Have you ever seen a baby of a flying squirrel? I guess not. The babies are hidden in the nest until they can fly away.
Once they mature, they can live up to a recorded time of 20 years, when in captivity.
If they are alone in the wild, they can live half or far much below the years in captivity.
But when do squirrels have babies?
Female flying squirrels reproduce two times per year, usually in February through September. Females carry their babies for 40 days and give birth to 2 – 5 young ones.
However, flying squirrels living farther south mate and give birth to babies in the year compared to the populations residing in the northern parts.
Female will start attracting the male whenthey reach one year. It occurs twice ayear; first is between December-February. The second one is in lateJune-august. Their gestation period lasts for 38-46 day’s when they give birth.They give birth on early February-April or in late August –September. They get2-4 kids.
Interesting Facts about Flying Squirrels
1. They actually fly
Did you know that there are approximately 44 species of squirrels’ worldwide? Now you know.
The flying squirrels are just one species. If you are wondering why you don’t see them flying in the sky. Here is the reason. They don’t have feathers like birds.
So they can’t be able to fly high like an eagle. They don’t operate like a bat either. Unlike the typical birds, their limbs are longer. The other bones, including their hands and foot, remain shorter.
Their ability to glide comes from their loose furry skin that has a parachute-like membrane.
The gliding procedures that the squirrel uses are very similar to that of bats.
Their long tail helps them to remain stable while they glide on different trees. They can float between 20-30 feet.
During their flight, they can make a turn of 180 degrees. The longest ever recorded time the squirrels can fly is 300 feet.
2. Most Common Type
The two distinct types of the flying squirrel are; South American and the North American.
They have lager eyes as compared to their body size. The mothers can give birth up to a maximum of seven babies and a minimum of two.
3. Similar Feature between Male and Female
You can hardly differentiate between the male and the female. They look alike with significant similarity in their physical features.
Both have grey fur, long tail that has furry and is flat. Their bellies also have white and cream color. They weigh up to 4 ounces with a length of up to 12 inches
Thepaws of the squirrels help them to support themselves on trees after landingsafely. They also help them to climb up the tree. When they get on the top,they prepare to jump again.
Since they are omnivorous, their diet consists of vegetables and meat. Plants include the Mushrooms, flowers, nuts, and seeds.
They eat snails, insects, bugs, and small birds. They also eat the barks of the tree. To get the content in the nut, some squirrel breaks the nut, while others bite the content by making a small hole.
Theflying squirrels are nocturnal. They have big, bulging eyes that look shiny.The eyes help them to see through the dark since they are active at night.
7. Surviving In Cold Seasons
During winter, many creatures hibernate. Unlike some of the other animals, the squirrels stay in the nest.
To avoid starving to death, they put up to 15,000 nuts in one season. The food is enough to keep them alive throughout the cold season.
8. Squirrelsare Social
They are social creatures. They enjoy living in a community hence conserving their energy. You can find them living in one hole that was made by woodpeckers.
Some squirrels even sharing their nests with bats and owls. Unfortunately, they have many preys. Those predators include; raccoons, snakes, owls, and hawks
9. Baby Squirrel
Thebaby of a squirrel is blind for 4-6 days and hairless for a week uponconception. Unlike the babies of other animals that are very active afterbirth, a baby squirrel is very helpless.
Themother takes care of the baby until the age of 6-8 weeks. Around this time, themother also takes time to teach the babies how to glide. They only manage tofly after two months.
How to Keep Flying Squirrel as Pets
Someregions strictly warn against keeping fly squirrels as pets. There are someregions where it’s okay. In those regions, people love them because of theircute large bulging eyes that are shiny.
If you want a fly squirrel as a pet, avoid buying an adult. Bonding with it might be tricky.
You can take a 4-6 weeks baby. As it grows, it will get acquitted to you. Ensure that the one you buy is from a reputable breeder.
Since the babies are helpless, they require a lot of care. Feed them with baby formula for several weeks.
Use a syringe when feeding them. As you continue feeding them, you will bond more. If you don’t have much time to spare, the squirrel pet is not your best option.
Your pet needs to feel secure. As you continue bonding, he starts loving you. If you have a family, let them bond with it each at a time.
You can put in the pocket near your heart and take a walk. You can also put it in any other place, where it will feel your heat.
Creatinga strong bond, especially when it’s young, is very vital. When feeding it,don’t just put the food on a bowl and leave it. Let it feed on your hands.
You should put your flying squirrel in a cage that has free-air circulation. To prevent it from flying away, use wire of half an inch space.
Put some newspaper on one corner and a wood shaving on the other. It will sleep on the wood shaving and defecate on the paper. Cleaning will be much faster.
You can help it to know how to climb and flyby putting perches and branches inside the cage. As it grows, prepare to have abigger cage.
Squirrels require fresh, clean water always. Put the water in a bottle or container and wash it thoroughly before refilling it.
Hamster food daily is a great meal. You can also give it some squirrel commercial. It requires having long-hardened teeth. Hard nuts will help to achieve that.
Since it needs calcium, you got to sprinkle some calcium powder in its food, twice a week. Fresh orange slices can be a good substitute. Once in a while, give your squirrel a treat.
Mealworms or wax worms are a sweet treat. Salt rabbit wheel is also essential. You should place it in the cage.
If the food is kept long in the cage, it will start attracting bacteria’s and odor. To avoid these, don’t let the food stay for over 12 hours in the cage.
Flying squirrel is a healthy animal and doesn’t require any vaccine. The oil that the body produces keeps the parasites and pest off.
They don’t get rabies or any diseases. It’s essential to take them for a checkup annually.
Flying squirrels are social animals. They are also intelligent and store up enough food during winter.
Because of their social nature, they make a wonderful pet. If you decide to put it at home, buy a baby squirrel, and take good care of it.