Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus coloratus)

Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus coloratus): Find this endangered species hiding in our high-elevation forests this season
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- The Carolina northern flying squirrel is one of two species of flying squirrel in North Carolina—the other is the smaller, more common southern flying squirrel.

- The northern squirrel prefers a mix of conifers and northern hardwood trees in high elevations. Biologists say this nocturnal squirrel forages in the conifers and dens in the hardwoods.

- They can glide gracefully, and soar up to 160 feet from tree to tree by jumping. They leap by using their powerful hindquarters, stretch out their limbs, and glide to the ground or nearby trees. A cape of skin from their wrists to their ankles acts as a wing-like surface as they glide downwards.

- Because of drastic habitat loss, parasites, and other conditions, they are currently listed as endangered. It’s rare to spot this squirrel unless you’re hiking above 4,500 feet—anyone walking amidst red spruce and yellow birch on a sky island (an isolated mountain peak) might be passing a tree with some of these critters fast asleep inside. 

- Places like the Black Mountains, Roan Mountain, the Great Smokies, and Grandfather Mountain are their territories. The NC Wildlife Resources Commission surveys about 300 wooden squirrel boxes in January and February, just as they are beginning to breed