Are Flying Squirrels Nocturnal

Flying squirrels are nocturnal animals, meaning they are active during the night and not during the day. This behavior is unique to flying squirrels and distinguishes them from other squirrel species. While more than 50 species of squirrel exist, the flying squirrel is the exception, preferring to be active at night due to their food choices and the predators that hunt them.

Flying squirrels are commonly found in many countries, particularly in the northern United States, but they are rarely seen by humans. Their nocturnal nature and their preference for staying high in trees make them difficult to locate or observe without actively searching for them.

Are Flying Squirrels Nocturnal

Why Are Flying Squirrels Nocturnal

Flying squirrels are primarily nocturnal due to their diet and the availability of food sources during the night. They have a diverse diet that includes nuts, fruit, fungi, and insects. Insects, which are a significant part of their food intake, are most active after sunset and before dawn.

Flying squirrels take advantage of this abundance of insects during these hours, allowing them to quickly consume their preferred food source. Some species of flying squirrels, like the Southern Flying Squirrel, are also known to supplement their diet with bird eggs, carrion, and small birds.

Being active at night provides them with easier access to bird nests and reduces the risk of encountering larger predators while scavenging for carrion.

When Are Flying Squirrels Most Active

Flying squirrels are most active for about two hours after sunset and about two hours before sunrise. During these periods, they can find and consume their preferred food sources. As nocturnal creatures, flying squirrels have developed unique behaviors that allow them to conserve energy and survive in their environment.

They ignore typical nocturnal behaviors and remain inactive for the majority of the day, focusing their activity on the times when food is most readily available. This makes spotting flying squirrels in the wild quite difficult, as they are only active for a short period each day.

However, their behavior ensures that they have enough food to sustain themselves and avoid exhausting their energy reserves.


Do flying squirrels glow at night?

Yes, flying squirrels have been found to emit light. When exposed to ultraviolet light, they glow bright pink. The reason for this fluorescence is still not fully understood, but it could potentially serve as a mating signal or a social cue. Scientists from Trent University have observed this phenomenon and continue to study it.

How do flying squirrels fly?

Flying squirrels do not fly in the same way that birds or bats do. Instead, they glide through the air using a flap of skin called a patagium. This skin stretches between their limbs, allowing them to glide from tree to tree. So, while they cannot fly like birds, they can cover long distances by gliding.

Is it true that flying squirrels are only found in forests?

Yes, indeed, flying squirrels are primarily found in forested areas. They rely on trees for food, shelter, and their ability to glide. However, they can also be found in urban areas as long as there is enough tree cover for them.

Do flying squirrels hibernate?

Yes, some species of flying squirrels do hibernate during the winter months. These squirrels will build up fat reserves before winter and will retreat to their nests to conserve energy during cold periods. However, not all flying squirrels hibernate, as some remain active year-round.

Can flying squirrels be kept as pets?

Keeping flying squirrels as pets is generally not recommended. They have specific environmental and dietary needs, and they need a lot of space to glide and exercise. It’s best to admire these creatures in their natural habitat.

Are flying squirrels endangered?

Not all species of flying squirrels are endangered. However, some species may be at risk due to habitat loss or fragmentation. It’s crucial to protect and preserve their forest habitats to ensure their long-term survival.


In conclusion, flying squirrels are indeed nocturnal creatures. Through various scientific studies and observations, it has been established that these fascinating animals are most active during the night, using their impressive gliding abilities to travel between trees in search of food and shelter.

Understanding the nocturnal behavior of flying squirrels is crucial for their conservation and protection. By recognizing their natural habits and the important role they play in their ecosystems, we can better preserve their habitats and ensure their continued survival as part of our diverse wildlife.

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