The San Bernardino Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus californicus), or Ardilla voladora de San Bernardino in Spanish, does not actually fly; it glides on parachute-like skin panels stretched from its wrists to ankles. It lives in high-elevation, mixed-conifer forests and thrives in those with large trees and closed canopy covers. Large snags provide suitable nesting cavities and understory cover provides protection from predators while also providing the squirrel with the truffles and fungi it enjoys feeding on.
The San Bernardino Flying Squirrel is a highly threatened flying squirrel species. Due to threats like climate change, urbanization, air pollution from the Los Angeles metropolitan area, and forest management practices, the San Bernardino Flying Squirrel’s habitat of mixed conifer and deciduous forests is slowly shifting to higher elevations where it risks running out of suitable habitat. Future surveys will ultimately determine whether this flying squirrel species has survived its many threats.
To learn more about the San Bernardino Flying Squirrel, please visit the Center for Biological Diversity.
PHOTO CREDIT: Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles © California Academy of Sciences