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LAURENCE PRINGLE'S BLOG

The next "secret life" book!

FLYING SQUIRRELS--delightful, fascinating tree squirrels that are active at night (and so have big eyes and good night vision). And a more accurate name would be GLIDING SQUIRRELS. Bats are the only mammals that have wings and fly. Flaps of skin between wrists and ankles on these squirrels can be spread out and enable them to glide for a hundred feet or more, and a flight path can include turns. I feel lucky to have these creatures near me. (They once spent a couple of months in the attic of our house, but that is a long story. The photo shown here is one that was loose in our house. It was caught and released outside.)
 
As usual I learned a lot from research, including the name for those gliding flaps, covered with fur on both sides of the squirrels. One is called a patagium, the pair are called patagia. Sometime in 2021 artist Kate Garchinsky will start working on the art (for a book that won't be published until 2023). The illustrations will be challenge because a lot of the images will be at night, or in a poorly lit den inside a tree. She deals well with this challenge--look at the illustrations in such other "secret life" creatures as the little brown bat, and the skunk.
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