Squirrel Appreciation Day was first celebrated in 2001 and since then is observed annually on January 21. The creator of this national day is Christy Hargrove, a wildlife rehabilitator in North Carolina.
This national day is started as a way to encourage people to see squirrels as cute animals and leave seeds and nuts out there for them. During squirrel appreciation day, people try to understand and appreciate squirrels more than they do every other day of the year.
Why do we Appreciate Squirrels?
Did you know that besides that they are super cute and fluffy, they are totally forgetful and because of that, they are a major part of forestation. They hide their nuts for the winter and forget where they put them! And trees grow.
Squirrels live almost everywhere on Earth. Native to Africa, North and South America, Europe and Asia. They also have been introduced to Australia.
In North America, most common are the western and eastern grey squirrels, in Europe the red squirrel.
The numbers of the red squirrel in the UK is decreasing because of the introduction of the grey squirrel there.
Squirrels can differ in size, from a few inches to a few feet long. The tiniest species of squirrels is the African Pygmy Squirrel (dormice), which on average is about 3 inches. The largest known squirrel is the Indian Giant Squirrel, which can be 3 feet long.
How to Celebrate Squirrel Appreciation Day
Squirrel Appreciation Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate these little critters and all they contribute to our ecosystem. Here are some ideas on how you can join in the festivities:
- Make sure to leave seeds and nuts in your backyard for them to find.
- Organize a family movie night and watch a documentary on squirrels.
- Visit the local natural history museum and learn more about these cute little rodents.
- Don’t forget to be a part of the social media celebration by following #SquirrelAppreciationDay.
- Organize a squirrel scavenger hunt in your neighborhood or local park. Have participants look for signs of squirrel activity like birdseed shells, paw prints, and nests.
- Gather friends or family for an outdoor picnic lunch and offer a special squirrel-friendly snack such as nuts, fresh fruits, vegetables, and birdseed.
- Adopt a local squirrel from your local animal shelter to give them a loving home.
- Designate some trees in your yard as a squirrel sanctuary and fill it with bird feeders, houses, and other fun items.
- Organize an art or photography show featuring your favorite images of squirrels in their natural habitat.
- Visit a nature center or wildlife refuge to learn more about how you can help protect these creatures and their habitats.
Fun Facts About Squirrels
- There are more than 200 species of squirrels around the world.
- Their diet consists of nuts (chestnuts and acorns, pecans and walnuts), fruit (apples and berries), seeds, flowers, buds and tree sap.
- Before burying their nuts, they lick them to live their scent and to be able to find them easily.
- The color of their coat can be brown, red, black, grey and very rare white.
- Flying squirrels can’t fly. They glide.
- Baby squirrels are born blind, toothless and with no fur.
- The brain of a squirrel is about the size of a walnut.
- Average life span of a squirrel is around 12 years, but most of them are killed before that by cars, predators etc.
- Their hind legs are double-jointed, which gives them the unique ability to run up and down trees very quickly.
- Mating season is February to May.
- Gestation period: 44 days.
- Litter size: 2 to 4 young.
- Their eyes are positioned in a way that gives them the ability to see behind them.
- The word “squirrel” comes from two words; squirelle earilie , which is an old English word that means “shadow tail.”
- Squirrels are known for living mostly in trees but also come down to the ground sometimes.
- They’re found on every continent except Antarctica.
- Many consider them rodents; others consider them mammals or even birds.
- Squirrels can jump up to 6 meters in one leap (about 19 feet).
- Squirrels don’t hibernate but they may stay inside their nests during winter months when it’s cold out.
- The squirrel family (Sciuridae) is the largest of mammals’ families in terms of number of species. There are squirrels that live in trees, on the ground, or underground!
- Squirrels have great eyesight and their large ears help them pick up sounds. This helps squirrels find food even when they can’t see it.
- The squirrel family is divided into 3 subfamilies: Sciuriddae (most squirrel species), Callosciurinae (which includes Tassel-eared squirrels), and Xerinae (which includes African Pygmy squirrel).
- Squirrels are rodents, but they don’t produce the same kind of droppings as most other rodents – squirrel droppings look more like little spheres or grapes.
We hope you had fun with this article! See you next year – same time, same place! Happy National Squirrel Appreciation Day!
Project dedicated to support and help to improve Veterinary Medicine. Sharing information and raising discussions in the veterinary community.