Nearly 300 years ago, a British explorer visited colonial America. He was a naturalist named Mark Catesby, and as he traveled he kept a journal and sketched unfamiliar plants and animals he found along the way. One night, he watched several small objects fall from a tree. It was probably hard to see them in the dark woods. At first, Catesby thought they were just falling leaves, but that didn't make sense because they appeared to follow one another in one direction.
It didn't take Catesby long to solve the puzzle. What he had seen were tiny squirrels, "leaping from one Tree to another." Catesby watched with fascination as the creatures soared through the night like furry trapeze artists. He called them flying squirrels.