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), there are over 200 species of squirrels. Some of the oldest squirrels categorized on the list are 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 #SquirrelAppreciationDay
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.
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