Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Iowa
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Jacques, C.N., J.S. Zweep, S.E. Jenkins, and R.W. Klaver. 2107. Survival and Home Range Use of Southern Flying Squirrels in West-Central Illinois. Journal of Mammalogy 98:1479-1488


We studied home range use, spatial activity patterns, and annual survival of southern flying squirrels (SFS; Glaucomys volans) across fragmented landscapes of west-central Illinois. We calculated seasonal home range sizes and annual survival from 67 animals (36 males, 31 females) captured during 2014–2016. Home range and core area sizes were similar (P ≥ 0.46) among males and females across summer (April–September) and winter (October–March) seasons. Average distance between consecutive animal locations did not vary by sex, season, or year. Similarly, cumulative distance between consecutive locations did not vary by sex, season, or year and ranged from 1,189 to 1,661 m between summer and winter seasons. Mean annual composite home range and core area sizes were 10.39 and 1.25 ha, respectively; estimated home ranges (10.3 ha) of females are the largest documented for this species. We documented 8 deaths, all attributed to predation, the majority (63%) of which occurred during winter; annual survival was 71%. Our results underscore effects of habitat productivity on seasonal home range dynamics and space use patterns of SFS in fragmented landscapes. SFS may compensate for reduced availability of overstory mast-producing trees that characterize unproductive habitats and low-density populations by exhibiting similar movement patterns and use of available habitat by both sexes throughout the year. Winter communal nesting appears to be influenced by availability of cavity trees, thereby confirming the importance of standing snags in contributing essential habitat to flying squirrel populations in fragmented forests.