If you have seen a flying squirrel, the U.S. Forest Service would like to hear from you. The San Bernardino flying squirrel is a subspecies of the northern flying squirrel and it is only known to be found from the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains although it hasn’t been seen in the San Jacinto mountains for about 20 years.
Flying squirrels are closer in size to chipmunks rather than the larger native gray squirrels. They are nocturnal and have large flaps of skin that connect their front and hind feet. These flaps of skin allow them to glide from tree to tree. They do not fly in the same way that birds do as no flapping is involved. Their flat tail is used as a rudder to steer as they glide.
U.s. Forest Service biologists have been studying flying squirrels on the Mountaintop District of the San Bernardino National Forest since the early 1990s. Research is needed to have a better understanding of the current distribution, their habitat requirements and the status of the population. Much of what is known about the distribution is based on reports from residents who see flying squirrels at their bird feeders at night or those who have found dead flying squirrels.
If you have been any in the local mountains, please report the sighting information to Robin Eliason at (909) 382-2832. If photographs are available that would be even more helpful.