Flying squirrel: description, habitat, color and photo


The common flying squirrel, or flying squirrel, is a small rodent. He belongs to the family of lingerie. By the way, this is the only animal from the subfamily of youngsters living in Russia. Flying squirrel got its name due to its amazing ability to plan from one tree to another. Now let's talk more about this animal, its habits. The reader will know who the flying squirrel is.

Description of the representative of the fauna

The flying squirrel is a medium-sized animal, with an average body length of 170 mm. The tail of this animal compared to the body is large enough. On average, its length is 120 mm. Now consider the ears and feet of the animal. Foot length - about 35 mm, and an ear - 18 mm. The weight of such a beast is on average 125 grams. A fold of skin covered with hairs (“flying membrane”), running along the sides of the calf, connects the hind and fore limbs. She also plays the role of a parachute. The front fold is supported by the bone, which departs from the wrist. The tail of the flying squirrel is long, covered with thick hair. The head of this animal is small, rounder than that of a normal squirrel. Ears are rounded, not long, without brushes. The area around the peephole is black.

Due to the fact that the animal is nocturnal, he has large and bulging eyes. Wool is soft, silky, thin. It becomes especially thick and lush in the winter season. The color of the animal is light gray with a yellowish tinge. Tail lighter than the body of the animal. The inner surface of the paws and abdomen dull yellow-white color. As a rule, the squirrel shortens the nose of the skull. Relatively large flying squirrel drum cameras.

Since the common flying squirrel climbs a lot of trees, her limb bones are elongated, especially the forearm and lower leg.


The common flying squirrel lives in the taiga and mixed forests of Eurasia. You can meet her in Finland, Mongolia, China, Korea, Latvia and Estonia.

The common flying squirrel lives in hollows. Arranges its nest in the trees at a height of four meters from the ground. Sometimes you can see the nests of this squirrel in the forest-steppe of Western Siberia.

What eats flying squirrel

The basis of the diet of this animal is the tops of the shoots, pine nuts, buds of deciduous trees, seeds of conifers. In the summer the menu is a bit more varied, various mushrooms and berries are added. Sometimes the animals gnaw a thin young bark of aspen, maple, willow and birch. Especially like flying birch and alder earrings. Their animal even saves it for the winter, folding it into its hollow. There is an assumption that the common flying squirrel can eat bird eggs and chicks. In general, the diet of this animal is completely dependent on where it lives. For example, in the northeastern parts of the range, the animal eats only the larch buds in the winter season.

Peculiarities of animal behavior

The common flying squirrel is active all year. Her lifestyle is twilight, nocturnal. Nursing females and young animals appear in the daytime. As a rule, an ordinary flying squirrel spends most of his life in trees, occasionally descends to the ground. The activity of this protein decreases sharply during the cold season. Note that the beast does not hibernate, but when it is cold outside, it spends time in the nest, using the food reserves that he made in the warm season.

Important note about abundance

Due to the fact that the number of such an animal is decreasing everywhere, an ordinary flying squirrel is officially recognized as an endangered species. The Red Book of Belarus has this beast in its lists. Squirrel belongs to the third category of protection. In 1993, the protein was listed in the Red Book. In addition, flying squirrels can be found in the lists of a number of Red Books of Russia.

Small conclusion

Now you know who such a flying squirrel, or ordinary flying squirrel, as it is also called. As you can see, this is a very interesting animal with a delightful appearance. We hope that the information presented in the article helped you to understand in detail what kind of animal it is, what are its features of reproduction and behavior.

Flying squirrel - a small "skydiver"

The appearance of rodents resembles a squirrel, so they belong to this caudate family. Let's take a closer look at how a flying squirrel looks like; a photo of animals will help with this.

The body length of the squirrel is about 10–20 cm, the tail can be said to be almost the same length: 10–15 cm. It serves as a brake, with its help the flying squirrel balances and outlines the direction during the jump-flight. The weight of a little brave man is about 150-180 g.

In cute mohnatik head round shape with big black eyes, when you look into these eyes, just want to treat candy, so they are naive and imploring. The ears are round, but, unlike normal squirrels, do not have brushes. On the paws are small fingers, armed with very sharp claws. The hind legs are much longer than the front, between them they are connected by a wide skin fold. During the flight, the protein spreads the limbs, the fold stretches and a kind of parachute is obtained, because of this feature the animals were called the flying squirrel.

The “fur coat” of the small “skydivers” is very soft, gentle and smooth, much better than that of a simple squirrel. On sites about animal life you can see wonderful pictures, flying squirrel looks very beautiful on them, you can look at it in detail and carefully. Top torso silver with a reddish tinge, bottom - white. In winter, the fur gets all sorts of gray shades, it becomes warm and fluffy.

Lifestyle protein in the natural environment

Flying squirrels are thrifty animals, so that their “storeroom” is full of supplies, they spend most of their time looking for food, you can't call them lazy, they are very hardworking. They lead active lifestyles throughout the year, prefer to cope with all their affairs in the evening and at night, usually sleeping or quietly managing their hollows during the day. These unwritten laws often violate the nursing mom-squirrels and the younger generation.

They make their houses high (4-13 m), hollow diligently equip with the help of moss and grass. In rare cases, the house of squirrels can be found on the rocks in the crevices, trees like rodents more.

It is almost impossible to find a flying elbow in the forest, except perhaps due to low chatter or characteristic litter. Especially love to "talk" in their squirrel language, these nimble and nimble animals in the evening, then their chatter is heard throughout the forest. Almost all the time they spend on trees, on the ground they feel uncomfortable and insecure. The warm season of the tail rodents is spent in the works, and in the cold winter time they almost constantly sit in hollows, feeding on stocks from the “closets”.

Good, peaceful fluffy representatives of the kingdom of squirrels very reluctantly go to conflicts. But if you touch a female with bellets, she will violently defend them. A nice little animal in such a situation turns into an aggressive evil animal.

What do flying squirrels eat?

What do the little hard workers prefer to eat? Mandatory item in the squirrel menu - needles, seeds of coniferous trees and buds of deciduous trees. In addition, the flying squirrel in the diet includes mushrooms and berries. Instead of sweets, the animals eat birch and alder earrings. Naturally, they feed every day, but they do not forget that it is necessary to make supplies, it is built into them from birth.

Until now, until the end of the flying squirrel has not been studied, very much secretive and fast in its natural environment. Scientists can not come to a common opinion about whether this rodent eats bird eggs and even the chicks themselves. The debate continues, just say this is impossible.


After the mating games, the squirrel-flying squirrel leads offspring in a month. In the year at the furry mommy is born from two to four squirrels. Toddlers are born completely helpless, naked and blind, only after two weeks the young begin to see the world around them. After a month and a half, the bravest leave the hollow and try to make the first jumps-flights. At two months, young people become independent and, without the help of their parents, find their own food.

Natural enemies of protein and longevity in the wild

These cute little animals in their habitat face a lot of dangers. Flying squirrels, of course, are very nimble, but they do not always manage to get away from pursuit. They have plenty of enemies, the most dangerous of them: lynx, weasel, marten, falcon. These are predators that have the opportunity to get to the nest, no matter how high it is equipped. For this reason, the life of squirrels in nature is not too long, only about five years.


The flying squirrel in all its appearance resembles a small squirrel, small in size, but with the presence between the front and hind paws of a characteristic broad skin fold, covered with hair - a kind of “flying membrane”. Such a membrane acts as a parachute and is actively used as a bearing surface when rodents make jumps. In front, such a membrane is supported by a long and sickle-shaped bone that comes from the wrist and is approximately equal in length to the size of the forearm. The tail of the animal is quite long, covered with thick fur.

It is interesting! The main difference from other species of flying is that the common flying squirrel does not have a flying membrane located between the tail base and the hind legs.

The size of the adult common flying squirrel is quite small. The maximum body length varies from 12.0-22.8 cm with a total length of the entire tail section of 11-13 cm. The foot length of an ordinary flying squirrel does not exceed 3.0-3.9 cm. The average body weight of an adult individual can reach 160- 170 The flying squirrel has a rounded and dull head, as well as large and bulging, black eyes, due to night or twilight lifestyle. The ears are rounded in shape, without the presence of brushes. All limbs of the representative of the subfamily Letyaga are rather short, but the hindlines are always noticeably longer than the front ones. Claws short, with strong curvature, very sharp and tenacious.

Fur cover flying squirrels are thick and soft, pronounced silkiness. The fur of such a wild animal is much softer and much thicker than that of a normal squirrel. The upper part of the body is colored in silver-gray tones, often with the presence of an ocher or slightly brownish tint. The bottom of the body of the flying squirrel is white, with a characteristic pale yellow bloom. There is a black rim around the eyes. The tail is very fluffy, noticeably lighter than the body, with hair that has a slight “comb” in different directions. Winter coat is especially lush, of various shades of grayish color. Flying squirrels twice during the year.

Squirrel lifestyle

A mammal rodent from the Squirrel family is active year-round, and leads a nocturnal or twilight lifestyle. Feeding offspring females with juveniles may also appear in the daytime. Much of the time flying squirrels spend in search of food. Nest common flying squirrel settles in hollows of trees, and also uses for this purpose nested hollows of woodpeckers or old squirrel nests. Occasionally, an flying squirrel's nest can be found in a rocky cleft or directly near human habitation, including birdhouses.

Nests of round-shaped flying leopards, folded using soft lichen and moss, as well as dry grasses. Flying squirrels often nest in adult nests in the nest, which is explained by the absolute non-aggressiveness and complete sociality of such wild animals. The mammal does not have any pronounced individual territorial areas, but is characterized by habitual and fairly stable feeding routes. The nursing female flying squirrel, on the contrary, is more aggressive and able to protect its nest from predators.

It is interesting! The presence of flying squirrels may indicate a kind of "latrines" in the form of piles of droppings, which resembles ant eggs of a rather bright yellow color.

Along with normal squirrels, flying squirrels spend a significant part of their lives directly on trees, and very rarely descend to the surface of the earth.. The skin membrane located between the hind and front paws allows the animal to plan easily from one tree to another, quickly overcoming a distance of 50-60 m. For jumping, the flying squirrels climb to the very top of the tree. During the flight, the mammal spreads its front limbs very widely, and the rear ones presses it towards the tail part, due to which a “triangular silhouette” characteristic of the flying squirrel is formed. By changing the tension of the membrane, the flying squirrels easily and well maneuver, changing the direction of their flight by 90 °. The tail part, as a rule, is used exclusively for braking.

Landing on the stem of the tree flying squirrel most often carries on a kind of tangent, previously taking a vertical position and clinging to all the legs. After landing, the animal immediately moves to the other side of the tree, which makes it easy to dodge prey birds looking for prey. Among other things, flying fliers cleverly and very quickly climb along the trunks and jump from one branch to another, making it difficult to notice such a rodent in the forest.

Protective contributes to the protective coloring and fur, which helps the flying squirrel to merge with the tree. In the twilight you can hear the voice of a flying squirrel, which resembles a low and not too loud chirping. With the onset of the cold season, the activity of the lethagus significantly decreases.


The fossil remains of the common flying squirrel or flying squirrel have been known since the Miocene period. The average lifespan of a “small skydiver” in the wild, as a rule, is about four to six years. With proper care in captivity, the mammal is able to live much longer, about ten to twelve years.


Flying squirrels inhabit old mixed and deciduous forest zones mixed with aspen, and also feel good in birch forests or alders. On the territory of the European part of our country, they prefer to keep along swamps or rivers with alder plantings on the coast. Flying cones are rare in conifers.

On the territory of Siberia, an ordinary flying squirrel or a flying squirrel often settles in high-growth larch plants, and in forest-steppe zones of Western Siberia, it prefers tape forests or birch groves. In the northern part of the mammal adheres to the range of floodplain vegetation. It can also be found high in mountain areas, but only within the high forest.

Diet of protein

The basis of the diet of volatile proteins is represented by the buds of various hardwoods, as well as the tips of the shoots, young needles and seeds of coniferous plants, including larch and pine. In summer, mammals are eaten by berry crops and mushrooms. Sometimes thin and young bark of willow or aspen, birch and maple is gnawed by flying squirrels.

It is interesting! The mammal does not hibernate, but in the most frosty days it hops exclusively inside the nest, feeding on winter feed reserves.

The main food is the "earrings" of alder or birch, which are stored as winter stocks inside the hollow. According to some reports, the common flying squirrel can even eat newborn chicks, as well as bird eggs, but the diet varies considerably depending on the most basic characteristics of the habitat.

Natural enemies

Very cute and tiny animals in their natural habitat are threatened by a very large number of various dangers. Despite the fact that the flying squirrel is, of course, very nimble, but it is not always able to move away from the pursuit of natural enemies. Lynxes and weasels, as well as martens, ferrets, solongas, and predatory birds, including falcons and owls, are particularly dangerous to the common flying squirrel, or flying squirrel.

Population and species status

The total number of the common flying squirrel is too small; therefore, hunting for such a rare representative of the subfamily Letyaga and the kind of Eurasian flying squirrels is currently limited. The fur of such a mammal, like an ordinary flying squirrel, is classified as insufficiently valuable. Even in spite of the external attractiveness and softness of the fur cover, it is distinguished by a very thin and quite fragile core, which can greatly hinder its active use.

In captivity, flying squirrels get accustomed very poorly, since such a rodent will need to provide sufficient space for flying and jumping.. However, their active catching with the aim of selling as a homemade exotic is very popular in many areas. The common species of flying elk is currently significantly reduced in some regions of Russia. It is for this reason that the flying protein was listed in the Red Book of some regions, including the pages of the Red Book of the Republic of Tatarstan.

Flying protein

Flying squirrels (Petauristinae) belong to the squirrel family, the subfamily of rodents. In the forests of Russia inhabits ordinary flying squirrel. Она принадлежит к роду Азиатские (Евразийские) летяги, объединяющих два вида – летяга обыкновенная и японская (малая) летяга.

Обыкновенную летягу называют «летучей белкой». The unusual structure of the body allows the animal not only to fly from one tree to another, but also to produce complex acrobatic movements: plan, perform complex maneuvers and aerobatics in the air, sometimes landing in the same place where the launch took place.

Homemade flying squirrel

At home, to keep such animals difficult, they need a lot of space in order to do their favorite activity - jump and fly. Despite this, many exotic lovers have such pets. It is simple to care for them, the main thing is to ensure proper nutrition.

Flying squirrels are cute creatures in appearance, but if the owner bothers them too much during the daytime, it can easily hurt the finger. When dusk comes, they become more accommodating and tender, nothing can be done about it - night beasts!

Very often the Australian flying squirrel becomes a pet, it is also called sugar protein. This little animal has received a well-deserved nickname, as it adores sweets. If you want to pamper your fluffy, buy him special candies and candied fruits. It often happens that a squirrel starts crying at night, just like a little baby. You can calm the crybaby with a tasty candy, after the treat the animal will immediately calm down and repay you with its affection.

The diet of homemade proteins should include fresh fruits and vegetables, do not forget to add dairy products. Pounded eggshells or chalk added to food will replenish calcium in the body. If you properly feed and care for your pets, then at home flying squirrel can live for about 12-15 years.

general description

The flying squirrel is a small animal with a body length of up to 17 cm and an average weight of 125 g. Its tail is quite long compared to the body and is 12 cm. A leathery fold located along the body serves for planning and jumping. Covered with fine wool, it connects the fore and hind limbs and straightens when the squirrel jumps. This membrane is used as a simplified version of the parachute. The flight length of flying squirrels can be 50 meters along a parabolic curve.

From the wrist flying squirrels leaves a small crescent bone that supports this fold. The surface of the tail is covered with thick fur. The head of the flying squirrel is more rounded than the head of an ordinary squirrel, and the ears do not have brushes. Shiny black eyes are surrounded by dark fur. There are 22 teeth.

The large size and protuberance of the eyes make it possible for the nightclub to fly. Soft thin coat becomes thick and dense for winter. The color of the skin on the back is silver, and on the belly - gray with a yellow tint. The tail gray has a black border. Its main color is lighter than the color of the rest of the body. The tail has slight combing of wool to the side of the center.

With the change of the season, the color of the league fur is also changing, becoming brighter in winter. Twice a year, animals molt. Autumn shedding starts from the head and stops at the tip of the tail. Spring molt proceeds exactly the opposite, starting with the tail and ending at the crown.

The elongated bones of the limbs, especially the legs and forearms, are necessary for flying to move between trees. Its paws are quite developed and very tenacious, and the hind ones are noticeably longer than the front ones. There are 4 fingers on the fore limbs, 5 fingers on the hind limbs. In the sitting position, the animal throws its tail on its back.

Territorial distribution

From the inside, such a nest has a spherical shape in winter, and in summer the layer of litter is significantly reduced. Outside the hollow is greasy and plastered with scraps of wool. In the western part of Russia, flying squirrel is trying to settle near the marshland where alder grows. Also, the animal prefers lakes and rivers, where there are old hollow trees.

The main occupation of flying squirrels is the search for food. Most of its food consists of various plants and buds of trees. Earrings of birch and alder - a favorite delicacy of this animal. She even makes stocks for the winter, hiding earrings inside her nest. In the summer, mushrooms and berries, as well as young shoots, enter the food.

There is an assumption that the flying squirrels are able to eat chicks and eggs of small species of birds. But the main factor affecting the diet of the animal, is the area of ​​distribution. In the north and west of Russia, the flying squirrel is satisfied in the winter only with the stored buds of larch.

Social features and reproduction

Flying squirrels, as a rule, live in nests together. They do not change their pair throughout their lives and, as a rule, do not enter into conflicts. Flying squirrels do not show aggression towards each other, but a nursing female may show character, protecting the young.

The reproduction of flying has been little studied. During the year, the female has only one childbirth, and the number of litter is 2-4 cubs. The duration of pregnancy is 4-5 weeks. The first brood is born in April or May. The time for the second is the end of June-July. Care for the cubs is provided exclusively by females, they also teach them routes to accessible sources of food.

The flying squirrels that have just been born have a size of up to 5 cm and a weight of up to 7 g. The tail length of newborns does not exceed 1.4 cm.

In the first days of their life, the young are blind and naked, they gain sight on the 15th day. Young for the first time out of the nest after a month and a half after birth. 2-3 days after this event, young flying squirrels make their first jumps, and on the 50th day - the first planning. From this point on, they become completely independent and begin to live separately from their parents.

But, if the time of growing up had to be during the period of coming frosts, the young offspring will stay with their parents in the winter, often staying overnight in the same hollow.

Longevity of captivity in captivity can reach 13 years, and in natural habitat animals rarely live longer than 5 years. Their main enemies are large birds of prey. Also flying squirrels stay away from martens and sables.

Human interaction

Despite the beauty of their skins, flying squirrels are not used in the fur industry, since the product from it will soon lose strength and peel off. You can not keep flying houses at home, because they need to make jumps, and the limited space of housing does not allow it to lead a normal life, because the animal soon dies.

But nothing prevents their breeding in zoos. This requires spacious aviaries. In order to preserve reproductive activity, seasonal lengthening of temperatures is required. Therefore, the offspring is expected only from the animals contained in street enclosures.

Usually flying squirrels do not show aggression towards a person and tend to remain unnoticed by him. However, there are cases when females attacked people who disturbed the offspring.

Sometimes flying squirrels settle near human habitation. In winter, they come to feed on grain.

Interesting Facts

  1. When a squirrel finds a nut, it breaks it down to reach the core. The flying squirrel drills a hole in the shell for this purpose.
  2. When planning the body of the animal forms a trapezoidal silhouette. Tail and hind limbs are pressed to each other, front legs are widely spaced. Changing the tension of the membranes allows the flyer to perform pilot maneuvers and rotate the body 90 degrees. Brake animals with the help of a tail. For landing, the flying squirrel lands on the tree trunk with all four limbs and moves to its opposite side. Thanks to this action, it will be protected from large birds of prey.
  3. Traces of flyers are almost impossible to disassemble on the ground, since flying squirrels very rarely go down. In rare cases, the traces left are not much different from squirrel. Even an expert does not always see the difference.
  4. Before jumping, the flying squirrel rolls up into a small lump and then, with his limbs resting on a tree, sharply straightens his body and directs his paws forward. During the flight, the body area doubles due to the straightened skin fold.