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Wild Ideas: The Southern Flying Squirrel

This little mammal chirps and twitters like a bird and glides from tree to tree. Base jumpers and skydivers have developed special suits that mimic its abilities. What is it? The southern flying squirrel.

People rarely see these tiny, nocturnal creatures, although they’re common. They’re about five inches long and weigh only a few ounces. A loose fold of skin extends from their wrist to ankle and supports them as they glide. Their broad, flat tail works as a rudder.

Flying squirrels live statewide and prefer heavily wooded areas near water. They become more gregarious during winter and a dozen or more may pile into one large tree cavity. Watch for them on bright moonlit nights or in the dim light of predawn or dusk.

You can learn more about wildlife in Arkansas at agfc.com and there is also more information about the southern flying squirrel at the National Wildlife Federation website.

Join Kirsten Bartlow for Wild Ideas as she explores wildlife and conservation topics across Arkansas—from the Ozark Mountains to the Delta bayous.