Flying Squirrel Lore & More
Did you know that flying squirrels are found throughout the wooded neighborhoods of Arlington, although they are seldom seen? Join us to learn about these engaging nocturnal acrobats. After an indoor presentation, we’ll tiptoe outside to see these little pixies glide in for an evening meal. These creatures are truly one of the natural wonders of Arlington!
Location: Long Branch Nature Center.
Cost: $5 per person.
Ages: Families ages 4 and up. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult.
- Sat., Jan. 20, 5:30-6:30 p.m. #622958-D.
- Sat., Feb. 3, 6-7 p.m. #622958-E.
- Sun., Feb. 18, 6-7 p.m. #622958-F.
Secrets of Squirrels
Learn about these rodents who are busy in the fall hiding nuts. How do they find them later? Where do they raise their babies? Why are some grey squirrels black? We’ll learn the answers in our classroom and on a fun nature
hike. Families ages 5 and up.
Gray squirrels are a familiar daytime sight in our parks but another, smaller squirrel with a special power also dwells in our woods. Although they are probably as numerous as gray squirrels in forested habitat, southern flying squirrels are rarely seen by visitors because they only emerge at night.
What is their special power? It’s the ability to glide from tree to tree by stretching out a fold of skin, called a patagium, into a wing between their front and back legs. This gives these tiny squirrels a relatively safe way to travel the nighttime forest. They are surprisingly maneuverable, able to make ninety-degree turns and even horizontal loops as they glide from tree to tree.
Unlike the gray squirrel’s bushy tail, the flying squirrel’s is flat and used as a stabilizer in flight — think of a kite tail. They also flip their tail up at the end of a glide to bring their body to a vertical position before landing on a tree trunk. To make turns, they use their front feet, dropping the left foot to turn left and dropping the right for right turns.
Flying squirrels can glide 150 feet or more but most of their glides are shorter. While gliding keeps them safe from ground predators, their flights are not entirely risk-free. Owls include flying squirrels on their menu and a squirrel on a longer flight is at greater risk of becoming a nighttime snack. Nonetheless, their special power is a key to flying squirrel survival.