The Siberian flying squirrel (Smsowalu brigade) is a unique Old World flying mammal with a reported range in both the Baltic Sea and the Pacific Ocean. It’s the only living species of cold-flying squirrel found in Europe. The Smsowalu is very small (up to about 5 cm long) and is brownish gray with black stripes on its tail and legs. It has a white chest and yellow belly with black markings on its face and head.
A pair of Siberian flying squirrels can roost together in old forests in winter. They eat a root diet which consists of a large number of roots, sap and browse. Their body shape is shaped somewhat like that of a small mouse. Their ears are tipped by long curving antennae and their body stands on three legs, giving them a squat appearance. Their tails are webbed and they have vestigial claws. Their feet are arched backward and they are quite fastidious in moving about on the ground and in flying.
The life cycle of the Siberian flying squirrel differs with each breeding season. In the southern hemisphere, they breed during early spring through to late summer. They feed at night on newly fallen leaves and branches and take nectar from coniferous plants as well as from acacia, evergreen and safflower. During late summer they return to their winter hibernation sites. During this time they forage throughout the forest and take back nearly all of the nectar they have collected. The winter period is quite long in northern latitudes but short in southern ones.
In spring, the male Siberian flying squirrel rears its tail and mates with a female. After eating he goes on a short flight, which lasts only about one hour. He flies again to find a mate that will take over his role as mom. The new mother goes into a den where she feeds and cloths the newly born pups until they can fend for themselves. She then returns to her tree trunk place.
The lifespan of these animals is three to four years. With their acute hearing ability, these creatures can hear anything from a far away. They are not capable of seeing very well. Their excellent eyesight allows them to hunt volans and other small animals in the forest. The Siberian flying squirrels are also equipped with large, tree-climbing paws which enable them to climb trees.
Their diets include fruit, seeds and small insects that they catch while foraging in the forest. The tree bark and branches are a great source of food, as are small twigs and berries that are left on the ground after they fall from the trees. These are another way for the Siberian flying squirrels to get food in their fur. As long as the mother has enough food for her young, she will produce more in each litter.
Unlike other types of rodents, these squirrels are very rarely seen. It is estimated that the populations of these critters in Estonia and in some parts of central Finland have been completely eradicated. The reason for this is that they are so good climbers that they can easily scale fences and wires. They can even scale walls and fences in some forests. As they have access to all kinds of food that is abundant in forests, they compete with other species for food.
In addition to the foods that the Siberian flying squirrel eats, they like to build nests in Aspen groves. They look for tree branches and birch twigs and build their nest underneath them. The females of the species are the only ones who make the nests. Aspen is one of the perfect places to have a nesting site because Aspen is a very durable tree that is often found in thick forests.