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Flying squirrels are strictly nocturnal, that is, they sleep all day and play all night. Only after everyone else has gone to bed for the evening, so Sylvia and her fellow gliders awaken to begin their aerial nighttime frolics. The term flying squirrel is actually a misnomer because these mammals do not fly, they glide. Their unusual mode of locomotion is made possible by the loose membrane of skin attached to the squirrel's wrists and ankles. By stretching this skin taut, the animal transforms itself into a miniature sail plane, capable of swooping with the air currents for considerable distances from tree to tree. At eight weeks old however, Sylvia has just recently begun to experiment with her gliding abilities, making only short jumps to nearby branches. Some of her first attempts at longer glides resulted in unexpected crash landings, but this aspiring pilot has high hopes, and Sylvia is confident that she'll get the hang of it soon. Just before dusk, she enjoys sneaking down to the nearby beach. Here, Sylvia takes a front row seat to watch the veteran gliders, and dreams of the night when she, too, will fly through the air with the greatest of ease.
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