Blogs > 2018 > June > June 22, 2018

The Elusive Northern Flying Squirrel

The Rescue

Northern Flying Squirrel

Although not rare, the northern flying squirrel is seldom seen. Even more unlikely is the opportunity to find an orphaned baby flying squirrel. This season Shasta Wildlife was graced with the presence of one. This is his story.

The Rescue

In early May, Shasta Wildlife received a call about an orphaned squirrel—not unusual that time of year around here. The rescuer, Eric, explained that his dog had found the baby while he was up in Westwood working his log truck. Eric and his wife Jennifer cared for the little guy for about a week, affectionately naming him Chuck.

I cannot speak for Chuck, but I can imagine the trauma he must have experiencd being found by a big scary (very cute Jack Russel) dog. Despite the fright of a dog, the big scary humans may have been even more frightening to the little guy even though Eric and Jennifer showed Chuck compassion and food until they could bring him to us at our Center in the Anderson River Park.

The Rehab

Chuck was outsheltered to my home about an hour north of the Center in Lakehead, CA. When I took him in, he weighed 37 grams. He had good weight for his age (about 8 weeks old) and was a bright-eyed, beautiful, and such a super soft little guy. During that time, I had other Western Gray Squirrels, California Ground Squirrels, a Virginia Opossum and 3 baby Raccoons. Chuck saw some of these orphans come and go during his stay with me while he grew up.

Jennifer called once in a while to ask how Chuck was doing. She and Eric must have wondered what was taking so long for Chuck to go through the rehab process. As I had not raised a flying squirrel before, I consulted with fellow rehabbers who had. I learned the dos and don’ts during rehab and in about a month’s time, Chuck was hunting live food. He was gaining weight daily and seemed to take to rehab life with only one caregiver. After I was certain Chuck was eating well on his own, I began weaning him of his formula. By the time he was ready for release, he weighed close to 100 grams. The average weight of a healthy adult is between 75 and 140 grams.

The Release

Releasing this little guy was going to be a bit tricky. Eric and Jennifer wanted to release him back where he came from themselves. After consulting with the experts once again, Eric, Jennifer, and I formulated a plan. Eric and Jennifer would take Chuck up in a “furnished” cage that Shasta Wildlife provided along with plenty of food to sustain him while he got his bearings.

Jennifer texted me after the release and said all went well as far as she and Eric could tell. I am certain they felt that similar conflicted feeling upon release. We don’t get to know how they fare after we walk away. But we do get to know that they are back in the wild where they belong, for better or for worse . . .

Good luck little Chuck!

by Kim Baxter

2018 - Shasta Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, Inc. (SWRR)
PO Box 1173 Anderson, CA 96007-1173
530 365-WILD (365-9453)

- Header photo by Jeff Carson -