Northern Flying Squirrel


Actual Size: 10–14”, including tail

Characteristics: These squirrels have a very soft, brownish-gray fur coat with a white underside. They have large black eyes, a flattened tail, and a furry membrane called a patagium that enables them to glide through the air.


  • Feed on nuts, acorns, fruits, and more.
  • Can use their tail to help guide their gliding through the air.
  • This is one of three flying squirrel species found in North America and is smaller than the southern flying squirrel.

Northern Flying Squirrels in Eastern Tennessee

The northern flying squirrel is slightly smaller than the southern flying squirrel but is otherwise very similar in behavior. Their gliding is graceful, but these squirrels can be clumsy walkers. They change nests very often and are very social creatures that tend to congregate together. Just like other flying squirrels, the northern flying squirrel is nocturnal. They feed on a lot of plant material and make nests in trees.

Northern Flying Squirrel Habitat

Northern flying squirrels are mostly found in coniferous forests across North America. They tend to nest in holes in trees and dead trees. However, they also will build nests from leaves and are even known to nest underground unlike the southern flying squirrel. They tend to share nests in the wintertime but otherwise move frequently from one nest to another.

Northern Flying Squirrel Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

As mentioned earlier, the northern flying squirrel glides from atop trees using the patagium on their bodies. They can maneuver with excellent efficiency and use a parachute-like effect when landing. The main danger with flying squirrels is when they make their way onto your property. They have a very small population, and it is important to never attempt to remove flying squirrels on your own.

Northern Flying Squirrel Prevention

To prevent a northern flying squirrel infestation, seal all possible entry points around the house, including small openings and cracks around doors and windows. Screen vents and openings to chimneys and keep food in airtight containers. Keep tight fitting lids on trash bins and cut tree limbs back 6 to 8 feet from the roofline. Thoroughly inspect wires, insulation, and walls for gnaw marks which signal a possible infestation.