Frequently people call us and say they have found a baby squirrel in their house. Then they go on to describe a small animal that is brown with a flat tail and big black-as-coal eyes. That description usually denotes a flying squirrel – not a baby grey squirrel. The flying squirrel is not a particularly aggressive animal. In fact, in the early 1900’s it was common for children to raid a flying squirrel nest and sell the little guys to pet stores! This is illegal now, of course, but just goes to show that flying squirrels are rather mild-mannered animals.
Because flying squirrels are highly nocturnal, they are active and noisy at night. Homeowners tend to notice flying squirrel issues in the attic right away because they are home, on the upper floors of their home, during those active flying squirrel night hours. Besides the normal sounds of scurrying and footprints, flying squirrels make soft chirping and clucking noises, and their collections of food such as acorns and nuts in nesting sites can make for a rather loud compilation.
Flying squirrels are naturally reclusive because they are on the bottom of the food chain. The University of Michigan Animal Diversity Website states: “Most northern flying squirrels live less than four years in the wild.” However, in captivity, they average a 13 years lifespan.
The University of Michigan ADW also tells us that flying squirrel “courtship begins in March and may continue until late May. One litter is born per year, and the female raises the young without the help of the male. Copulation occurs in early spring and is followed by a gestation period of 37 to 42 days. Usually, 2 to 4 young are born, though litters as small as 1 and as large as 6 have been recorded. Newborns are poorly developed; they weigh 5 to 6 grams, and they have closed eyes and ears, fused toes, and a cylindrical tail. By the sixth day the toes are separated, and the eyes open after 31 days. Young leave the nest at 40 days and are totally weaned after two months, though they may remain with the mother another month. Flying squirrels breed in the first summer after their birth.”
In our own professional experience with flying squirrels in New Jersey, the average colony is 2 to 15 animals in one site. But on one memorable occasion, our company took a record of 54 flying squirrels out of one structure!
Flying squirrels are small even when fully grown. They commonly get into buildings at attic fans, roof vents, gable vents, pork chops, and most especially at gaps behind the fascia board. Flying squirrels are small enough that they can slide underneath shingles and don’t always leave a sign such as fur or scratch marks. This is a common spot that’s missed when searching for animal entry points.
To learn how we evict flying squirrels from your home, click here.
Fischer Wildlife Animal Control & Damage Repair can rid your home or business of many other nuisance wildlife animals as well.
Click here to read about other wildlife pests that reside in New Jersey that we work with.