Ever wonder how to attract flying squirrels to your backyard? Flying squirrels with their gliding abilities can have magical impressions on both children and adults. They are called “Fairy Diddles” which is a cute nickname for these strictly nocturnal and seldom seen little rodent species. Their fur can glow to fluorescent pink which adds to their magical characteristics.
You can see species of flying squirrels flying and feeding on a bird feeder only at night. They are acrobatic and you will be lucky if you see them gliding from tree to tree like performing trapeze artists. They are fast movers and are often mistaken for a bat, a falling leaf, or a bird nesting. You will likely see these flying squirrels to your backyard where they’d hang on tree tops along with their squirrel group. They can also make that loud “tseeet” sounds that can be heard especially during quiet nights.
Can a flying squirrel really fly?
Did you know that flying squirrels cannot fly? They can be aptly called gliding squirrels since they can glide from tree to tree. Gliding is made possible by the presence of a wing-like surface of a loose fold of skin called patagium that runs from the wrist to the ankle. To guide their flights, they use their flat tails as their rudder. They can average between 30 to 40 feet flights and can extend up to 300 feet. Upon landing on another tree, they can disappear on sight, as they scurry on all fours to the opposite side of the tree trunk to thwart any predators that might be following them.
Can You Attract Flying Squirrels to Your Backyard?
Do you have trees in your yard? If yes, then it will be easy for you to attract flying squirrels. Areas with abundant trees are very attractive to flying squirrels especially when you have food ready on the bird feeder. Take note that flying squirrels spend most of their life up on trees where they play, feed, and sleep. Having a good spot that has the ideal habitat for flying squirrels is half the job done in attracting them to your yard. The thing to do next is to find ways to make them stay in your backyard.
Look out for Signs
You might not have noticed it before, but the sign of the flying squirrels’ visits can be visible in your backyard. If you have bird boxes, check for bark stripped from cedar trees that are stored inside or perhaps chewed holes on them. Hearing high-pitched sounds up on your trees can be a sign of flying squirrels communicating with their group high in the trees.
Supply Enough Food
A squirrel diet can be just any available food around their habitat. You can earn their trust and confidence by putting food they like in your backyard. You can also install a squirrel feeder where they can access food. Fill their feeder with nuts if you aren’t sure what to give and hang it on branches. Flying squirrels love nuts and having nut-producing or deciduous trees in your backyard can be a total treat to them.
Scatter some nuts with shells like hazelnuts, butternuts, and hickory nuts as these can also be the best food for them. Avoid feeding them with raw peanuts and red oak acorn that contains high tannin. They also like non-citrus fruits like apples, strawberries, grapes, watermelons, and cantaloupes. Leave chunks of these fruits on their feeder for them to munch on. Fresh vegetables are a great source of nutrition for these active acrobats, and they will feed on any available veggies. Leafy greens, peas, any type of seed, carrots, broccoli, yellow squash, and zucchini on the menu can be a welcome treat to them. They also feed on seeds of pumpkins and sunflowers. Some people like to attract them by placing peanut butter on tree bark.
Provide Water Source
Attracting northern flying squirrels if you happen to be located in North America can be done not just by food alone. You also have to give them easy access to water to complete their needs. Just like us humans, water is an essential element that a flying squirrel needs to survive. If you provide them with squirrel feeders, there is an area on the feeder intended for water. Or you can use another container that can hold water for them.
A heated bird bath can be placed near the flying squirrels’ feeder during wintertime. The coming winter season is a busy time for the flying squirrels since they are in a frantic need to store food. Having a feeder for food and water can make it easier for them to access their necessities during the coming cold season.
Build Nest Boxes
Flying squirrels are known to be cavity nesters that like to have a comfortable nest. They often choose to make their home in deciduous and coniferous forest and woodlands. Their homes can be in snags, woodpecker holes, abandoned bird’s nests, homes of other squirrels, and nest boxes. They can nest together with other flying squirrels to stay warm in winter.
These species can be attracted to nest boxes or feeders available in your yard. Use at least 7×7 inches bottom and at least 8-10 inches in height bird boxes. Entrance holes of 1.25 inches can welcome a Southern flying squirrel and a 1.50 inches entrance can billet a Northern flying squirrel found in North America.
Hang these bird boxes in areas you think will be safe from predators. You can mount them on a pole if possible. Check on these boxes from time to time and if you’re lucky, you may find southern flying squirrels at home on your boxes. Be careful though; southern flying squirrels will bite when they feel threatened.
Dead Trees for a flying squirrel home
Dead trees can be a home to a flying squirrel and its group. Flying squirrels are secondary cavity nesters and won’t mind taking up their new residence in an abandoned hole created by other animals. Dead trees can provide a pretty cozy home to huddle together during the winter season. If you have a dead tree in your yard that does not pose any threat to your home or humans, consider keeping it as flying squirrels may make it their home.
If you are lucky enough to attract flying squirrels to your yard, you will be seeing them mostly two hours before sunrise and two hours after sunset. They are nocturnal animals and like to rest during the day. You can spot them more often during fall since they will be busy gathering supplies for winter and are more active. Providing them nuts, fruits and water can make them happy residents in your backyard.
FAQ on How to Attract Flying Squirrels
What is the best bait for flying squirrels?
Flying squirrels are cute rodents with large eyes, pink noses, and furry tails. They are nocturnal animals and their large eyes help them see in the dark. They have lots of energy and a natural sense of curiosity. Their inquisitiveness may make them end up in your attic. They can be nosy with the things they can find there and can gnaw on your electrical and insulations and create a lot of ruckus that can disturb the peace. They also like to chew on wood which can damage your ceiling or walls.
Although they cannot fly, they can glide through the air using their skin flaps (patagium) that stretch from their front to the back leg. They live in a colony which can create unwanted odor. Catching them can be time-consuming and challenging but needs to be done as soon as their presence is known. Locating them in your ceiling or attic and even on the eaves of the house can also be challenging.
A live trap can be set up to catch them. You can use traps with single automatic doors that are escape-proof. Set them in places where there are visible signs of flying squirrels’ presence like chewed wood or droppings. You can use pre-bait in the trap by placing a piece of bread with peanut butter spread, sunflower seeds, grains, apples,or any fruit. You can make a trail of sunflower seeds on the ground, going inside your trap.
What is a flying squirrel’s favorite food?
Flying squirrels are actually omnivores, which means you can attract them to eat both insects and plants, including seeds, fruits, nuts and even fungi. If you are keeping them as pets, they thrive on pellet mix, apples, and seeds made for flying squirrels. They also find waxworms and mealworms a treat just like goat’s milk.
Meanwhile, the southern flying squirrel is considered to be the most carnivorous among all flying squirrels since they eat birds, eggs, and carrion. Out in the wilderness, they choose to live in woodland, coniferous and deciduous forests. Their natural living habitat is trees, grottoes, and cave ledges. They thrive by storing supplies on their nest, particularly corn, which they consume in wintertime. They also collect berries, acorns, insects, bird eggs, and meat.
How do you befriend a flying squirrel?
Flying squirrels can be one of the easiest wild animals to tame since they are social and curious creatures. They can bond with people easily especially when they were rescued by them. If you intend to keep them as a pet, or you will release them back to the wild later, you will have to check with your local wildlife department if this is allowed in your area.
Some states do not allow flying squirrels to be kept as pets and some may require a license to keep them legally. Keeping them as a pet means taking them to a veterinarian or wildlife rescue to check them thoroughly for any presence of parasites, lice, and fleas as well as medical issues.
A tall, wire birdcage can be large enough to keep the flying squirrel as they need room to exercise and glide. Their cage should contain branches to climb on and a nest on the top portion of the cage. Toys can be added as well as a water bottle and food. Check that their bedding is dry and clean. They are nocturnal animals so expect that they are up and running while you sleep. You have to find time to get them out of their cage and bond with them.
You can feed them with protein-rich food like fresh fruits and vegetables as well as cooked eggs. You can also feed them with a pet food mixture like mouse food. Mealworms can also be added to their list of food. If you think you cannot duplicate what they consume in the wild, add vitamins and calcium supplements to their water.
Handle these creatures frequently and make your presence felt. Flying squirrels bond well with people they have more contact with. You can place the flying squirrels in a bonding pouch that is worn on your neck and hangs near your heart. It will identify your scent and bond them closer to you because of your body heat. Always reward your flying squirrel by feeding it with snacks like small nuts before putting it back inside its cage.
Do not let the flying squirrel in!
Are you in North America where the northern flying squirrels are? Or are you trying to attract the northern flying squirrel? Wherever you are, always remember to not let a flying squirrel in your home. This can be the only downside after attracting these creatures because once they get in your house, they could possibly live in the walls and attic of your house where temperatures are warmer.
Check out potential entries where these rodents can sneak in. Look for small cracks or holes where they can possibly slip in.
Did you remember these creatures are nocturnal? If you do see one in broad daylight, then consider yourself lucky as most people are already snoring the moment these little creatures come out. Nevertheless, if you follow what we’ve advised in this article, chances are higher for you to attract these flying critters to your ground and might even lure them for nesting.