The diet of Siberian flying squirrel consists of leaves, seeds, cones, buds, sprouts, nuts, berries and occasionally bird eggs and nestlings. When alder and birch catkins are plentiful, the squirrel may store them for the winter in old woodpecker holes or similar nooks.
Siberian flying squirrel is the emblem of the Nuuksio National Park in Espoo municipality of Finland due to the density of the population in this region.
The Siberian flying squirrel (Scientific name: Pteromys volans) is an Old World flying squirrel with a range from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Pacific coast in the east. It is the only species of flying squirrel found in Europe. It is considered vulnerable within the European Union where it is found only in Finland, Estonia and Latvia. The squirrels are preyed upon by martens, owls, and cats.
A female Siberian flying squirrel weighs about 150 grams, the males being slightly smaller on average. The body is 13–20 cm long, with a 9–14 cm long flattened tail.
A distinctive feature of flying squirrels is the furry glide membrane or patagium, a flap of skin that stretches between the front and rear legs.
The eyes are large and strikingly black. The coat is gray all over, the abdomen being slightly lighter than the back, with a black stripe between the neck and the forelimb.
By spreading this membrane the flying squirrel may glide from tree to tree across distances of over a hundred metres, and have been known to record a glide ratio of 3.31, but is normally 1-1.5.
After a gestation period of five weeks, the female gives birth to a litter of usually two or three young, each weighing about 5 grams.
They preferentially build their nest in holes made by woodpeckers, but they may also nest in birdhouses if the size of the entrance is appropriate.
They can live up to about five years.
They mate early in the spring. In southern Finland the first mating season begins in late March, with a second mating season occurring in April.
They favor old forests with a mix of conifers and deciduous trees. They are mostly nocturnal, being most active late in the evening, although females with young may also feed during the day.
As shy and nocturnal animals, they are seldom seen. The most common sign of their presence is their droppings, which resemble orange-yellow rice grains and are often found beneath or on top of their nest.
As dusk falls, they emerge from their dens and quickly climb up their tree trunk to reach the upper branches. They may feed there, or set off by gliding from tree to tree using the extensive patagial membrane that can be seen along their flanks. Stretched taut between outstretched limbs this membrane, combined with the flattened tail, gives them a large gliding surface, enabling them to travel considerable distances.
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