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FLYING SQUIRRELS

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Elephant shrew

Gliders: Detecting and Managing Flying Squirrel Intrusions

Flying squirrel on a tree.

Introduction

While squirrels are a common sight in many neighborhoods, flying squirrels often go unnoticed due to their nocturnal habits. These captivating creatures possess a unique ability to glide through the air, but their presence can occasionally lead to problems in homes and structures. Identifying a flying squirrel infestation is crucial for effective management. In this article, we’ll delve into the characteristics of flying squirrels, their behaviors, potential issues they can cause, and methods for control using humane trapping and suitable bait options.

Fascinating Facts About Flying Squirrels

Flying squirrels, while not true flyers, are adept gliders. These small mammals have a furry membrane called a patagium that stretches between their wrists and ankles, enabling them to glide gracefully from tree to tree.

Diet of Flying Squirrels

Flying squirrels are primarily herbivores, feeding on a diet of nuts, seeds, fruits, and fungi. However, they also incorporate insects and small invertebrates into their diet.

Habitat and Behavior of Flying Squirrels

Flying squirrels are predominantly nocturnal creatures, active during the night to avoid competition with diurnal squirrels. They inhabit wooded areas and often nest in tree cavities or build nests in tree branches. They are known for their silent and gentle gliding movements, allowing them to stealthily navigate their environment.

Potential Issues Caused by Flying Squirrels

While flying squirrels are less likely to cause issues compared to other pests, certain problems can arise:

  1. Structural Damage: They might find their way into homes through openings in roofs, attics, or vents, causing potential damage.
  2. Nesting and Chewing: Flying squirrels might nest in attics, leading to insulation damage and chewing on wires.

Detecting Flying Squirrel Presence

Identifying flying squirrel activity requires attention to certain indicators:

  1. Night Noises: Listen for scurrying and faint scratching noises during the night, which might indicate their presence.
  2. Droppings: Flying squirrel droppings are small and resemble grains of rice. Check for these in and around attic spaces.
  3. Gnaw Marks: Inspect wires and insulation for signs of gnawing or damage.

Effective Control: Live Trapping and Baits

#LNG12 Sherman Traps live animal trap for flying squirrels.#LNG12 Sherman Traps live capture trap for flying squirrels

When addressing a flying squirrel issue, consider these humane methods:

  1. Live Traps: Use live capture traps designed for small mammals. Place them in areas where you’ve noticed activity, such as attics or entry points. Bait traps with nuts, seeds, or peanut butter.
  2. Baits: Opt for baits that flying squirrels are likely to be drawn to:
    • Nuts and Seeds: Flying squirrels’ natural diet makes nuts and seeds an effective bait choice.
    • Peanut Butter: Its scent and sticky texture can be appealing.

Preventing Future Encounters with Flying Squirrels

After addressing a flying squirrel infestation, take steps to prevent their return:

  1. Seal Entry Points: Close off potential access points to your home or structures.
  2. Trim Trees: Trim branches that might provide easy access to your home.
  3. Use Metal Screens: Cover vents and openings with metal screens to prevent re-entry.

Conclusion

Flying squirrels bring a touch of wonder to our natural surroundings with their unique gliding abilities. While their presence is often less problematic than that of other pests, addressing any potential issues promptly is crucial. By recognizing the signs of flying squirrel activity and employing humane control methods like live traps and suitable baits, you can manage their presence in a respectful and effective manner. Remember, taking swift action is essential to minimizing any damage or disruptions these silent gliders might cause to your home and structures.