Most people have never seen a flying squirrel. Some do not realize they exist. Mostly because they are more apt to be seen at night if at all. They do not actually fly like a bat, but rather glide from limb to limb. Since people often say that regular squirrels are tree rats, I suppose a flying squirrel would be a tree hamster.
I had the good fortune to see one up close. I used to keep a typical seed bird feeder outside my back door. One night I saw something huddled on the feeder. I stepped closer and it was a tiny pair of soft brown eyes. Flying squirrels are quite small. This one could have been a baby for that matter.
I just stood there looking at the little beauty, knowing that it was terrified and there was nothing to do to help. It was clinging on to the bird feeder as if one wrong move would plummet it into oblivion. I wanted a picture but it was too dark for the photo alone, and I was afraid to damage its vision with a flash.
I didn’t dare to reach out to touch it, even though it was less than a foot from where I was standing. I told it not to be scared and I went back into the house. In the morning it was gone and I never saw it again.
A similar looking nocturnal animal that is not native to the United States is a Sugar Glider. They have been bred as pets for about 15 years and are tiny bundles of cute. They were a craze at the pet stores for awhile, but their popularity has died down a bit. Perhaps because they do not like being alone, and they are nocturnal, and if you don’t pet them as much as they desire their shrill cry will shake the walls.
I’ve never heard of anyone having a pet flying squirrel. But I am sure someone has tried to have one. I am just happy they never became an exported novelty from the United States, as the Sugar Glider had been for Australia.
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