Southern Flying Squirrels (Glaucomys volans) are 10 inch long nocturnal rodents native to the US that have a life span of about 13 years. They have a membrane called a patagium that extends from the wrist of each front leg to the ankle of each rear leg allowing them to glide 20-30 feet!
Signs of a healthy Flyer include clean soft fur, clear eyes that are not swollen, sunken in, red or crusty, anal area should be free of feces (if there are caked on feces the Flyer probably has diarrhea), stools should be firm and brown in color like hamster feces. No smell should be present on the Flyer and the Flyer should be active and alert.
I HIGHLY recommend that new, current and potential owners join The Squirrel Board and the National Flying Squirrel Association. I myself have learned so much from these boards and enjoy interacting with all of the other Squirrel lovers!
Ohio residents are required to have an ODNR permit to own native wildlife such as a Southern Flying Squirrel. It is quite simple to aquire, just call the Department of Natural Resources at 614-265-6300 and ask them to send you a form to get a permit to own a Southern Flying Squirrel. You fill out the form, send it in and they will send you your permit.
The main reason most pets are given up is from a lack of knowledge, in turn having something unexpected that doesn't fit right into ones life. The following questions to ask yourself about Flyers should lead you in the right direction on whether or not a Flyer is the right pet for you.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
-Can you afford a Flyer? Getting a Flyer can be costly. First you need to buy the accessories and food which can run you well over $100 as well as buying the Flyer itself. Also if your Flyer gets sick you must think about the vet bills.
-Will you be able to provide a large cage for your Flyer?
-Will you be able to provide high quality food, fruits, veggies & water daily?
-Will you be able to clean the cage regularly (spot clean daily, total clean weekly)?
-Will you be able to handle getting bitten? (All animals can bite)
-Will you be able to "Flyer Proof" a room so you can play with your Flyer outside of the cage? Refer to my "Playtime Out of the Cage - Flyer Proofing" section to determine this.
-Will you be able to bond with your Flyer properly to make him/her a good pet? Refer to my "Handling, Socialization & Bonding" section to determine this.
-Will you be able to play with your Flyer daily to provide enrichment and keep it friendly?
-Can you handle their life expectancy of up to 10 years?
-Can you handle getting pooped/peed on?
-Will you be able to keep handling your Flyer even if it gets grumpy to help make it more/keep it friendly?
-Can you handle any health problems that may arise and take it to the vet (as with any animal)?
-Are you okay with the fact that your Flyers behavior may change (whether aggressive or anti-social) during breeding season (Spring & Fall)?
Flying Squirrels as Pets
Personally I feel Flying Squirrels make great pets due to their behavior in the wild, they form small groups and share a common nest to keep warm. Since they are social in this manner they can be hand fed at a young age, and form deep everlasting bonds with their people. They enjoy the company of their people and love climbing all over them as well as gliding around.
Flying Squirrels are a very interesting and entertaining pet to keep. They are curious and lively! They are very fun to watch as they scurry around a Flyer proof room, climb up your body and glide from place to place. They enjoy being petted and scratched on the head or neck and love riding on your shoulder or sleeping in your shirt or pocket! They can even be trained to come to their name!
I highly recommended (and require potential buyers) to read this article written on 'The Squirrel Board Forum' by the user 'Muffin Squirrel' about having a Flying Squirrel as a pet: Muffin Squirrels Post.
I believe that there is no difference in personality when it comes to the gender of Flyers. It all depends on the individual.
Please click on the links below to read about the topic:
Nutrition, Feeding & Supplementation - What to feed Southern Flying Squirrels and the supplements they need to live a long, happy life!
Habitat & Enrichment - Flying Squirrel caging requirements, what bedding, toys and accessories to use & how to "Flyer proof" a room for out of the cage time!
Behavior & Training - Flyer behavior & how to handle it such as biting as well as how to handle, socialize, train & bond with your Flyer and keeping multiple Flyers.
Breeding & Raising Babies - How to healthy breeders, breed a certain color, breeding seasons, the cage, mating, pregnancy, handfeeding, raising & weaning babies.
Health Concerns - Catching health problems early, common Flyer ailments & signs of when to take Flyer to the vet.
Caring For Your Unweaned Baby Flyer - How to care for, what and how to feed an unweaned baby Flyer.
Before You Bring Your Flyer Home & Beyond... - Essentials to get before bringing a Flyer home, care for the first few days and Flyer care schedule. Resources & Websites Forums
Resources & Websites