Celebrate Squirrel Appreciation Day on Jan. 21
Time to tip your hat to one of North America's most ubiquitous mammals.
No matter how you feel about squirrels, they are remarkable creatures. These small mammals are some of the most successfully adapted animals to both fragmented habitat and urban living.
While many may see them as vexing pests that consume vast quantities of bird food and scavenge ridiculous things for nesting materials, take Squirrel Appreciation Day on Jan. 21 to look at them in a new light—as a reminder of the wildlife around us. I personally love the little guys and helped raise four orphaned babies over several weeks one summer.
In case you were wondering: Squirrel Appreciation Day was created by wildlife rehabilitator Christy Hargrove of Asheville, North Carolina.
How Can You Celebrate National Squirrel Appreciation Day?
- If you have small children, play a game of squirrel seek with them.
- Share your squirrel sightings with NWF's Wildlife Watch.
- Learn the facts about squirrels:
- There are more than 300 species of squirrel.
- Different types of squirrels range in size from five inches (the African pygmy squirrel) to three feet (Indian giant squirrel).
- The word "squirrel" comes from the Greek word skiouros, which means shadow-tailed.
- Squirrels have brought down the NASDAQ stock market twice, once in 1987 and once in 1994.
- When hiding its food, a squirrel goes through an elaborate process of masking the location by pretending to bury the item a few times before settling on a final spot.
- Thanks to all the supplemental food available in cities and suburbs, squirrels are able to reach densities that aren't possible in the wild.
- Scientists are studying the rapid evolutionary response of Yukon red squirrels to global warming, uncovering some of the first documented genetic changes in a mammal.
- While red squirrels are known for vigorously defending their territories, some females turn over all or part of their holdings, including a critical food cache, to their offspring as a way of bolstering the pups’ chances of survival during the difficult first year of life.
And, from National Wildlife magazine, here's practical advice for managing squirrels in your backyard.
Whether you loathe them or adore them, take Thursday to appreciate them.