Southern flying squirrel
Glaucomys volans
ITIS Species Code:   180170         NatureServ Element Code:   AMAFB09010
NatureServe Global Rank: 
NatureServe State (NC) Rank: 
Federal Status: 
NC State Status: 
Land Unit

US Fish & Wildlife Service
US Forest Service
US National Park Service
US Department of Defense
NC State Parks
NC University System
NC Wildlife Res. Com.
NC Forest Service
NC Div. of Coastal Mgmt.
Local Governments
Non-Governmental Org.
Other Public Lands
Private Lands

GAP Status 1-2
All Protected Lands




% of Dist. on
Prot. Lands

5.3 %
57.5 %
3.9 %
15.6 %
5.0 %
0.9 %
7.2 %
0.8 %
0.6 %
1.7 %
1.7 %
0.2 %
< 0.1 %

38.8 %
% of Dist. on
All Lands

0.7 %
7.3 %
0.5 %
2.0 %
0.6 %
0.1 %
0.9 %
< 0.1 %
< 0.1 %
0.2 %
0.2 %
< 0.1 %
87.3 %

4.9 %
Found throughout the state except the barrier islands, G. volans requires sizable tracks of forest to thrive (Webster et al. 1985, Whitaker and Hamilton 1998).

This squirrel inhabits primarily mature deciduous and mixed forests with numerous available tree cavities (Whitaker and Hamilton 1998). Highest abundances are found in mast-producing forests (oak or hickory as constituents), but seeds from many other trees, including conifers, are suitable forage (Brown 1997, Whitaker and Hamilton 1998). Beech and maple forests in the mountains and bottomland hardwoods and pine forests in the piedmont and coastal plain can also have sizable populations (Whitaker and Hamilton 1998). Where tree cavities are scarce, these squirrels have been known to take to man-made bird nesting boxes, abandoned buildings and house attics in wooded areas (Lee et al. 1982).


Prefers deciduous and mixed forests, particularly beech- maple, oak-hickory and poplar. Also occurs in old orchards. In New Hampshire, preferentially used areas with large shagbark hickories and beeches; males tended to use areas with large oaks, females tended to use areas with abundant snags (Fridell and Litvaitis 1991). Favors small, abandoned woodpecker holes for den sites; also uses nest boxes and abandoned bird and squirrel nests outside tree cavities.

Occupied Landcover Map Units:
Code NameDescription NC Natural Heritage Program Equivalent
17 Maritime Forests and Hammocks Maritime forests and woodlands dominated by live or sand laurel oak. Estuarine Fringe forests dominated by loblolly pine. Coastal Fringe Evergreen Forest, Maritime Deciduous Forest, Maritime Deciduous Forest
50 Coastal Plain Mixed Bottomland Forests Includes forests dominated by a variety of hardwood species, including sweetgum, cottonwood, red maple. Coastal Plain Bottomland Hardwood (in part), Coastal Plain Levee Forest
49 Coastal Plain Oak Bottomland Forest Bottomland forests dominated by deciduous oak alliances. Oaks represented can include swamp chestnut, cherrybark, willow, and/or overcup oak. Inclusions of loblolly pine temporarily flooded forests occur in patches. Hydrology is temporarily to seasonally flooded. Coastal Plain Bottomland Hardwoods (in part) blackwater subtype, brownwater subtype
158 Coastal Plain Nonriverine Wet Flat Forests Loblolly pine - Atlantic white-cedar - red maple - swamp tupelo saturated forests as well as forests dominated by loblolly, sweetgum, and red maple in non-riverine flats. Non-riverine Wet Hardwood Forest
385 Oak Bottomland Forest and Swamp Forest The swamp chestnut oak, cherrybark oak, shumard oak and sweetgum alliance is one representative. Other alliances are dominated by water, willow, and overcup oaks. Swamp forests can be dominated by sweetgum, red maple, and black gum being dominant. Loblolly can occur in combination with sweetgum and red maple, or with tulip poplar. Includes saturated and semi- to permanently flooded forests in the mountains. Piedmont/Mountain Bottomland Forest, Piedmont/Mountain Swamp Forest
63 Coastal Plain Mesic Hardwood Forests Beech dominated forests with white oak and northern red oak as possible co-dominants. Dry-mesic to mesic forests on slopes and small stream bottoms in the coastal plain. Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest, Basic Mesic Forests
138 Coastal Plain Dry to Dry-Mesic Oak Forests Oak dominated forests of the coastal plain. Includes white oak forests with water oak or northern red oak and hickories as co-dominants. Dry Mesic Oak Hickory Forest, Basic Oak Hickory Forest, Dry Oak Hickory Forest
232 Xeric Pine-Hardwood Woodlands and Forests Mixed forest dominated by yellow pines with drier oaks including southern red, post, and chestnut oaks. Dry Oak Hickory Forest
230 Piedmont Mesic Forest American Beech - Red Oak - White Oak Forests. Mesic Mixed Hardwood
384 Piedmont/Mountain Mixed Bottomland Hardwood Forests Includes temporarily to seasonally forests dominated by hardwood species. Hardwoods include sweetgum, red maple, sycamore which co-occur in a mosaic of bottomland and levee positions. Includes alluvial hardwood forests in the mountains. Hemlock and white pine may occur as inclusions, but are generally mapped separately. Piedmont/Mountain Alluvial Forest, Piedmont/Mountain Levee Forest
383 Piedmont Mixed Successional Forest Generally loblolly mixed with successional hardwoods. Sweetgum, tulip poplar and red maple are common co-dominants in these successional forests. No equivalent
228 Piedmont Dry-Mesic Oak and Hardwood Forests Primarily oak dominated forests, white oak is often dominant, with co-dominants including . Also represented by sweetgum and tulip poplar dominated forests. Dry Mesic Oak Hickory Forest, Basic Oak Hickory Forest, Dry Oak Hickory Forest
222 Piedmont Dry-Mesic Pine Forests Loblolly dominated forests resulting from succession following clearing. This type occurs on all moisture regimes following disturbance with the exception of the extremely xeric sites. No equivalent
382 Dry Mesic Oak Pine Forests Mixed forests of the coastal plain and piedmont. Includes loblolly pine with white, southern red and/or post oak and loblolly with water oak. On basic sites of the piedmont, eastern red cedar may co-occur with post, black, and blackjack oaks. Dry Mesic Oak Hickory Forest, Xeric Hard Pan Forest, Chestnut Oak Forest, Dry Mesic Oak Hickory Forest, Dry Oak Hickory Forest
226 Piedmont Xeric Woodlands Generally post and blackjack oak dominated woodlands. White ash and pignut hickory can be found in combination with Eastern red cedar on glades. Xeric Hardpan Forest
51 Deciduous Cultivated Plantation Planted deciduous trees. Includes sweetgum and sycamore plantations. No equivalent
202 Residential Urban Includes vegetation interspersed in residential areas. Includes lawns, mixed species woodlots, and horticultural shrubs. Vegetation accounts for between 20 - 70% of the cover. No equivalent
517 Hemlock Floodplain Forest Alluvial forest with hemlock and/or white pine in mountains and western piedmont. Hydrology is generally temporarily to seasonally flooded. Canada Hemlock Forest
522 Northern Hardwoods High Elevation forests including yellow birch, American beech, and yellow buckeye. Includes forests with Hemlock and Yellow Birch. Northern Hardwoods Forest, Boulderfield Forest
525 Appalachian Oak Forest A variety of oak forest types including Black, White, Scarlet Oaks in dry to mesic situations. Includes forests historically co-dominated by American Chestnut. High Elevation Red Oak Forest, Montane White Oak Forest
526 Appalachian Cove Forest Mixed Mesophytic forests of the mountains. Includes tuliptree, basswood, yellow buckeye and surgar maple. This class is mapped to include cove forests dominated or co-dominated by hemlock. Rich Cove Forest, Acidic Cove Forest
527 Appalachian Hemlock Upland hemlock forests of the moutains region. Vary from side slopes to steep slope positions. Canada Hemlock Forest
529 Appalachian Xeric Mixed Forest Mixed forests with Virginia, Shortleaf, Eastern White Pine, Table Mountain and Pitch pines in combination with xeric oak species. Oaks include, white, Southern Red, black, and rock chestnut. Pine Oak Heath
530 Appalachian Xeric Deciduous Forest Deciduous forests in the mountains dominated by Xeric Oak species. Species include, white, Southern red, black, and rock chestnut. High Elevation Red Oak Forest, Montane White Oak Forest
533 Appalachian Swamp Forest Evergreen and deciduous forests with saturated hydrologies. This class may contain a variety of trees species, including hemlock - red maple, pitch pine, and white pine forests. Swamp Forest-Bog Complex, Southern Appalachian Bog, Southern Appalachian Fen
View Entire Landcover Legend
Additional Spatial Constraints:
Exclude all area outside of known range.
Exclude the outerbanks.
Madden, J.R. 1974. Female territoriality in a Suffolk County Long Island population of Glaucomys volans. J. Mamm.55(3):647-652.

Stone, K. D., G. A. Heidt, P. T. Caster, and M. L. Kennedy. 1997. Using geographic information systems to determine home range of the southern flying squirrel (GLAUCOMYS VOLANS). American Midland Naturalist 137:106-111.

Howell, A. H. 1918. Revision of the American flying squirrels. North American Fauna 44:1-64.

Jones, J. K., Jr., et al. 1992. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 1991. Occas. Pap. Mus., Texas Tech Univ. (146):1-23.

Dolan, Pub., and D.C. Carter. 1977. Glaucomys volans. Am. Soc. Mamm., Mammalian Species No. 78, pp. 1-6.

Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal Species of the World:a Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Second Edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp.

Sollberger, D.E. 1943. Notes on the breeding habits of the eastern flying squirrel. (Glaucomys volans volans). J. Mamm. 24(2):163-173.

Brown, L. N. 1997. A guide to the mammals of the southeastern United States. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville. xiv + 236 pp.

Whitaker, J.O. Jr. and W.J. Hamilton, Jr. 1998. Mammals of the eastern United States. Cornell Univ. Press, Ithaca, New York. 583 pp.

Lee, D. S., L. B. Funderburg Jr., and M. K. Clark. 1982. A distributional survey of North Carolina mammals. Occasional Papers of the North Carolina Biological Survey, No. 1982-10. North Carolina State. Mus. Nat. Hist., Raleigh, North Carolina. 72 pp.

Harlow, R. F., and A. T. Doyle. 1990. Food habits of southern flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans) collected from red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) colonies in South Carolina. American Midland Naturalist 124:187-191.

Muul, I. 1968. Behavior and physiological influences on the distribution of the flying squirrel, Glaucomys volans. Univ.MI Mus. Zool., Misc. Publ. No. 134. 66 pp.

Banfield, A.W.F. 1974. The mammals of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto.

Godin, A.J. 1977. Wild Mammals of New England. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 304 pp.

Hamilton, William J., Jr., and John O. Whitaker, Jr. 1979. Mammals of the eastern United States. Cornell Univ. Press, Ithaca, New York. 346 pp.

Gilmore, R. M., and J. E. Gates. 1985. Habitat use by the southern flying squirrel at a hemlock-northern hardwood ecotone. J. Wildl. Manage. 49:703-710.

Hall, E. R. 1981. The Mammals of North America. Second edition. 2 Volumes. John Wiley and Sons, New York, New York.

Schwartz, Charles W., and Elizabeth R. Schwartz. 1981. The wild mammals of Missouri. University of Missouri Press, Columbia. 356 pp.

Sawyer, S. L., and R. K. Rose. 1985. Homing and ecology ofthe southern flying squirrel Glaucomys volans in southeastern Virginia. Am. Midl. Nat. 113:238-244.

Baker, Rollin H. 1983. Michigan mammals. Michigan State University Press. 642 pp.

Webster, W. D., J. F. Parnell and W. C. Biggs Jr. 1985. Mammals of the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC.

Wells-Gosling, N. 1985. Flying squirrels:gliders in the dark. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 128 pp.

Bendell, P. R., and J. E. Gates. 1987. Home range and microhabitat partitioning of the southern flying squirrel (GLAUCOMYS VOLANS). J. Mamm. 68:243-255.

Fridell, R. A., and J. A. Litvaitis. 1991. Influence of resource distribution and abundance on home-range characteristics of southern flying squirrels. Can. J. Zool. 69:2589-2593.

Braun, J. K. 1988. Systematics and biogeography of the southern flying squirrel, GLAUCOMYS VOLANS. J. Mamm. 69:422-426.

Stapp, P., and W. M. Mautz. 1991. Breeding habits and postnatal growth of the southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) in New Hampshire. Am. Midl. Nat. 126:203-208.

10 March 2005
This data was compiled and/or developed by the North Carolina GAP Analysis Project.

For more information please contact them at:
NC-GAP Analysis Project
Dept. of Zoology, NCSU
Campus Box 7617
Raleigh, NC 27695-7617
(919) 513-2853