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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Flying Squirrel and Owlets

Flying Squirrel are one of the rarest mammals to see as they are mostly nocturnal. We had been seeing one near the resort for last few months but could not photograph it ever. I always wanted to do so but it was difficult as I rarely use flash for wildlife photography since it disturbs the subject.

A few days back we got a chance to not only see a very rare instance but also photograph a Flying Squirrel. I am giving herewith details of the incidence as well as photograph of Flying squirrel here under.

Date: 6th April 2012

Place: Kanha Village Eco Resort, Village Boda Chhapri, Kanha National Park.

Species: Indian Flying Squirrel and Spotted Owlets


It was early morning at around 9.00 AM and we were enjoying a cup of tea. Suddenly we heard noice and turned. It was a old Mahua Tree around 60 meters from the resort which was falling down since its owner had put fire on its base night. This is how mostly trees are killed in villages either by burning the base or girdling them.

Flying Squirrel at Kanha Village Eco Resort, Kanha Tiger Reserve 

What attracted us was something flying out from the top of the tree which we could not recognise at once or may be were not very sure of since it looked like a flying squirrel. On checking with binoculars its identity was confirmed. It was sitting on another tree nearby, shaken, looking at the old tree which was also its house once, falllen down to human greed. After few minutes it jumped from that tree and glided towards the Jamun tree at the resort, just a few meters from where we were looking at it. We were watching intently and I called for my Camera kit, I never wanted to miss the chance to click my first Flying Squirrel.

FS waited on one branch for few minutes and at this point happened what we never expected. Suddenly it ran towards a hole on the Jamun tree which is occupied by our resident Spotted owlets. We have seen the Owlet family increase from 1 to 5 in last few years. All, hell broke out and started a fight between the owlets to defend their home and FS to take it over. Screeching and trying to bite the intruder, flying around and hooting, Owlets were so very agitated. And, in meantime FS settled a bit but had to save itself from continous assault. After few minutes it had to come out of the hole and again sat on a branch looking at the Owlets. It is here that we got some time to click a few photographs of the FS. It was a cloudy day so I could not get good shots but was happy to see something rare atleast.

Indian Flying Squirrel at Kanha Village Eco Resort, Kanha National Park

In the evening FS left the hole and was followed / chased by the Spotted Owlets for almost  100 meters. We have been trying to find it again for last few days but do not know where it has made its new residence since owlets are in peace, back with their home to themselves. We had expected FS to come back by next morning and waited to have a glance but it was nowhere to be seen.

Hope to see it soon.

Navneet Maheshwari,
Kanha Village Eco Resort