Thursday, August 13, 2009

What Big Eyes You Have!

We had a little visitor at one of our campsites last week. To mimic some semblance of civilization through running water we hang a Camelback water pouch on a tree. When the Co-conspirator was going for an evening toothbrushing we discovered this nocturnal forest dweller clinging to the strap.

It's a Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus.) It's a completely nocturnal rodent that few people see. I believe I've seen the southern species in our neighborhood briefly silhouetted against the light as it leapt from one branch to another. It's shape is distinctive looking sort of like a square kite with squirrel limbs, tail and head. Flying squirrels don't actually fly, but rather glide on the folds of skin that run between their front and hind limbs.

This one was so intent on licking the strap it didn't seem to mind us standing right near it and talking about it. We think it was drawn to the salt on the fabric. It didn't leave until I tripped on a root and made a sudden move.

1 Responses (Leave a Comment):

Michigoose said...

Cool Shady! I worked with a woman from upstate NY who had one as a pet...long before people had rehabilitation centers back in the 1960s and early 1970s. They found a baby which had been injured. They nursed it back to health and of course, it became a pet. She said nights were very interesting around her house with the squirrel being a flying squirrel!

I appreciate your post never having seen one myself.