Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is welcoming some very special visitors for the winter season.

Many people don’t know that these amazing animals even live in Pennsylvania, but there are two species of flying squirrel native to our state: Southern Flying Squirrels (like our new guests) and Northern Flying Squirrels, which are endangered in Pennsylvania.

While our Wildlife Rehabilitation Center doesn’t usually take in healthy animals, this colony of flying squirrels was displaced from their winter shelter, and need our help. Flying squirrels do not hibernate, but they slow down significantly in the winter and stay in groups for warmth, feeding off of stores they gather in the summer and fall. This group of healthy adults would not survive without safe dens and vital food stores, which is why our friends at Tamarack Wildlife Center have transferred them into our care.

The 31 flying squirrels will spend the winter in outdoor enclosures specifically designed to allow them to exhibit their natural behaviors with minimal contact with people, and to enjoy a nutritious diet provided by certified wildlife rehabilitators.

The flying squirrels’ diet (which is predominantly made up of nuts) and care will cost our Wildlife Center $40 per animal per week, or $760 every week until Spring for the entire scurry—by the way, did you know a group of squirrels is called a scurry? If you’d like to contribute to keeping of these incredible animals, please click the link below to help us provide the food, shelter, and resources they need.

We will bring you updates on these special guests until their release later this year, when they will be brought back to same territory they were retrieved from so that they can find new shelters in their familiar habitat.

Click for squirrel box instructions here.

When squirrels (flying or otherwise) leave our Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, our certified rehabbers use what is called a “soft release”: rather than simply being set free at the release site, they are allowed to remain safely inside a squirrel box, and venture out whenever they feel ready.

Our squirrel boxes protect squirrels during their stay at the Wildlife Center and remain in their natural habitats to provide familiar, safe shelter for squirrels even after they’ve returned to the wild. Since the boxes stay with the animals through their entire journey, we use lots of squirrel boxes every year!

If you’re handy or just want to try your hand at a simple project, learn to make squirrel boxes with volunteer Ken Miller by watching the video above!