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Flying Squirrels and Cats in Florida

Flying Squirrel in bottlebrush tree

                                                           Photo courtesy of Dennis Steinhart                                                                    

Dennis Steinhart was making coffee one morning at his home in Central Florida when he heard a scratching noise outside the front door. When he opened the door his black cat ‘Grace’ was outside but refused to come in. Fifteen minutes later Dennis heard the scratching noise again, he opened the door and the cat was still sitting frozen in place

As he stepped outside on his way to work Dennis saw the cat’s gaze was fixed on a young flying squirrel clinging to the window screen just out of reach. Dennis helped the flying squirrel escape unharmed into a nearby Bottlebrush tree and took its photograph.

Flying squirrels often visit birdfeeders, where they eat suet, peanuts and sunflower seeds. They use woodpecker holes and natural cavities as dens, and several of them often share dens in winter. You can encourage these beautiful little squirrels by putting up nest boxes around your yard. Click on this link for instructions as to how to build a flying squirrel nest box.

Flying squirrels have breakaway tails just like lizards – if attacked, they sometimes manage to get away by leaving a few inches of the end of their tail with the predator. Along with owls, domestic cats are one of the flying squirrels most serious predators.


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Wildlife of Florida 2011
Wildlife of Florida 2011
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