Northern Carolina Flying Squirrel

Mackenzie Estes

Federal Status

The flying squirrel started becoming endangered around July 1, 1985


There are 2 species of flying squirrels in the Southern Appalachians - the northern (Glaucomys sabrinus) and the southern (Glaucomys volans).Northern flying squirrels are about one-third larger, than the very common southern species. Also, northern flying squirrels are brown on their backs, and their fur fades to a buff white on the belly. Southern flying squirrels are more gray on their backs with bright white bellies, and a clearly defined (usually black) line separates the fur colors. The endangered Carolina northern flying squirrel is a subspecies of the northern flying squirrel.


The limited and discontinuous range of this sub-species in the Southern Appalachians makes it vulnerable to a number of natural and human-related impacts. Human impacts far outweigh natural threats and include habitat destruction and fragmentation or other alterations associated with the clearing f forests, introduced exotic pests, recreational and residential development, and pollution (heavy metals and acid rain.)


Northern flying squirrels are typically found in areas where northern hardwoods, such as Yellow birch, are adjacent to the higher-elevation Red spruce-Fraser fir forest. These habitats are often moist and cool. Southern flying squirrels are most often found in the warmer and drier mixed oak-pine forests of lower elevations.