Sunday, September 8, 2013

Flying Squirrel - Little Ghost of the Forest



Southern Flying Squirrel
Southern Flying Squirrel 


Southern Flying Squirrel
Southern Flying Squirrel 

Southern Flying Squirrel
Southern Flying Squirrel 
I finally caught a Southern Flying Squirrel on camera and video! I noticed a squirrel at the feeder after dark and upon shining a flashlight on it made the happy discovery! Over the next few nights i set up cameras by LED lantern light and night-vision cameras to document them.  Flying Squirrels glide through the forest night like a little ghost in the trees. The woods behind the house are incredibly dense and this is the fourth species of squirrel I've documented living there - Red, Gray, Brown and Southern Flying. The Gray's are the largest.

This little squirrel is even smaller than a Red Squirrel with a very flat tail to aide its gliding and large eyes, big ears and extremely long whiskers to fit its nocturnal lifestyle. It would be difficult to capture this squirrel in flight as it tends to move through the forest at high levels in the trees and then quickly run down the trunk to get to the feeder, but I'll try in the future. This squirrel lives in a Hemlock and mixed hardwood forest at 4000 feet in the Great Smoky Mountains - the much rarer and larger Northern Flying Squirrel also lives in these mountains at a little higher elevation. I would love to film one of those. The squirrel feeder box would eventually be discovered by Eastern Screech and Barred Owls so you'll note the extreme caution this little squirrel uses when exposing itself in the open. It spends most of its time lying flat against the tree trunk.

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