Squirrels are one of the most common animals that people see on a regular basis. These little creatures with a fluffy tail are practically everywhere–in cities, parks, college campuses and forests. They might live in trees or dig a hole in the ground to serve as a home. Some people might even say that squirrels are nuts for nuts, and can last through the harshest of winters without much trouble at all.
Squirrels have the ability to adapt to their environments quickly, they have a decent memory for some of the best locations for food, and they are super soft and fluffy. National Squirrel Appreciation Day encourages people to learn whatever they can about these creatures and admire them for their resilience in the wild.
History of National Squirrel Appreciation Day
With more than 250 species of squirrels that exist across five continents (excluding Australia and Antarctica), these little creatures are fairly prolific in most of the world. And that’s a great reason to appreciate them!
Squirrels are part of the Sciuridae family, which makes them cousins to a variety of rodents such as chipmunks, groundhogs, prairie dogs and other rodents. The earliest fossils of squirrels date back to the Eocene epoch which was perhaps more than 30 million years ago.
National Squirrel Appreciation Day was founded by wildlife rehabilitator Christy Hargrove, who is affiliated with the North Carolina Nature Center. According to Hargrove, people should consider helping to celebrate these creatures by putting out extra food and learning about the species.
Many rock funky hairstyles, survive rattlesnake bites and are extremely adorable, so appreciate the squirrels today by giving them some nuts to eat!
How to Celebrate National Squirrel Appreciation Day
National Squirrel Appreciation Day is a fun excuse to have a celebration on a random day in January. Share this holiday with friends and express that love for squirrels and try out some of these other ideas with the intention of enjoying the day and honoring squirrels:
Discover Fun Facts About Squirrels
Squirrels are considered by some to be beautiful creatures and, depending on the type of squirrel in question, it’s certainly possible to find out amazing facts about them. Try out some of these interesting facts and tidbits about squirrels to impress friends, family members and coworkers in honor of National Squirrel Appreciation Day:
- An arctic squirrel can lower its temperature to below freezing to help survive the longest hibernation, which is over 8 months.
- To survive in winter months, squirrels bury nuts and other treasures as a food source to come back to later. If they live in snowy climates, they may have to use their sense of smell to locate their stores, then dig through up to a foot of snow to retrieve the object.
- The zig-zag patterns squirrels often run in usually means they are concerned about being chased by a predator. This clever little trick helps them to stay alive and avoid being caught by birds, foxes, cats, badgers and other predators.
- Squirrels’ bodies are amazingly agile, which helps them run, climb, jump and more. They can turn their ankles 180 degrees while climbing, and can leap up to ten times the length of their own bodies.
Become More Knowledgeable About Squirrels
One great way to celebrate and appreciate squirrels is by learning more about the kinds of squirrels in each local area. Common squirrels in the United States, such as the American red squirrel, Eastern grey squirrel, and black squirrels all have their own habits and tricks that they do to survive. This is also a great day to take some time to learn about all kinds of other squirrels, even ones that are further away, especially the flying Japanese squirrels which are absolutely adorable.
Learn About Squirrel Eating Habits
It is obvious that squirrels, whether they’re ground, tree, or flying squirrels, all have their unique purpose in the global ecosystem. One way they do this is when squirrels work to bury nuts into the ground, which is a behavior called caching. This work they do not only allows them to save food for the winter months, but it also allows them to assist with fruit and tree renewal, because while some will be able to remember where they buried the nuts, others will not make it back to them.
Squirrels don’t just eat nuts and seeds, though, as their diet is much more diverse than many people think. They also eat many fruits, plants, insects, berries and vegetables. One interesting way squirrels contribute to the ecosystem is through eating mushroom spores. By eating the spores and then excreting them after they’re digested, the fungi help matter to decompose and give plants the nutrition they need to grow. Thus, squirrels help maintain the symbiotic relationship between plants and mushrooms and help spread the growth of plants all over the world.
Have a Squirrely Get-Together
For those who just love any reason to throw a party, this is a unique one! Host a squirrel-themed party in honor of the day. Have guests dress up as squirrels or other rodents, and give friends squirrel-themed gifts. Snacks and treats for the party could include squirrel shaped cookies decorated with icing, or really just about any type of food that is made out of nuts! Decorate with acorns, leaves and squirrels as well as other woodland creatures. It’s likely the guests will have never been to a party quite like this before!