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SFWC Helps an Orphaned Flying Squirrel Glide to Recovery

Separated from her mother after a storm, a flying squirrel is able to glide to recovery with a little help from SFWC

  • This orphaned Southern Flying Squirrel was rescued by a good Samaritan and brought to our wildlife nursery. Jessica Sayre Sonzogni/SFWC

  • The baby flying squirrel being hand fed by one of our wonderful staff members. Jessica Sayre Sonzogni/SFWC

  • The baby flying squirrel being hand fed by one of our wonderful staff members. Jessica Sayre Sonzogni/SFWC

  • The baby flying squirrel being hand fed by one of our wonderful staff members. Jessica Sayre Sonzogni/SFWC

  • The baby flying squirrel exploring her enclosure. Jessica Sayre Sonzogni/SFWC

  • The baby flying squirrel being transported to her release site in her favorite bird house. Jessica Sayre Sonzogni/SFWC

Found by a kind rescuer all the way on Florida’s west coast, this baby Southern Flying Squirrel, dehydrated and weak after an ordeal with a storm, was brought to the SFWC.. She was about one month in age, old enough to have grown in fur on her body and “wing flaps,” which she will eventually use to glide from tree to tree with others of her own kind.

The Southern Flying Squirrel is most active at night and is far less commonly seen than the Eastern Gray Squirrel. And the care of the two animals is much different.

They tend to shy away from people a lot more - Jessica Sayre Sonzogni, SFWC nursery supervisor

During initial triage in the hospital, this small squirrel was given fluids and a thorough health exam, and then transferred to our busy baby wildlife nursery. An incubator kept her warm, and she was expertly hand-fed a special formula to meet her nutritional needs.

She quickly responded to our care, and her liquid diet was soon augmented with solid foods similar to those she would typically eat in the wild—nuts, seeds, berries, insects and greens. We also made sure her nursery enclosure included numerous housing options that mimicked the natural cavities she would prefer to inhabit in the wild—like holes in tree trunks. She quickly chose a woven-style bird house with a small opening, which we took with her into an outdoor enclosure when she was ready to leave the nursery.

She continued to improve while in our care, doubling in size, but even when full-grown, this species is only about one-quarter the size of the squirrels typically seen at SFWC. After almost four months in our care, and after seeing her gliding about her enclosure after dusk, we knew she was ready for release back to the wild . We teamed up with an individual on Florida’s west coast who is experienced with the rehabilitation and release of this species, ensuring this little flying squirrel has plenty of tall trees for gliding and the company of plenty of others who can do the same!

Without the expert care of our wildlife nursery, this baby squirrel may not have been given a second chance. Please consider making a small donation to the South Florida Wildlife Center to ensure we can continue to help injured wildlife across South Florida 365 days a year.

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