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Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus)
Northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) is a special concern species in Wisconsin and a Protected Wild Animal under NR 10.02 Wis. Admin. Stats. It inhabits a number of natural communities in the northern portion of Wisconsin, and the presence of conifers and a relatively moist environment are important habitat components. Although it does not require old-growth, it is generally associated with certain characteristics of older forests, such as standing live and dead trees, an abundance of decaying coarse woody debris, a diverse understory, and high truffle abundances. See the species guidance document for avoidance measures and management guidance from the Natural Heritage Conservation Program.
Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin
The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.
|Federal Status in Wisconsin||none|
|Tracked by NHI||Y|
This document contains identification and life history information for Northern Flying Squirrel. It also describes how to screen projects for potential impact to this species, lists avoidance measures, and provides general management guidance.
Links to additional Northern Flying Squirrel information
Other links related to mammals
Wildlife Action Plan
Information from Wisconsin's Wildlife Action Plan.
Native community (habitat) associations
The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with Northern Flying Squirrel. Only natural communities for which Northern Flying Squirrel is "significantly" (score=3) or "moderately" (score=2) associated are shown. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.
|Northern Dry-Mesic Forest||3|
|Northern Mesic Forest||3|
|Northern Wet Forest||3|
|Northern Wet-Mesic Forest||3|
|Forested Ridge and Swale||2|
|Great Lakes Barrens||2|
|Northern Dry Forest||2|
|Northern Hardwood Swamp||2|
Ecological landscape associations
The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for Northern Flying Squirrel. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.
Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*
Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.
* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.
- Additional information on life history and ecology of flying squirrels in the upper midwest, including micro- and macro-habitat preferences, is needed before specific forest management guidelines can be developed that aid conservation of this species.
- Increasing old-growth stand characteristics and conifer composition of northern forests would benefit this species.
- More research on local habitat relationships and interactions with other species (e.g., range overlap with the southern flying squirrel) is needed for successful management and conservation of this species.
- Nest boxes may be useful in augmenting populations until forest structure develops to provide large cavity trees, snags, and woody debris.
- Retention of small groups of large snags and live trees exhibiting evidence of disease or physical defects would ensure availability of denning structures after logging.
- There is a need to maintain forest characteristics which support lichens and fungi, especially subterranean forms, which are a primary food source of the northern flying squirrel (Whitaker and Hamilton1998, Weigl 1978).
Threats and issues
- Northern flying squirrels are threatened by a lack of old forest habitat.
- More information is needed to determine how other species (southern flying squirrels and weasels) may affect the population status of Northern flying squirrels in Wisconsin.