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How does a northern flying squirrel ‘fly’?

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The Northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) has a special talent of gliding long distances. With bold leaps, these nocturnal, arboreal animals can parachute almost 46 meters (150 feet) between trees thanks to membranes that stretch between their wrists, ankles, and tail. See how they do it in this clip from Nature: A Squirrel’s Guide to Success, premiering November 14, 2018 on PBS. More from Wikipedia:

Flying squirrels do not actually fly, they glide using a patagium created by a fold of skin… It is believed that they use triangulation to estimate the distance of the landing as they often lean out and pivot from side to side before jumping… They maneuver with great efficiency in the air, making 90 degree turns around obstacles if needed. Just before reaching a tree, they raise their flattened tails, which abruptly changes their trajectory upwards, and point all of their limbs forward to create a parachute effect with the membrane to reduce the shock of landing. The limbs absorb the remainder of the impact, and the squirrels immediately run to the other side of the trunk or to the top of the tree to avoid any potential predators.

Next, watch more squirrel videos on this site, including a squirrel that takes a GoPro up into the tree branches.

Plus: ‘Flying’ spiders that can glide through the air from tree to tree.

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