybreak. They will return to their nest during the day to rest.
Preserve dead trees
While it may be enticing to clear any dead trees in your backyard, remember that they may be home to flying squirrels or other creatures. It’s worth considering keeping these trees around as long as they don’t pose a hazard to your home or humans.
Flying squirrels are secondary cavity nesters, which means they live in holes made by other animals. Animals prefer to live in dead trees rather than living ones.
It’s usual for these little critters to cuddle inside of a dead tree to stay warm during the winter.
Preventing flying squirrels from entering your house
The main disadvantage of attracting flying squirrels is the chance of them entering your home. When there is a temperature drop, they may sneak inside and reside in your walls or attic.
To avoid this, search your home for possible entry points for these rodents. Examine the area carefully to ensure no small holes or gaps enter.
To prevent them from traveling in that direction, screen any vents, openings, or chimneys. Also, cut back limbs 6-8 feet from your roof to keep them out of their way.
When a squirrel barks at you, what does it mean?
Although their calls sometimes sound like they’re scolding us — or the cat — the majority of them are alarm signals used to ward off predators and warn other squirrels of danger.
At times, the squirrel will sound an alarm to alert other squirrels that something is wrong.
What does it imply when a squirrel looks you in the eyes?
They are aware of your presence. A considerable portion of a squirrel’s brain is dedicated to visual skills, which aids them in staying safe in their natural environment.
If they are staring at you, they are most certainly sensing your presence and maybe watching to see if you get too close. When they feel unsafe or threatened, they normally flee.
When squirrels are joyful, what sound do they make?
Throughout the day, they speak continuously. They make noise when they are joyful wand hen they are warning other squirrels, and I’m sure they make noise when they take apples from my orchard when I’m not looking.
Flying squirrels, do they travel in groups?
Northern flying squirrels may live in groups of up to eight adults and adolescents and share nests on occasion. During the winter, individual northern flying squirrels congregate in single-sex groups for warmth.
Because flying squirrels are nocturnal, you may be lucky enough to witness one of these wonderful, gliding creatures if you follow the methods and recommendations above.
Consider yourself fortunate if you happen to observe this! Many people miss out on this because they are most likely asleep when the action takes place.
Now that you know how to attract flying squirrels to your backyard, you can go outdoors and start providing these creatures with a place to nest and food to snack on, and they’ll soon be happy living there!