SQUIRREL APPRECIATION DAY
On January 21st, Squirrel Appreciation Day recognizes a critter some consider a pest and others see as just fascinating. The creator, Christy Hargrove, is a wildlife rehabilitator in North Carolina and is affiliated with the Western North Carolina Nature Center. According to Christy, “Celebration of the event itself is up to the individual or group — anything from putting out extra food for the squirrels to learning something new about the species.”
According to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System of North America (ITIS), over 200 species exist in the world. Some of the oldest squirrels categorized on the list include the nocturnal arrow flying squirrel (validated in 1766) and the Black Giant (validated in 1778). Of all these species, they fall into three types.
Three Types of Squirrels
Ground squirrels, such as the thirteen-lined ground squirrel, the rock squirrel, California ground squirrel, and many others blanket the prairies and deserts of North America. Often causing damage, they often earn the name of pest, and they are labeled rodents. Predators enjoy them as a tasty morsel, too. As a result, they work together to protect themselves. Their only protection is to flee!
Tree squirrels make their homes in the trees. However, they also find their nesting materials and food on the ground and above. Making their homes in cities and the countryside in nations all around the globe, these familiar backyard and park residents help themselves to your birdfeeders or snag your snack right from your hands if they have become practiced enough!
The third type of squirrel leaps farther than the others with flaps of skin between the legs. Flying squirrels glide greater distances giving the impression they can fly. When they jump from tree to tree or building to building, they spread their legs wide and float on the breeze escaping predators or perhaps other snarky tree squirrels with a nut to pick with them.
HOW TO OBSERVE SQUIRREL APPRECIATION DAY
Learn more about these fascinating creatures. Tell us your favorite squirrel story or share a picture of your squirrel visitors.
- Set up a squirrel feeder and watch them as they feed. Can you identify what kind they are?
- Go to a park and watch the squirrels as they travel from tree to tree. How many are there?
- Squirrel watching is similar to bird watching and nearly as fascinating. Study their behavior and note their differences.
- Watch a squirrel documentary to learn more.
Use #SquirrelAppreciationDay to post on social media.
SQUIRREL APPRECIATION DAY HISTORY
Christy Hargrove from Asheville, North Carolina, created Squirrel Appreciation Day on January 21, 2001.
Squirrel Appreciation Day
Q. Can squirrels fly?
A. Yes. No. Well, sort of. The Flying squirrel has flaps of skin between its legs that allow it to glide longer distances than other squirrels.
Q. Who was the artist who had a squirrel?
A. Bob Ross, the host of The Joy of Painting, rescued an orphan squirrel and occasionally brought the little creature on his show.
Q. Are squirrels social creatures?
A. Yes. They will chatter and are comfortable living among humans. They will sometimes even eat out of your hand.
Q. Do squirrels bite?
A. Yes, but only if provoked. Their teeth are strong so they can crack nuts. They will bite to defend their hoard of nuts or territory if they are cornered. However, they will prefer to flee before attacking.
Q. What’s a rally squirrel?
A. During Major League Baseball’s post-season play, an American gray squirrel interrupted several games in which the St. Louis Cardinals played. Beginning with the National League Division Series between St. Louis and the Philadelphia Phillies at Busch Stadium, a squirrel interrupted play during two games in the series. The Cardinals went on to win the series causing the fans and players to adopt the furry creature as a deputy mascot and calling him Rally Squirrel. He made a third appearance during game three of the National League Championship Series. The Cardinals went on to win the World Series against the Texas Rangers.
January 21st Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History
Long before the suffrage movement, Margaret Brent asked the Maryland General Assembly to grant her voting privileges. While the assembly of men denied Brent her request for not one, but two votes, she proved to be a savvy attorney and landowner in her own right.
James Edward Sullivan and William Buckingham Curtis established the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). The nationwide organization promotes multiple sports and fitness programs for all ages.
Publishing house The Bodley Head published British author Agatha Christie’s debut novel in the United Kingdom, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. The novel was released in the United States a few months earlier.
The Concorde makes its first supersonic commercial flights. British Airways and Air France operated the twenty Concordes built. The first flights departed from London to Bahrain aboard British Airways and from Paris to Rio de Janeiro aboard Air France Concordes.
January 21st Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays
Sophia Jex-Blake – 1840
In the latter third of the 19th century, Jex-Blake led a small movement to allow women to into medical school in Great Britain. Her efforts proved successful, and in 1877, Jex-Blake and four other women who joined her on the journey passed their medical exams.
Roger Nash Baldwin – 1884
As one of the co-founders of the American Civil Liberties Union, Nash served as its executive director for 30 years.
Wolfman Jack – 1938
Born Robert Weston Smith, the American disc jockey is best known for his raspy voice heard over the radio airwaves. He’s also heard (and possibly seen) in films such as American Graffiti, The Midnight Special, and The Wolfman Jack Show.
Paul Allen – 1953
In 1975, Allen and Bill Gates founded Microsoft out of a garage in Albuquerque, New Mexico.