The Flying Squirrel of Nuuksio National Park

The flying squirrel (Pteromys volans) of the Nuuksio National Park is a fascinating species inhabiting the dense forests of this Finnish nature reserve. Discover more about this small and agile mammal!

Description of the Flying Squirrel

The flying squirrel (Pteromys volans) of Nuuksio National Park

The flying squirrel, smaller than the common red squirrel, weighs between 130 and 160 grams and has a body length of 15 to 20 cm, with a tail of 9 to 14 cm. Its gray fur and large eyes enable excellent night vision. It mainly moves by gliding from trees thanks to a skin flap connecting its limbs.

Habitat and Other Species

These squirrels live around 5 years, using the same forest and tree cavities for sleeping and nesting. A squirrel’s territory can range from 0.02 to 1 square kilometer, with males having a larger area. In the Nuuksio forests, other rare species like the gray-headed woodpecker, baneberry, and the land snail Macrogastra plicatula can also be found.

Signs of Their Presence

Flying squirrels are most active during twilight, but their presence is detected by droppings beneath trees, the size of rice grains, which vary in color according to the season.


They are herbivores, and their diet includes tree leaves in summer and alder and birch catkins in autumn. In winter, they store catkins for consumption.

Nests and Offspring

Flying squirrels usually have several nests at the same time, used for storing food, sleeping, and nesting. The offspring are born between April and June, and the female can have up to 4 offspring in one season. Males do not participate in caring for the young.

How the Flying Squirrel Moves Through Its Environment

Landscapes vary in elements like preferred habitats, matrices between them, and corridors that connect them, affecting animal movement and population dynamics. Squirrels use forest strips and other habitats to move between patches, with differences between sexes: males travel further and cross edges more frequently, while females use the matrix mainly to search for food. Conservation should focus on habitat quality, not just ecological corridors.

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