News flash – we have flying squirrels in Ontario and Muskoka has lots of them! But, most of us would never know it. These nocturnal creatures are plentiful but rarely seen as they prefer forest habitat where they become active in the treetops under the cover of night. I was very fortunate to notice one of these strange looking flying squirrels clinging to a bird feeder just outside my window.
Flying Squirrels in Muskoka
Flying squirrels are about the same size as little red squirrels but their big eyes and tiny ears give them an unusual face. They remind me of something that might belong in Australia. Flying squirrels don’t hibernate during winter but will gather together in large groups trying to keep each other warm. Since they are active during winter it’s not entirely unusual for one to visit a bird feeder at this time of year. On this occasion I saw two flying squirrels on the suet bird feeder. They seemed to enjoy the homemade suet made of discarded cooking fat and birdseed.
It is always exciting to see bear cubs wandering around the backyard, a family of otters playing in the pond, an eagle perched in a tree or moose strolling through the fields around the house. I feel it’s the same sort of treat to see a flying squirrel too. Some might think “But it’s just a squirrel right?” Nope! These aren’t any ordinary squirrels. They are super-squirrels who can glide from tree to tree covering surprising distances in the air (300 feet). That makes them way more cool than the ordinary daytime squirrels.
Flying squirrels don’t have great eyesight and aren’t as quick on their feet as their other squirrel and chipmunk relatives. This flying squirrel didn’t notice me or my cat through the window watching him from only inches away. All the birds can certainly see us when they use the bird feeder but this little guy seemed oblivious. As you can see in the photos below, my cat was most interested in his new friend. In such a short time they grew very close, but I hope for the squirrel’s sake they won’t grow any closer!
Since the flying squirrels have discovered the bird feeder, and there’s more than one flying squirrel who likes to visit it, I’m sure I’ll see them again. Each time they come I’ll try to get some better photos. Maybe one day I’ll even get lucky enough to catch a flying squirrel in flight!
(not catch with my hands – that would be fun though. I mean I hope to catch him with the camera. Just thought I’d clarify that in case it was unclear for anyone.)