Here’s How You Can Help With Flying Squirrel Research in New England
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions, or personal experiences.
Yup, it's a real thing. It's the New England Flying Squirrel Network and it needs just a few minutes of your time a month.
The study of our wildlife is crucial, and one animal that hasn't had very much research is the flying squirrel, according to the network. Honestly, I've heard of them, but didn't really think they existed. I rather thought them to be an elusive animal that people swear exists but is actually just a fast squirrel that appears to fly.
I'm kind of correct. These animals don't actually fly, but rather glide thanks to a flap of skin between their wrists and ankles. The New England Flying Squirrel Network adds that they appear to fly, but are just smoothly gliding from tree to tree. Now, whether or not they're impacted by forest fragmentation and urbanization is the question. That's where volunteers like you and I are needed to help better understand how these little guys are fairing.
Whether you've ever seen one or not isn't important. They're pretty rare to witness because they're small, nocturnal creatures hidden in the trees, but there's a good chance you do have them in your backyard.
According to the New England Flying Squirrel Network, there are two species of flying squirrels in New England. One is the northern flying squirrel that basically fits into the palm or an adult hand, and then there's the southern flying squirrel, which is about half the size of the northern.
The New England Flying Squirrel Network is based out of the University of New Hampshire, and the animals are slowly being added to the endangered species list. So, it's important to know how our activities are affecting them. They're already endangered in Pennsylvania because of a type of fungi that's invading New England.
Here's how you can help. It's really just getting a nest box, putting it on a tree in your yard, grabbing photos monthly, making notes, then getting the info to the network.