SHUSWAP - A Shuswap family had the pleasure of an unexpected guest Monday evening.
Selina Metcalfe is used to wildlife encounters at their old farmhouse in the community of Canoe — such as owls and racoons in the yard, and snakes and salamanders in the basement. But the furry creature that peaked through the living room door on Jan. 22 was a first.
“We get mice sometimes, but this was much larger, and my first thought was 'rat' and I panicked,” Metcalfe says with a laugh.
Upon closer inspection, she realized it was a flying squirrel, which they’ve seen a handful of times gliding from tree to tree in the back yard. They're not exactly rare in the area, but not too common. This one seemed perfectly at home in her living room.
“It was just so calm and inquisitive,” Metcalfe says.
She and her son thought they might be able to gently capture it by throwing a sheet over it and releasing it outside, but it was much too quick for them, and too cunning.
“We put some cashews out for it, and it turned its nose up at those,” Metcalfe says.
Northern flying squirrels measures about 30 cm in length and are, contrary to their name, not actually capable of true flight, according to the Canadian Wildlife Federation. A loose fold of skin, however, enables them to glide for distances of 20 metres or more. They’re found across Canada.
Metcalfe says the furry creature took them on a grand tour of the house before they were able to herd it outside.
“It leaped out onto the snow toward the cherry tree and was gone,” Metcalfe says.
A professional photographer and owner of Ihana Images, Metcalfe couldn’t help but take a moment to grab her camera and make an incredible image.
“I usually take human portraits,” Metcalfe says. “They take direction better.”
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