Calcium deficiency can be devastating to Southern flying squirrels. This condition can occur
in the wild as well as in captivity. The squirrels are prone to having this problem for two reasons; they are nocturnal, and
they have a light bone structure to be able to glide. Because they sleep during daylight hours and forage at night, they are
not exposed to as much sunlight as are other animals. Ultraviolet rays from the sun are required for the body to manufacture
adequate levels of vitamin D3, which is necessary to trigger the absorption of calcium.
There are numerous symptoms of
calcium deficiency in flying squirrels; however, the primary symptom is paralyzation of the squirrel's hind legs along with
traumatic shaking. This condition is called "rickets." Left untreated, the condition will worsen and lead to death. Calcium
deficiency can be prevented providing the squirrel with foods high in D3. It takes three drops per ounce of water for most
of the good water soluble vitamins on the market that are high in D3. Providing vitamins and calcium in this manner is one
of the factors that contribute to the squirrel's long life span of 15 years in captivity.
Other than calcium deficiency, Southern flying squirrels have very few problems. They do not get
diseases of any type and have never been known to have rabies.