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Animal officials ask for help in protecting flying squirrels from cats

Animal officials ask for help in protecting flying squirrels from cats

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Flying squirrel

Blue Ridge Wildlife Center recently treated this flying squirrel that had been attacked by a cat, a common occurrence.

It’s the most common rodent you never see.

Southern flying squirrels are quite common across Virginia, but since they’re nocturnal and much smaller than Eastern Gray Squirrels, people rarely see them and often have no idea they even exist, according to the latest release from Blue Ridge Wildlife in Boyce.

Unfortunately, cats are quite skilled at finding these nocturnal tree squirrels. Approximately 60 percent of the center’s adult flying squirrel patients, including this one, come as confirmed cat attack victims.

This patient is very lucky. He had minimal wounds and is doing well on pain medications and antibiotics, according to the release.

In general, only about 30 percent of cat attacked patients survive to release. The center has already received more than 480 confirmed cat attack patients so far in 2021.

Though feral cats are estimated to cause two thirds of cat-related wildlife deaths, patients seen are almost always from owned cats when they bring animals to their owners.

Please help native wildlife by keeping cats indoors, or leashed/in an enclosed space when outside, the wildlife center requested.

“Cats cannot change their instincts, but as the species that domesticated them, it is our moral responsibility to do everything we can to keep cats safe and healthy, as well as protect the health of humans and wildlife from the dangers outdoor cats pose.

“Despite the name, flying squirrels do not actually fly. They have a fold of skin between their front and back legs that allows them to glide between trees. Their long, flat tail steers them in flight like a rudder. Some can cover more than 150 feet in a single glide!” Blue Ridge Wildlife Center is at 106 Island Farm Lane in Boyce, VA. 540/837-9000 and

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