【Series】 Spirits of the Kamuy landscape (25) Flying squirrels – the season of gazing and bashful love

A male flying squirrel passionately gazes at a female (right)

 A forest in the town of Shibecha in eastern Hokkaido, where the snow continues to melt. In the evening, as light remains in the sky, the nocturnal flying squirrels are already becoming active.

 March is the mating season for the flying squirrel. Flying squirrels – which until just a few days earlier emerged from their nests after sunset – are active in the daytime, too. Several males run up and down the tree trunks and fly to adjacent trees in pursuit of a female, moving at a speed hardly visible to the naked eye.

Once preparations for mating are complete, the flying squirrels sometimes just gaze at each other. The bashful gesturing of the female and the actions of the onlooking male is almost humanlike and somewhat amusing. When the mating season is over, the flying squirrels leave the nests they share to stave off the cold, and behave independently.

 When spring arrives, the traces of food that remain on the snow disappear, making it difficult to search for flying squirrels. Observation of the animal will have to wait until next winter.


Shibecha Town