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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

  Rodentia · Sciuridae · Glaucomys sabrinus

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Glaucomys sabrinus

Northern Flying Squirrel

Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae

Image of Glaucomys sabrinus
Galucomys sabrinus - right (with G. volans); larger than  G. volans, dark gray belly hairs with white tips are distinctive (inset)
Click to enlarge this image. (98 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Flying squirrels do not fly. They launch themselves into the air and glide long distances from tree to tree. They have a membrane known as a patagium that stretches between their front and hind limbs, which serves the same purpose as a hang glider's wings. The tail is flattened, which gives them an even greater gliding surface and aerial control. Northern Flying Squirrels play a critical role in the ecology of Pacific Northwest forests. They are important in the diets of Northern Spotted Owlsowl pairs are estimated to consume as many as 500 flying squirrels a yearand they help disperse the spores of fungi that aid the forest trees' absorption of nutrients from the soil.

Sexual Dimorphism:



Range: 275-342 mm


Range: 75-140 g


Shaw, G., 1801.  General Zoology, p. 157.  Thomas Davison, London, 2:1-266.


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Distribution of Glaucomys sabrinus

Image of Glaucomys sabrinus
Click to enlarge this image. (263kb)

Image of Glaucomys sabrinus
Glaucomys sabrinus (Northern Flying Squirrel), MidAtlantic
Click to enlarge this image. (82kb)

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