- Published: 28 December 2008
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Hal Elliott, age 8, of Jacksonville, Fla., for his question:
CAN A FLYING SQUIRREL REALLY FLY?
A flying squirrel has a fold of skin on each side of its body that connects the front and back legs. The animal can't actually fly, but it can certainly glide through the air.
When a flying squirrel stretches out its legs, the folds form wings. The animal can then glide from tree to tree, using its broad, flat tail to guide its flight.
The squirrel's path is at first downward, then straight, and finally upward. It can glide to distances of more than 150 feet. They always finish lower than where they started. A high starting point makes a long glide possible.
Flying squirrels are generally eight to 12 inches long although some Asian types can grow to be four feet long. You'll find them in North America, Asia and Europe.