The cutest furry animals: flying squirrels of Siberia

2013-02-20 23:38:44 GMT2013-02-21 07:38:44(Beijing Time)  SINA.com
A Siberian flying squirrel - otherwise called a Russian flying squirrel - balances between a tree and tiny branch in this picture captured by Masatsugu Ohashi on the Japanese island of Hokkaido (Photo/Agencies)A Siberian flying squirrel - otherwise called a Russian flying squirrel - balances between a tree and tiny branch in this picture captured by Masatsugu Ohashi on the Japanese island of Hokkaido (Photo/Agencies)
A Siberian flying squirrel - which are incredibly shy and nocturnal - pocks its head out of a nest hole (Photo/Agencies)A Siberian flying squirrel - which are incredibly shy and nocturnal - pocks its head out of a nest hole (Photo/Agencies)
Tiny: The average Siberian flying squirrel weighs around 150 grams and is up to 34cms long with their tail (Photo/Agencies)Tiny: The average Siberian flying squirrel weighs around 150 grams and is up to 34cms long with their tail (Photo/Agencies)
Despite being reclusive, these two Siberian flying squirrels appear happy to pose up to have their pictures taken (Photo/Agencies)Despite being reclusive, these two Siberian flying squirrels appear happy to pose up to have their pictures taken (Photo/Agencies)
A flying squirrel balances on a small branch while nibbling away at a flower (Photo/Agencies)A flying squirrel balances on a small branch while nibbling away at a flower (Photo/Agencies)
This flying squirrel appears to be testing the water before fully emerging from its nest (Photo/Agencies)This flying squirrel appears to be testing the water before fully emerging from its nest (Photo/Agencies)
Siberian Flying Squirrels escape their predators by flying from tree to tree using the thin flaps of skin between their limbs as wings (Photo/Agencies)Siberian Flying Squirrels escape their predators by flying from tree to tree using the thin flaps of skin between their limbs as wings (Photo/Agencies)

If a prize is being handed out for the world's cutest creature, the Siberian flying squirrel is certainly in with a chance of winning.

These large-eyed tree-dwellers could come from a Disney film with their large eyes and, seemingly, expressive features.

Two squirrels in particular appear to be giving their cutest poses for the camera with one particularly adorable image showing a squirrel peering out from a nest hole.

Photographer Masatsugu Ohashi captured these images of the tiny animals, also known as Russian flying squirrels, on the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

The reclusive creatures are shy, nocturnal animals and in winter may sleep continuously for several days. Seldom seen, they like to inhabit trees in which woodpeckers have left holes suitable for comfy nests.

Masatsugu explains: 'The squirrels make this tree a nest every year when it is winter. Five of them live communally in the cold season.

'It is early morning and in the evening they become active. They are almost always in the nest so chances of photographing them in the daytime are difficult.'

They get their name from their ability to escape predators by gliding from tree to tree by spreading out a thin flap of skin and stretching out all of their limbs.

The squirrels prefer tall pine, cedar or spruce trees where they can use abandoned woodpecker holes as nests rather than making one themselves.

(Agencies)

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