Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel

By: Ryan Gray

Scientific Name

Glaucomys sabrinus coloratus

Habitat & Range

  • Found mostly across Canada and the northern United States
  • Range extending southward in the great mountain Chains of North America
  • North Carolina is the farthest south - they are isolated in small populations on the highest mountains
  • Wet climates
  • Trees (ex: Sugar Maple & Red Spruce)
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Specific Niche

  • Nocturnal (emerge from their dens just before dust to search for food)
  • Sail from tops of trees and glide to the base of a nearby tree
  • Keen sense of smell
  • Gliding ability
  • Spends most of its time walking on the ground and digging for truffles
  • Trees need mycorrhizal fungi to grow, and the fungi needs an animal to disperse their spores (which is what the squirrel does)
  • Female squirrels give birth to 2-4 young in the spring
  • Open their eyes after 1 month!
  • Main predators are owls, hawks, martens, weasels, coyotes, and the domestic cat
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Why Endangered?

  • Habitat destruction
  • Fragmentation
  • Deforestation
  • Introduction of pest species
  • Mineral extraction
  • Recreational development
  • Pollution
  • Potential for global warming

Change in Carrying Capacity

Due to natural climate change and human intervention into their habitat such as land clearing, the Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel population was decreasing. However, their population rate is now stable, and many websites and organizations are changing their status on these animals to least concern!
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Future Prognosis

Due to the leveling population, the Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel will most likely soon be recognized by government organizations as a least concerned species. So, they will hopefully keep on gliding along for a much longer time!

How Can Humans Help?

  • Do not disturb them or their nests
  • Volunteer to check flying squirrel boxes and/or build them
  • Join a conservation organization
  • Donate to the NC Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund