Northern Flying Squirrel Listed as State Endangered Species

Earth Times

Commissioners today gave final approval to add to the state’s endangered species list the northern flying squirrel, which is the larger and rarest of Pennsylvania’s two flying squirrel species.

“Our field survey work has shown that the northern flying squirrel’s population has been in decline for some time and is in need of our assistance,” said Greg Turner, Game Commission biologist.  “They have very specific habitat preferences and their existence in Pennsylvania is threatened by a parasite carried by southern flying squirrels and by forest pests that destroy their preferred habitat.  Adding this species to the state’s endangered species list will allow us to ratchet up the management attention we provide these squirrels.  Also, their eligibility for federal funding will improve.”

Northerns were once found across Pennsylvania’s northern tier. The major reason for their decline is the loss and fragmentation of older-growth coniferous forest in Pennsylvania. Now their small local populations are threatened by additional limiting factors

The northern flying squirrel is common in the boreal forests of states along the Canadian border and Canada.  In Pennsylvania, however, its distribution is limited to less than a half-dozen known sites in old-growth forests with a large percentage of conifers. All are in northeastern Pennsylvania, with the exception of one in Warren County and one in Potter County. It’s possible there are more local populations, but they haven’t been uncovered yet. Identification isn’t easy either, because they are very similar to southern flying squirrels.

Northern flying squirrels have been identified as a species of greatest conservation in Pennsylvania’s Wildlife Action Plan, which was adopted by the agency and approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2006. Their plight is considered a “high-level concern.” The Game Commission several years ago also approved a project through the State Wildlife Grant Program that focused on developing an annual statewide nest box survey and identifying the habitat preferences of northerns through telemetry. It was carried out by Wilkes University and Penn State University.

The parasite carried by southern flying squirrels and lethal to northerns is called Strongyloides robustus. The parasite poses no threat to southerns, but it seems to suppress the northerns’ ability to put on winter fat, and to even maintain its existing weight. Since northerns and southerns will share living quarters where their ranges overlap, there is substantial concern for the already rare northerns.

Further complicating the northerns’ existence is the wooly adelgid, a European insect that strips and frequently kills hemlock trees, which northerns prefer as habitat. The forest pest has devastated and continues to ravage huge chunks of hemlock forestland throughout eastern Pennsylvania.



Filed under wildlife

54 responses to “Northern Flying Squirrel Listed as State Endangered Species

  1. Bravo to the state of Pennsylvania for caring about this important variety of squirrel – little seen because of its nocturnal activity but nonetheless important as a contributor to the forest ecology. Now if only we could stop that deforestation.

  2. Adam Schenk

    Hats off to fellow researchers studying the Northerns. As a research student at Penn State, studying S. robustus under the supervision of Dr. Carolyn Mahan, it’s awesome to see the state of Pa understanding the need for putting N. Flying Squirrels on the endangered species list…

    • I moved here, in northern Pa. last AUG.,”20 miles north of the Blue Mountain”. Last winter I started putting bird food out. One night I was out after dark and discovered some sort of small animal hopping up my spruce tree. In no time it was about three feet away from my feet. I had a flashlight shinning on it trying to figure out what it was,what Big eyes, but when it saw my shoes it left in a hurry. I don’t think it came back to the tree for a while in the hours I want out after dark. But anyway, the next day I got on the computer and discovered it was a flying squirrel. A few months later it started showing its-self, so I would talk to it. In this point of time it got to know me well. The other night, Nov 26th, 2011″ puffy”, his name, brought two friends with him. I now talk to all of them. They seem to like to hear me talk. My Question to you is, how can I determine if” puffy” and his friends are the Southern Or the Northern squirrel?

  3. flying squirrel girl

    i’m doing a poject on flying squirrels. i didn’t know anything about them.. but now hearing that their an endangered speceis and about deforestation i gotten really attached! I strongly feel we should do something. We should take action! I can’t just sit down and watch it all happen! Any segjestions would be much apreciated. keep me posted!

    Hope you guys will write back soon.

    • Anonymous

      sur 13 ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$13131313131313131313131313131313131313131313131313131313131313131313131313 213

    • nathan

      I think your idea of saving the flying squirrel is good because helping animals is good for the environment. animals can produce more healthy plants like eating the dead plants to make new ones. Then after the flying squirrel is saved it can not be endangered any more then they can be more common to the world. If the flying squirrel is common to the world sciencetist can do more research on them. I think that the researchers dont have the full research on the flying squirrel. If you like this/ email me at if you think my comment is good.

      • Anonymous

        i think its gay.what is going to happen if a “flying squirrel” becomes extinct..absolutly nothing

    • i feel the same way, i havent ever seen them in reserves or anything! maybe you could hlp me with my project? even tho its due soon :/ but i was wondering mybe you would wanna give me some tips and info!

  4. Anonymous

    this is fucking shit infomation

  5. vee vee

    your fuckin shit asshole!

  6. vlee v

    yes you are a fuckin asshole you asshole

  7. Anonymous

    flying squrriels are living animlas one day when you wake upt hey well be right there on your bed stand AND KILLL YOU!!!!!DUH DUH DUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!FUCK YOU GUYS

  8. BOB

    god you guys are fuckin annoying F U C K


    F U C K Y O U

  10. Anonymous

    calm down pplz

  11. Nice work !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Anonymous

    Do You ppl kiss your mothers with those mouths?

  13. squirrel savoir

    i see this was posted last year and look up northern flying squirrel on wiki and they say its on the least concern of being endangered. is the squirrel saved?

  14. Anonymous

    you guys curse a lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  16. Frdey

    Fua5z532zv mklv.;;xc;fd.;.df[,lgogkmhgtktipo

  17. Someone

    flying Squirrles are adorable !!!!!<3

  18. BKM

    I want to identify a indian flying is realy in threat.I need someone help to identify it.

  19. nobody

    no cussing

  20. Anonymous

    ojkljklh ihjhuihk hkhuih h

  21. the smart one

    to the one who says this is fuckin shit information learn how to spell before u talk shit online!

  22. Anonymous

    suck my nuts.

  23. annonymous

    suck my nuts.

  24. Anonymous

    squirell fucker.
    fuck otters.
    squirells be the SHIT.
    fuck my titties.

  25. i just love all the nice comments ppl leave on this -_- dont you want to save the world if theres animals in the wourl will last longer and not start to die yu stupid aholes

  26. Elizabeth

    Um, You people need to Grow Up. Seriously, this is ridiculous! You Idiot people curse on something Someone spent a long time working on. Grow Up, You Immature Freaks.

  27. Alexis

    I am doing research on Flying Squirrels and I was wondering where the author got the information about stronglyoides affecting the ability for northerns to store winter fat. I was just wondering if this was in a scientific article so I could include it in a research paper.

  28. Alexis

    To tell northern and southern flying squirrels apart, look at their stomachs. Southerns have an all white belly while northerns have a grayish belly. Most likely the flying squirrel is a southern

  29. Anonymous

    i love northern flying squirrels……………………..please save them!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it,
    you will be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will often come back someday.
    I want to encourage one to continue your great posts, have a nice morning!

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