Baystate Wildlife | Flying Squirrels as Pocket Pets
Bats are the only mammals that can fly, but if gliding is considered the same as flying, then bats will find company among flying squirrels, one of the wildlife we deal with here at Baystate Wildlife. Flying squirrels soar from tree to tree with their parachute-like membrane which spans from their front and back limbs. Though their flight is different from that of birds and bats, flying squirrels can glide up to a recorded 300 ft. With their tiny body and adorable doe eyes, it’s no wonder why folks have taken in these cute and charismatic animals as their pets.
Small household pets like flying squirrels are also known as “pocket pets.” Though the flying squirrel is a wild animal, some states legally allow owning these animals as pets. In Massachusetts, the Southern Flying Squirrel is one of many wild mammals that can be legally owned as a pet. They are joined by the Sugar Glider, Hamster, Deer Mouse, Four-toed Hedgehog, and White-footed Mouse, to name a few. However, even if it is legal to own a flying squirrel, this doesn’t mean you should keep one. For one, some species of the flying squirrel are already endangered, like the Northern Flying Squirrel. In the case of the Southern Flying Squirrel (which is legal to own as a pet in Massachusetts), this species is relatively rare, which raises some speculation about the true numbers of its population. Thus, it’s better to let these adorable animals be, in the forests, where they are free to live and grow.
Northern vs. Southern Flying Squirrel
How do you know if it’s a Northern or a Southern Flying Squirrel you’re dealing with? First, Northern Flying Squirrels are active throughout the year, while their southern counterparts are less active in very cold weather. Physically, Northern Flying Squirrels have a rich brown fur while Southern Flying Squirrels have a grayish brown coat. The Northern Flying Squirrel is also bigger as well, growing up to a length of 263 to 368 mm. Meanwhile the Southern Flying Squirrel grows to a length of 198 to 255 mm. Interestingly, despite the smaller size of the Southern Flying Squirrel, they are known to be more aggressive than the Northern Flying Squirrel. Researchers note that the Southern species sometimes displaces the Northern species, though they live in different types of forests. The Southern Flying Squirrel finds home in hardwood forests, while the Northern Flying Squirrel chooses conifers.
Baystate Wildlife Flying Squirrel Control
As mentioned, it’s better to let these wild animals be. Tempting as it is to have Southern Flying Squirrels as pets, they are not naturally adapted to living elsewhere other than their natural habitat. Taking care of one is not as easy as it looks as well; you’ll have to bond with them while they’re young and give them toys and exercise to ward off illness. They’re also so tiny that it’s dangerous to let them out of their cage and roam free around the house.
The next time you see a flying squirrel lost on your property, call us at here at Baystate Wildlife. We provide humane wildlife removal so you can rest assured these cute and adorable squirrels will be safe.