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Flying squirrel 

Description of the flying squirrel

The flying squirrel is considered a rodent, and scientists believe that there are approximately 43 species of flying squirrels, two of which are found in North America, two species in northern Eurasia, and the rest of the other species are found in temperate and tropical forests in India and Asia, although the flying squirrel does not actually fly However, it slides for distances, and the eastern giant flying squirrels recorded the highest sliding distance estimated at 450 meters, which helps them to do so is the presence of a membrane similar to the membranes of bats , but the difference is that the latter’s membrane enables it to fly, while the membrane of the squirrel helps it to slide only, and in This article will offer some information about the flying squirrel.


Description of the flying squirrel 

The flying squirrel has a wide, free membrane of skin that is covered - along with the squirrel muscles - with a membrane of fur, and this membrane connects between its forelimbs and its hind limbs, and some types of these squirrels have a smaller membrane, which connects between the head and wrists, and between the hind limbs and the tail, and there is a rod Cartilaginous extending from the wrist to support the front part of the membrane on each side [1]It has soft, dense fur, brown from the back and dark gray from the belly, and has large dark eyes and a broad, horizontal, flat or cylindrical tail. There is a big difference in the body sizes of different types of flying squirrels. Some relatively large squirrels in tropical India and Southeast Asia weigh from 1- 2.5 kilograms, a body length of 30-60 centimeters, and a tail length of 35-64 centimeters. The smallest are the dwarf flying squirrels in northern Borneo and the Malay Peninsula, and their length is only 7-9 centimeters, and their tails are 6-10 centimeters long. As these dwarf flying squirrels glide over tall trees in tropical rainforests, it is easy to mistake them for the fluttering of large butterflies


Flying squirrel behaviour 

Indeed, flying squirrels are always a wonder; They do not fly, but rather glide using their membranes that resemble umbrellas. When they want to jump from tree to tree, they spread their entire body in the air. This position was used by some athletes in jumping sports. Squirrels use their tail as a steering wheel and brakes, and to reduce their speed when they reach the tree that they want to move. To it , and in order for the flying squirrels to escape from predators , they go to search for their food at night, and their big eyes help them in that, and they remain asleep during the day in cavities inside the trees . These rodents take the cavities of trees, caves , and rocky cracks on the slopes and edges of the caves as their homes, and some of them build spherical nests at the top of the trees . 1] , and some types of flying squirrels, especially those found in North America, specifically in Virginia, are active during the winter instead of hibernating, and they are social animals and are known to share their nests with many males, females, and young puppies from their families in search of warmth

Flying squirrel food 

These squirrels feed on berries, nuts, mushrooms everywhere, birds' eggs, and also some grains, shoots, fruits, snails, insects, any leftover animal material, flower buds, nuts, lichens, pollen, ferns, spiders , other invertebrates , small birds, snakes and smaller mammals [1] . Flying squirrel reproduction The flying squirrel reproduces by birth, and its breeding season is from February to May and again in July. As for the pregnancy period, it lasts from 37 to 42 days. The flying squirrel becomes sexually mature at the age of 6 to 12 months and is able to mate and reproduce, but there are many threats to the flying squirrel that have led to a decline in its numbers. Among the most important of which are the decline of forests and the increase in logging for use in wood industries, and among the main predators of the flying squirrel: owls , weasels, foxes, mink, hawks, raccoons, skunks, snakes, cats and domestic dogs . 

Recent discoveries about the flying squirrel 

A new type of flying squirrel was discovered in North America, bringing the number of species there to three. The new type is no different from other flying squirrels, but genetic research has shown that there is a difference, but this genetic difference is not a result of domestication or the mating of different types of flying squirrels. This led to it being considered a third type by scholars. 

It is worth noting that scientists have discovered a secret that lies behind its fur, the flying squirrel is naturally an exceptional being because of its membrane, but what recently surprised scientists is its fur, which glows in a bright pink color under ultraviolet light, and this means the ability of flying squirrels to absorb a specific color at a wavelength A certain and emits it in another color and wavelength, this discovery raises puzzling questions about the function of this ability, and scientists indicate that this characteristic may be more common among mammals, and biologists said that this discovery happened by chance when a scientist was exploring the forest at night using an ultraviolet lampTo search for some lichens, fungi, plants, and frogs that sometimes glow, as the scientist says that he heard the sound of a flying squirrel, so he highlighted it and was very surprised when he saw the pink color, and some scientists attributed the pink color to that the flying squirrel is a nocturnal animal. That there is a relationship between this color and night perception and communication.

Flying squirrel behaviour

Recent discoveries about the flying squirrel

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