Southern flying squirrels: a citizen science project for Nebraska

Researcher(s): John Benson, Larkin Powell

Benson installing box

 

Benson and Carroll installing

The range of the southern flying squirrel extends northward to the southeast border of Nebraska, according to records from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. However, periodic reports have been made by residents of Lincoln, and a landscape crew documented a group of four flying squirrels in a hollow tree in December 2021 on UNL's East Campus. (Squirrel image courtesy of Todd Belanger, CCBYNC)

Southern flying squirrels are widespread in the eastern United States, but they are of interest in Nebraska because we are on the edge of their range. In fact, they are so rare here that they are classified in Nebraska as threatened species. New sightings suggests their range is getting larger.

Flying squirrels are small and active at night, so they are difficult to monitor. This is where we need your help!

Have you encountered a flying squirrel in Nebraska?

If so, you can report your observation by linking here to our easy-to-use citizen scientist reporting form. Your information can help biologists in the School of Natural Resources can access the information posted to monitor trends in our area for further study.

Remember that southern flying squirrels are a threatened species in Nebraska, and they should not be disturbed.

Would you like to put up a nest box for flying squirrels on your property?

We suggest the nest box design by Don Althoff, a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and professor at University of Rio Grande in Ohio. Don has produced hundreds of nest boxes for flying squirrels during his career and monitored them with students. Nest boxes should be placed at least 10 feet about the ground with the entrance facing east, southeast, or south. You can let us know that you have placed a box by using our citizen scientist form.

Installing a nesting box may help wildlife biologists determine the range of the species. However, if flying squirrels begin to use a box, do not disturb the squirrels.

  • Students constructing squirrel houses
  • Students constructing squirrel houses
  • Larkin Powell and John Benson help in constructing squirrel houses
  • Students constructing squirrel houses
  •  constructing squirrel houses
  • Students constructing squirrel houses
box on tree

You can find more information about southern flying squirrels at the following sites:

Life history information, habitat, diet, and more from Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Information from Iowa Department of Natural Resources, including another design for a nesting box

Information on flying squirrels from the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management

Information for kids from BioKIDS

Support Citizen Science

Would you like to get involved? Consider sending a donation to the University of Nebraska Foundation's Natural Resource Development Fund. Add a note to your gift to tag it for 'flying squirrel project' and we will use it for materials for students to construct boxes.

Donate Now

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