Flying squirrels are small squirrels that stay on trees. Although their name is flying squirrels, the squirrels do not fly, but they glide. Flying squirrels reside in grottoes, tree cavities, cave ledges, and on cliffs in rock cracks.
Flying squirrels, unlike other squirrels, are nocturnal. They tend to store food in the nest, particularly corns, to feed on during winter.
Flying Squirrel Habits and biology
Flying Squirrels spread their legs and stretch the fold of skin that is between the behind and front legs. This assists them in gliding and moving from one tree branch to the other. Flying squirrels can sometimes become pets, but when they live at the chimney or loft.
Their urine can cause damage and odor, and they can disturb people while sleeping with their nighttime activities. The squirrel has been often associated with causing human diseases. However, they rarely transmit diseases directly.
Flying squirrels feed on fruits and nuts from trees such as beech, hickory, white and red oak. They give birth to two litters every year. The gestation period is about 40 days. The young squirrels are born with no abilities and without fur.
Their fur grows in 7 days, and their eyes open in about 2 to 6 days. The young squirrels are weaned for 65 days after being born. In 120 days, the young squirrels now become independent.
Flying squirrels eat berries, seeds, bird eggs, acorns, nuts, and some insects. They also eat meat, and they tend to store some food in the tree crotches or the nest chamber. Flying squirrels live in woodland, coniferous, and deciduous forests.
They stay in woodpecker holes, snags, abandoned bird nests, and nest squirrels. During winter, flying squirrels will sometimes nest together in groups. A squirrel hides from its predator by bustling at the other side of the tree trunk.
However, tree snakes, owls, hawks, and other predators manage to eat these small rodents. The southern flying squirrels mate twice while the northern squirrel mates only once every year. Around 50 species of flying squirrels are in central and North America, Siberia, and Asia.
Flying squirrels have larger eyes that help them navigate in the dark. Their marking and fur depend on the species. Their colors vary as well as their sizes.
Do Flying Squirrels eat dirt?
Squirrels are mammals, and this means that they give birth and suckle their babies for several months. They are also cunning and tend to imitate other animals. If you feed them often, they might be dependent, and this might cause them to suffer after you leave them.
Squirrels eat many things, and this does not necessarily mean they can also eat dirt. Squirrels do not eat dirt, and they may sometimes dig in the ground but not feed on dirt. Most of the time, they harvest hidden stash, bury foods and hunt for grubs, worms, and insects.
They also feed on tree barks, twigs, wood, and animal horns for fiber and minerals.
What Do Flying Squirrels Like To Eat Most?
- Flying squirrels eat a wide range of foods. However, what do flying squirrels eat most? Flying Squirrels are omnivorous and will eat fruits, seeds, nuts, and plants. Southern flying squirrels eat plants, berries, plums, and apples.
- Captive squirrels should have more fruits, seeds, nuts, and vegetables. This helps in the proper functioning of their digestive system. Wild flying squirrels eat all kinds of seeds, nuts, and plants found in a deciduous forest. This includes tree backs, stems, leaves, acorns, and hickory nuts such as Shagback hickory.
- If you find all this complex and expensive, you can buy commercial food for flying squirrels. Wild squirrels are also carnivorous, and they feed on carrion and birds’ eggs. They also feed on young mice and insects.
- Captive squirrels may also consume mealworms, which is a source of protein. If you own a squirrel, you can add vitamin supplements and calcium to the squirrel’s water. Squirrels are typically wild rodents, and this determines what they should consume while in captivity.
- It’s essential to ensure your pet is getting all nutrients vital for the squirrel’s health. You can feed your squirrel with fresh meals once or twice a day and one or two rodent blocks in a day. Rodent blocks such as Zoo Med small Animal Mineral Block are previously made meals for animals such as mice, guinea pigs, rats, and squirrels.
- The food includes balanced nutrition and food that your flying squirrel needs. However, some squirrels will not consume rodent blocks unless it is the only meal available. They can also eat the food if you introduce it to them at a tender age.
- Seeds such as pumpkin or sesame seeds are also beneficial for your pet. Flying squirrels also enjoy tree nuts such as almonds, pecans, walnuts that are very nutritious. You can also feed the pet with chew bones purchased from pet stores for dogs and birds.
- They chew bones such as SmartBones are a source of calcium and provide nutritional value to your squirrel.
Food to Avoid feeding Flying Squirrels
- There are various foods you should avoid feeding a flying squirrel. This includes garlic, onion, fresh corn, sprouts, yams, dried vegetables, and potatoes. Instead, you can feed your pet with bell peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, green beans, cherry, and other healthy veggies. You can give 2 to three pieces of veggies each day.
- While in season pinecones, you can gather bark, pine branches, roses in your garden while still fresh. It would be best if you avoided fertilized, sprayed, or any of the foods treated with chemicals. There are also fruits to avoid and they include figs, dates, prunes, fruit juice, raisins, and plums. Seeds and pits can also be toxic apart from berries.
- There are other fruits that you can feed your pet, such as rapes, cranberries, lemon, and much more, which are less toxic to your pet.
- Avoid dried corns, cashews, pine nuts, pecans, and walnuts. This will cause them to lose calcium severely. Instead, you can feed them with almonds, pumpkin seeds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, and other nutritious seeds and nuts.
- Giving your pet two of these seeds and nuts in a day is enough. You can also avoid pet treats, seed mixes, or packaged squirrel foods. Scratchy foods such as candy, rice, pasta, potatoes, bread, and grain are also not that good for your pet.
- You should also avoid feeding them with granola, sweetened yogurt, banana chips, cookies, and dried fruit.
- You should also avoid Junk foods such as pretzels, French fries, crackers, potato chips, or any other salted meal. It would help if you avoided Legumes such as soybeans, peas, lentils, and kidney beans.
- Instead, you can feed your pet with sugar snap peas and green beans. You should also avoid artificial sweeteners, including aspartame and NutraSweet. You should also ensure your flying squirrel maintains a healthy weight.
- Overweight might cause your pet health problems. However, southern flying squirrels tend to be heavier than northern flying squirrels. Your squirrel should look healthy as the wild squirrels in your region.
Tips to Feed Flying Squirrels
Many people wonder what flying squirrels eat, especially if they have to feed one. Captive squirrels require much care compared to other domesticated animals. You will need water bowls, a cage, a nest, or a home for sleeping and food. The best diet for flying squirrels includes fruits and fresh nuts. Always ensure you have clean and fresh water available always. You can place water in a small dish or water bottle.
You can feed the squirrel with a hamster or commercial squirrel food. You can also add nuts, fresh fruits, and seeds. Nuts like walnuts and pecans will help in keeping the teeth of the squirrel from growing too long.
Throw away any remains of fruits to prevent odor or bacteria. You can also feed them with a slice of orange twice a week or put calcium powder in the meals. This will ensure that the squirrel gets adequate calcium.
Treats like wax worms and mealworms can be fed occasionally to the squirrel. For infant squirrels, you can feed them with goat’s milk or esbilac. They also enjoy pellet mix, apples, and a seed that is made especially for flying squirrels.
When the squirrels grow, they will need seeds, insects, fruits, and vegetables. Insects’ meals can include canned insects, crickets, and wax worms. A common choice of vegetables includes mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and corn.
The best fruits to give them include pears, peaches, grapes, apples, oranges, and plums. They can also eat a handful of walnuts or pecans or hard-boiled eggs occasionally.
You can try various types of these foods since squirrels have different preferences. Always provide water in a container that is open and keep rabbit salt available every time. Flying squirrels are likely to develop a calcium deficiency. This is because they do not get enough sunlight and are nocturnal.
You should add liquid vitamins to their water or use calcium supplements. You can also feed them with rodent blocks and avocados and fresh ear corn, or occasionally mealworms.
Flying squirrel FAQ
1. How many flying squirrels are in the world?
Over 50 different species are available globally. However, there is no exact number for their population. Some species are stable while others their numbers keep decreasing.
2. Are flying squirrels a danger to human beings?
No, flying squirrels are not dangerous animals. The small rodents, most of the time, hide to escape from predators and dangerous situations. When a flying squirrel gets trapped, it can bite a predictor to find an escape route.
3. Does a flying squirrel eat meat?
Yes, a flying squirrel can eat small birds, snakes, or wet pet food. However, they enjoy berries and nuts.
4. Which vegetables does a flying squirrel enjoy eating?
5. What are the distinct features of a flying squirrel?
Flying squirrels have furry membranes and tiny bodies for gliding.
6. Which animals are the predators of flying squirrels?
7. How much is the cost of a flying squirrel?
Flying squirrels are sometimes sold by people who breed them and sell them as pets. They are sold for a few hundred dollars. However, this will depend on the terms of the sale. However, before buying a squirrel to cage them as a pet, you should keep in mind that the rodents are not intended to be kept in a cage.
8. What is the flying squirrel life span?
A flying squirrel lives for about 5 to 8 years.
9. What type of habitat does flying Squirrels live in?
Flying squirrels stay in woodlands and forests.
10. Can flying squirrels eat bread?
Squirrels tend to eat anything, but they dislike garlic and onions. So probably, they will eat bread if you give them.
Squirrels are cute pets, and if they depend on humans to feed them, they may find it hard to survive in the wild. You can provide them with water but make them work to get their food. Feed them with shelled nuts, veggies, and fruits. You will also need water bowls, a cage, and a nest where they can sleep.