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Squirrels and Relatives: Sciuridae

Southern Flying Squirrel (glaucomys Volans): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Southern flying squirrels are generally about 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 centimeters) long, and have a black ring around their large eyes. They have gray fur with white bellies.

Geographic range: These squirrels are found in eastern Canada south through the eastern United States. Isolated populations stretch to Honduras.


Southern flying squirrels live primarily in deciduous forests. They usually make their nests in tree hollows.

Diet: These squirrels eat nuts, seeds and berries. They will also eat bird eggs, bird nestlings, insects and occasionally dead mice.

A southern flying squirrel spreads its hands and feet, stretching the thin membrane that connects them to glide up to 80 yards (73 meters). (© Joe McDonald/Corbis. Reproduced by permission.)

Behavior and reproduction: Southern flying squirrels are nocturnal. These squirrels will form small groups in the winter and share a common nest to keep warm. They typically glide an estimated 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 meters) from the top of one tree down to the trunk of another tree, though they may glide farther.

Southern flying squirrels mate in early spring and summer. Females give birth to two litters of two to seven offspring. Mothers will defend their young and move them to another nest if they are threatened.

Southern flying squirrels and people: These squirrels are considered gentle and are popular as pets.

Conservation status: Southern flying squirrels are not listed as threatened by the IUCN. They are generally common with some isolated populations threatened due to habitat loss. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsSquirrels and Relatives: Sciuridae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Squirrels And People, Southern Flying Squirrel (glaucomys Volans): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS