What do Flying Squirrels and Pigs have in common?
When I tell someone they have flying squirrels in their attic, they often say, “Flying Squirrels? We have them here?”
Yes. We do. They are nocturnal and live high up in the canopy of trees where they roost in tree cavities and holes other animals have made.
And yes, they can fly. They glide with the help of a flap of skin between their shoulder and hip. Although they are common, most people never see them due to their night time high flying habits.
These soaring squirrels live alone, a solitary and aesthetic existence; except when it’s cold. In the winter months, they can form roosting colonies with a dozen or more hunkering down in one location. And they love attics, making beds in the warm insulation. They are quiet, not raucous like their grey squirrel cousins. Flying squirrels can get through much smaller holes than grey squirrels, tend not to rip a massive hole in your woodwork, and keep a low profile. As with many attic dwellers clients do not know, they are there until someone looks: the HVAC person, an inspector or the home owner putting things away in the attic.
Telltale signs of flying squirrel are: shredded and falling insulation, droppings (like larger black fat grains of rice often in a tidy pile) dark urine stain rings, holes burrowed in the insulation (the size or tennis balls or so).
So what do flying squirrels and pigs have in common?
Well, we trapped two fliers in an attic in a home in Chapel Hill. A friend, Anna O’Neal, operates a pot-bellied pig rescue called Jenna and Friends Animal Sanctuary (https://www.facebook.com/Jenna-and-Friends-Animal-Sanctuary-399652440226973/).
She has welcomed animals I trap and need to relocate. The two flying squirrels were released on her property where the pigs dwell.
So these pigs and these squirrels have their home in common.
After I released them, one darted off up a tree, not to be seen. The other was a bit dazed. It ran to the nearest tree and froze. Occasionally shifting from side to side to avoid us. It stayed at about 3’ off the ground. We walked away. She didn’t move. Several minutes later the three of us (Anna, Debbie Hall and me) were 15-20’ away talking. They were standing in front of a tree. From my vantage the tree was between them.
Suddenly immediately over their shoulders on the tree there was the Flying Squirrel!!!
She was the one we left back on the tree!
Debbie and Anna could have easily reached and touch her. She paused for a moment looking at us, then slowly made her way up the tree.
Wow. From there we saw her climb, climb, climb up high, and then drop and glide to another tree!
Next, we saw a SECOND flying squirrel do the same. The two seemed to be following each other, exploring cavities in the tree looking for a new place to hunker down in their new forest home... with the pigs!
Thank you Anna!