Glaucomys sabrinus - (Shaw, 1801)
Northern Flying Squirrel
Other English Common Names: northern flying squirrel
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Glaucomys sabrinus (Shaw, 1801) (TSN 180169)
French Common Names: grand polatouche
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.1010091
Element Code: AMAFB09030
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Rodents
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Rodentia Sciuridae Glaucomys
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Arbogast, B.S., K.I. Schumacher, N.J. Kerhoulas, A.L. Bidlack, J.A. Cook, and G.J. Kenagy. 2017. Genetic data reveal a cryptic species of New World flying squirrel: Glaucomys oregonensis. Journal of Mammalogy 98(4):1027?1041.
Concept Reference Code: A17ARB01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Glaucomys sabrinus
Taxonomic Comments: Using a combination of mtDNA sequence and microsatellite data, Arbogast et al. (2017) determined that Glaucomys sabrinus, as currently recognized, is actually composed of 2 separate, apparently non-hybridizing species. Glaucomys oregonensis (Bachman, 1839), is the senior available name for this taxon.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 04Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 06Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Large range in North America; common in many areas; certain populations in Washington, Oregon, and California may comprise a distinct species.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Sep1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (31Dec2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alaska (S4), Idaho (S4), Maine (S5), Massachusetts (S2?), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (SNR), Montana (S4), Nevada (S3), New Hampshire (S5), New Jersey (SU), New York (S5), North Carolina (S2), North Dakota (SNR), Ohio (SNR), Pennsylvania (SU), South Dakota (S2), Tennessee (SNR), Utah (S3?), Vermont (S4), Virginia (S1), Washington (S4S5), West Virginia (S2), Wisconsin (S3), Wyoming (S4)
Canada Alberta (S5), British Columbia (S5), Labrador (S5), Manitoba (S5), New Brunswick (S5), Northwest Territories (S5), Nova Scotia (S5), Ontario (S5), Prince Edward Island (S4S5), Quebec (S4), Saskatchewan (S4S5), Yukon Territory (S4S5)

Other Statuses

Implied Status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): PS
Comments on USESA: Subspecies coloratus of the Appalachian Mountains is listed by USFWS as Endangered. Removal of endangered status for subspecies fuscus has been reinstated per a court order (USFWS 2013). In a 12-month finding on a petition to list subspecies californicus as endangered or threatened, USFWS (2016) found that listing was not warranted.
IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Occurs from Alaska through most of Canada, southward to the mountains of southern California, southern Rocky Mountains, western South Dakota, Great Lakes Region, and southern Appalachians.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Occurs from Alaska through most of Canada, southward to the mountains of southern California, southern Rocky Mountains, western South Dakota, Great Lakes Region, and southern Appalachians.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, ID, MA, ME, MI, MN, MT, NC, ND, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, PA, SD, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NS, NT, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AK Prince of Wales-Outer Ketchikan (CA) (02201)
MI Wexford (26165)
NC Ashe (37009), Avery (37011), Buncombe (37021), Caldwell (37027), Graham (37075), Haywood (37087), Mitchell (37121), Swain (37173), Watauga (37189)*, Yancey (37199)
PA Carbon (42025), Luzerne (42079), McKean (42083), Monroe (42089), Pike (42103), Potter (42105), Warren (42123), Wayne (42127)
SD Custer (46033), Lawrence (46081), Pennington (46103)
TN Blount (47009)*, Carter (47019), Monroe (47123), Sevier (47155)
UT Beaver (49001), Cache (49005)*, Carbon (49007), Daggett (49009)*, Davis (49011)*, Duchesne (49013), Emery (49015)*, Garfield (49017), Grand (49019)*, Iron (49021), Juab (49023)*, Kane (49025)*, Millard (49027)*, Morgan (49029)*, Piute (49031)*, Rich (49033)*, Salt Lake (49035)*, Sanpete (49039)*, Sevier (49041)*, Summit (49043)*, Uintah (49047)*, Utah (49049)*, Wasatch (49051)*, Washington (49053)*, Wayne (49055)*, Weber (49057)*
VA Grayson (51077), Highland (51091)*, Smyth (51173), Washington (51191)
WI Ashland (55003), Bayfield (55007), Burnett (55013), Clark (55019), Door (55029), Douglas (55031), Florence (55037), Forest (55041)*, Iron (55051), Langlade (55067), Lincoln (55069)*, Marathon (55073), Marinette (55075), Oconto (55083), Oneida (55085), Portage (55097), Price (55099)*, Rusk (55107)*, Sawyer (55113), Taylor (55119)*, Vilas (55125)
WV Grant (54023), Greenbrier (54025), Pendleton (54071), Pocahontas (54075), Randolph (54083), Tucker (54093), Webster (54101)
WY Crook (56011), Fremont (56013), Hot Springs (56017), Lincoln (56023), Park (56029), Sublette (56035), Teton (56039), Weston (56045)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Upper Delaware (02040101)+, Lackawaxen (02040103)+, Lehigh (02040106)+, Middle West Branch Susquehanna (02050203)+, South Branch Potomac (02070001)+, North Branch Potomac (02070002)+
03 Upper Catawba (03050101)+
04 Beartrap-Nemadji (04010301)+, Bad-Montreal (04010302)+, Door-Kewaunee (04030102)+, Duck-Pensaukee (04030103)+*, Oconto (04030104)+, Brule (04030106)+*, Menominee (04030108)+, Wolf (04030202)+, Muskegon (04060102)+
05 Upper Allegheny (05010001)+, Middle Allegheny-Tionesta (05010003)+, Tygart Valley (05020001)+, Cheat (05020004)+, Upper New (05050001)+, Greenbrier (05050003)+, Gauley (05050005)+, Elk (05050007)+
06 South Fork Holston (06010102)+, Watauga (06010103)+, Upper French Broad (06010105)+, Pigeon (06010106)+, Lower French Broad (06010107)+, Nolichucky (06010108)+, Watts Bar Lake (06010201)+*, Tuckasegee (06010203)+, Lower Little Tennessee (06010204)+
07 Upper St. Croix (07030001)+, Namekagon (07030002)+, Black (07040007)+, Upper Chippewa (07050001)+, Flambeau (07050002)+, South Fork Flambeau (07050003)+*, Jump (07050004)+*, Eau Claire (07050006)+, Upper Wisconsin (07070001)+, Lake Dubay (07070002)+, Castle Rock (07070003)+
10 Clarks Fork Yellowstone (10070006)+, Upper Wind (10080001)+, Popo Agie (10080003)+, Upper Bighorn (10080007)+, Beaver (10120107)+, Middle Cheyenne-Spring (10120109)+, Rapid (10120110)+, Middle Cheyenne-Elk (10120111)+*, Upper Belle Fourche (10120201)+, Lower Belle Fourche (10120202)+, Redwater (10120203)+, Sweetwater (10180006)+*
14 Westwater Canyon (14030001)+*, Upper Green (14040101)+, Big Sandy (14040104)+, Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir (14040106)+*, Blacks Fork (14040107)+, Lower White (14050007)+*, Ashley-Brush (14060002)+*, Duchesne (14060003)+, Strawberry (14060004)+*, Lower Green-Desolation Canyon (14060005)+, Price (14060007)+*, San Rafael (14060009)+*, Fremont (14070003)+*, Escalante (14070005)+, Paria (14070007)+*
15 Upper Virgin (15010008)+*
16 Upper Bear (16010101)+*, Central Bear (16010102)+, Middle Bear (16010202)+*, Little Bear-Logan (16010203)+*, Upper Weber (16020101)+*, Lower Weber (16020102)+*, Utah Lake (16020201)+*, Spanish Fork (16020202)+*, Provo (16020203)+*, Jordan (16020204)+*, Upper Sevier (16030001)+, East Fork Sevier (16030002)+*, Middle Sevier (16030003)+*, San Pitch (16030004)+*, Lower Sevier (16030005)+*, Escalante Desert (16030006)+, Beaver Bottoms-Upper Beaver (16030007)+
17 Snake headwaters (17040101)+, Gros Ventre (17040102)+, Greys-Hobock (17040103)+, Salt (17040105)+, Teton (17040204)+
19 Prince of Wales (19010103)+, Icy Strait-Chatham Strait (19010500)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Breeding season: February-May; July. Gestation lasts 37-42 days. One or two litters of 2-6 young (average 4-5) are born March-early July, and late August to early September (apparently one litter in spring or summer in the southern Appalachians). Weaned at about 2 months. Sexually mature at 6-12 months.
Ecology Comments: Highly social, especially in winter when nests may be shared. Apparently lives in family groups of adults and juveniles.

In western Oregon, population density was 0-0.24/ha (mean 0.12) in second growth forest and 0.52-1.28/ha (mean 0.85) in old-growth forest (Witt 1992). Density averaged 2.0-2.3/ha in Douglas-fir habitats in western Oregon (Rosenberg and Anthony 1992). In Utah, density was 0.2-1.8/ha in POPULUS-dominated forest, 1.2-5.8/ha in ABIES-dominated forest, and 0.2-2.1/ha in PICEA-dominated forest (see Witt 1992). Sciurid mycophagy may play an important role in forest ecology (Maser and Maser 1988).

Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Weigl (1978) recorded G. sabrinus home ranges of up to 35 ha. Summer home range estimated at 2-3 ha in North Carolina, 5-7 ha in West Virginia (Austin et al., no date). Home range has been estimated at about 3-7 ha and 5-13 ha in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, respectively (see Witt 1992). In western Oregon, home range was estimated at about 3-5 ha (Witt 1992).
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Standing snag/hollow tree
Habitat Comments: Prefers coniferous and mixed forest, but will utilize deciduous woods and riparian woods. Optimal conditions have been reported as cool, moist, mature forest with abundant standing and down snags. Often most abundant near surface water; that is, swamps or streams (Heaney, in Wilson and Ruff 1999). In the Oregon Cascades, Rosenberg and Anthony (1992) concluded that flying squirrels are habitat generalists and are not more abundant in old growth than in younger, second-growth stands. Occupies tree cavities, leaf nests, underground burrows; uses large number in alternate den sites in Alaska (Austin et al., no date). See Payne et al. (1989) for habitat characteristics of endangered Appalachian populations. Prefers cavities in mature trees as den sites. In winter in British Columbia, squirrels appeared to select nest trees more for suitable nest sites than for tree size: diameter at breast height was 16.7-79.0 cm, age was 42-174 years, and height was 11.2-32.7 m (Cotton and Parker 2000). Small outside twig nests sometimes are used for den sites. Sometimes uses bluebird boxes.
Adult Food Habits: Frugivore, Granivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Frugivore, Granivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Diet consists largely of fungi and lichens plus plant and animal material (insects, nuts, buds, seeds, fruit). Apparently can subsist on lichens and fungi for extended periods, and may depend on having these food items available (A91HAN02NA). Spends considerable time foraging on the ground.
Adult Phenology: Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Active at night. Peak activity in the southern Appalachians occurs from sunset to 2 hours after and 1 hour before sunrise (Wells-Gosling and Heaney 1984). Active throughout the year.
Length: 37 centimeters
Weight: 125 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Management Requirements: Placement of nest boxes may be useful in augmenting populations.
Monitoring Requirements: Placement of nest boxes may be useful in monitoring populations. See Rosenberg and Anthony (1993, Can. J. Zool. 71:660-663) for information on trapping mortality (highest in juveniles).
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Flying Squirrels

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals in appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Flying squirrels are highly mobile and surely capable of significant dispersal, though actual dispersal patterns are poorly known. Likely most dispersal is not more than a few kilometers.

Unsuitable habitat includes areas lacking or largely devoid of trees. Presumably movement across treeless gaps is minimal, hence the default minimum separation distance for unsuitable habitat.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .3 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Based on a home range of 7 hectares.
Date: 12Mar2004
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 22Mar2005
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

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Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of March 2019.
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Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2019. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

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