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Vector transmission of Rickettsia prowazekii among wild flying squirrels, Glaucomys volans, was suggested by the occurrence of natural infection of squirrel lice and fleas. Lice, mostly Neohaematopinus sciuropteri Osburn, were found infected in the fall in each of 2 consecutive years; 4 of the 8 pools of this insect tested were infected. Fleas, Orchopeas howardii (Baker), were found infected on two occasions in 1 of the 2 consecutive years. However, only 2 of 14 flea pools were infected. No evidence of infection was found in mites, Haemogamasus reidi Ewing and Androlaelaps fahrenholzi (Berlese). These findings implicate the flying squirrel louse and flea as possible vectors in nature. Serologic tests of flying squirrel sera revealed a maximum incidence of seroconversions in the fall and early winter months, coincident with the maximum increase in abundance of the suspected arthropod vectors. The infection was found to persist from year to year in the same enzootic foci. Infection appeared to spread most rapidly in young, non-immune animals born in the preceding spring and summer after congregating in dense aggregations in the fall. No other animals in the same habitat were found to have been infected. Aspects of the ecology of the ectoparasites associated with the flying squirrels are described, especially seasonal activity and abundance in nests.
The flying squirrel is a sociable, noisy rodent that doesn't really fly; it glides from trees, using a flap of loose skin that connects its front and hind legs It can glide up to 150 feet, it steers with its tail. When It lands on a tree, it gripps it with all four feet.
This squirrel is nocturnal. It has a life span of about 5 years in the wild, and about 13 years in captivity.
Flying squirrels have brown-gray fur, large eyes, and clawed feet which to some resemble hands. Flying squirrels are small and aggressive. Baby flying squirrels are born in nests and are blind and hairless at birth.
Flying squirrels eat mostly plants, like seeds, nuts, leaves, maple sap, bulbs, bark, flowers, and roots. Less often, they eat insects, eggs, worms, eggs, small birds, and other small animals.
Flying Squirrels are hunted by weasels, foxes, hawks, and coyotes.