Over the years of writing my column, I have received many letters and emails from readers. On occasion, the correspondences can be a little squirrely; however, one of the latest I received was way squirrely… but in a really neat way.
It was an email from husband and wife Randy and Terri Allen of West Lafayette. They have the good fortune of living next to a huge old maple tree which has some unique occupants!
Randy wrote that they started noticing them in 2018 when Terri heard some scratching up in the tree that is about eight feet from the front porch. Then she watched a very small squirrel come down the tree to the couple’s bird and squirrel feeders, and she called for Randy to come out to take a look.
“At first, I thought it was a baby gray or fox squirrel,” he wrote, except he noted it didn’t look quite like a “regular” squirrel. It had what looked like extra skin between its front leg and back leg. A little research revealed the little irregular squirrel was a flying squirrel. The extra skin was what spreads out so it could glide between the tree limbs.
Flying squirrels only come out after dark and are much smaller than other squirrels. Randy reported the largest they have seen was only about 10 inches the tip of its nose to tip of its tail. “They don’t seem very shy, and a camera flash doesn’t seem to bother them,” he said.
The Allens named the adult ones Rocky and Rachael. Randy said they have big eyes, but from the photos he sent, apparently, they don’t wear aviator helmets or goggles like Rocky the Flying Squirrel of “Rocky and Bullwinkle” fame. They do seem to like sunflower seeds and peanut butter, he reported, and he had one even nibbling peanut butter off the tip of the knife he was using to fill a woodpecker feeder that the squirrels feed from. “We have seen as many as four or five squirrels at one time.”
You can tell the Allens are fellow wildlife lovers as Randy finished his story, “Our flying squirrels are our cheap nightly entertainment.”
’till next time, Jack
JACK SPAULDING is a syndicated state outdoors writer and a member of RushShelby Energy.
Readers can contact the author by writing to this publication, or by email to email@example.com. Spaulding’s books, “The Best Of Spaulding Outdoors” and “The Coon Hunter And The Kid,” are available from Amazon.com as paperbacks or Kindle downloads.