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Glaucomys sabrinus (Shaw, 1801)
Northern Flying Squirrel
Family: Sciuridae


© Dawn Kellie     (Photo ID #14146)


Distribution of Glaucomys sabrinus in British Columbia.
Source: Map courtesy of David Nagorsen


The Northern Flying Squirrel is a seldom seen nocturnal, arboreal species of squirrel. It is one of two species of flying squirrels found in North America, the other is the Southern Flying Squirrel.

This is a medium-sized, distinctive squirrel species in British Columbia, with its broad, flat tail and large eyes, large round sparsely-hairy ears, and the fold of skin that allows it to glide that extends from the wrist to the ankle on both sides (Nagorsen 2005). It is grey-brown to brown in colour with pale undersides and has a distinct black lateral line on each side (Nagorsen 2005).

Nagorsen (2005) indicates that 25 subspecies of the Northern Flying Squirrel are recognized, with seven found in BC:

1) Glaucomys sabrinus alpinus (northern and central BC)
2) Glaucomys sabrinus columbiensis (southern dry interior valleys of BC)
3) Glaucomys sabrinus fuliginosus (southern Coast Mountains)
4) Glaucomys sabrinus latipes (southern Rockies north to Glacier National Park
5) Glaucomys sabrinus oregonensis (to Loughborough Inlet, coastal BC, and a few southern coastal islands)
6) {i{Glaucomys sabrinus reductus (found only in BC, known from the central coast and Coast Mountains
7) Glaucomys sabrinus zaphaeus (northwest coast).

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeS5YellowNot Listed

BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Species References

Nagorsen, David W. 2005. Rodents and Lagomorphs of British Columbia. Royal BC Museum Handbook. Royal BC Museum, Victoria.