FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A homeowner near the Allen County line has spotted several flying squirrels in her front yard off of Paulding Road.
“I noticed it wasn’t bats because they were climbing up and down the tree,” said Shawn Smith-Kolb.
Flying squirrels are not usually spotted in residential communities, according to Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Phil Bloom, communication director for DNR, said they’re more common in forest like areas and found living in trees. They are commonly seen across the state. Smith-Kolb said she never seen a flying squirrel until early last week.
“This is the first time I’ve ever seen them and I’m 45 years old,” she said. “Same with everyone I talked to.”
Though they’re called flying squirrels, they glide from tree to tree, said Bloom. They use a membrane called patagium, which is found in gliding mammals to help them glide or flight. Their tails helps with navigating or stopping them in flight. Smith-Kolb said she hope to see them more often. Since her first sighting, she has seen at least one or two a night.
Flying squirrels can grow up to 10 inches long and live up to 10 years. Bloom said he doesn’t recommend feeding them. He said wild animals relying on humans as a food source could diminish their natural survival instincts.