Flying squirrels huddle, not hibernate

  • Updated: November 19, 2010 - 1:57 AM

Flying squirrels don't hibernate, although during an extreme cold spell they may huddle together in groups in a state of light, transitory hibernation known as torpor. Because they are strictly nocturnal, we rarely see these restless little squirrels. However, they are common woodland creatures and regularly are seen at wildlife feeding stations. A spotlight aimed on your feeders will not keep them away, but will give you an opportunity to watch them feed.

The southern flying squirrel prefers deciduous forests and is found throughout the eastern United States but seldom where coniferous trees dominate. Northern flying squirrels are found in mixed coniferous and deciduous forests from Alaska across Canada and into the United States. Both species live in Minnesota. In the southern part of the state we have the southern flying squirrel, which is about 10 inches long, including the tail, and weighs about 2 ounces. The northern species weighs on ounce or two more and is an inch or so longer. Both species have thick soft fur that is brown on the upper body and white below.

JIM GILBERT

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