Did you know there are flying squirrels in Alabama?

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a… flying squirrel in northern Alabama?

When most Alabamians think of squirrels, the image that probably comes to mind is of a small grayish-brown rodent with a bushy tail, but not the ability to glide. The same cannot be said for the southern flying squirrel, the only species of flying squirrel found in the state of Alabama.

According to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), the southern flying squirrel can be found throughout the state, as well as in the eastern United States, except for the states of New England.

Why aren’t they seen more often here in Yellowhammer State? The ADCNR says they are not spotted regularly as they are most active at night. The ministry said squirrel numbers are stable and possibly increasing in North America.

Despite its name, the southern flying squirrel does not actually fly.

A more appropriate name, according to the National Wildlife Foundation (NWF), would be “gliding squirrels.” The creatures have a special membrane in their front and back legs that gives them the ability to glide through the air between trees.

NWF says the southern flying squirrel can “fly” up to 150 feet in a single glide.

The species is also the smallest of the three tree squirrels found in Alabama, measuring eight to 10 inches and weighing only two to four ounces. By comparison, the most common gray squirrel can be 16 to 20 inches long and weigh up to 1.5 pounds.

Learn more about the southern flying squirrel and other creatures native to Alabama and surrounding states at outdooralabama.com/wildlife.


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