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Northern Flying Squirrel

Joel Sartore

The life of the Virginia northern flying squirrel seems simple enough: Eat fungus. Glide up to 100 feet at a time. Repeat. These strictly nocturnal creatures use a variety of squeaks, soft chirps, chuckling sounds and musical whistles to communicate with their brethren. The squirrel's gliding ability comes from its furred patagium, a fold of skin extending from the wrist of the foreleg to the ankles of the hindleg, that enable it to glide up to 135 feet!

Climate Change Impacts

One subspecies, the Virginia northern flying squirrel, is found only in the red spruce forests of Virginia and West Virginia. But that may soon change as their home succumbs to acid rain and rising temperatures associated with climate change. In the absence of red spruce trees, black cherry and northern red oaks move in to take their place. With these new tree species comes new competition, as the more aggressive southern flying squirrel moves in and pushes the Virginia northern flying squirrel out of its already shrinking habitat.

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