Did You Know There Are Flying Squirrels In Minnesota?
I've lived in this area my entire life, and I was "today's years old" when I found out that we had flying squirrels. Flying squirrels came up in conversation during the Breakfast Club this morning. Don't ask me how that happened, but Lauren did ask if we had flying squirrels around here. I replied that I didn't think we did.
A listener, Cory, messaged us and said that we do have flying squirrels, but they are nocturnal. I wasn't so sure about that. I mean, I should have known this by now? I've been in the woods a ton and I haven't seen any of these. Well, the DNR proved Cory was right. We actually have two species of flying squirrels in Minnesota.
One is the southern flying squirrel, and the other is the northern flying squirrel. If you want to get scientific, the name is Gluacomys sabrinus and Glaucomys volans. Of course, we up in this region have the northern flying squirrel. The reason you don't see much of them is that they are a nocturnal critter and it is very rare to see them. The southern flying squirrel is about the size of a chipmunk, with the northern flying squirrel being a bit larger at about 3 ounces according to the Minnesota DNR.
While they are called flying squirrels, they don't actually fly. They glide from branch to branc and can range about 30 feet. They aren't hunted or trapped in Minnesota because they aren't really worth anything for their fur, and they don't have any meat on them. They do have to watch out for hawks, owls, weasels, and marten or they'll become lunch.
So while it's rare to see them as they are nocturnal, the DNR says many people mistake flying squirrels gliding across roads as birds. So maybe you have seen these little guys after all!