Visit any park with a tree and you’re pretty much guaranteed to see a bushy tail skitter across a branch. Squirrels are park fixtures, gathering their nuts, playing tag with each other and providing some good entertainment.
Squirrels all over will be celebrated on Jan. 21. Squirrel Appreciation Day was started in 2001 by Asheville, N.C., wildlife rehabilitator Christy Hargrove.
In honor of our furry friends, we give you these fun squirrel facts from the National Wildlife Federation:
- There are more than 300 species.
- Squirrels range in size from 5 inches (the African pygmy squirrel) to 3 feet (the Indian giant squirrel).
- “Squirreling” away their food is serious business – a squirrel goes through an elaborate process of masking a location by pretending to bury the item a few times before settling on a final spot.
- Red squirrels are serious when it comes to defending their food but some females will actually give some or all of their food cache to their offspring as a way of bolstering their babies’ chances of survival during that difficult first year of life. Ahh, sweet mama squirrels.
So head out to a park (or even your own yard) and see how many squirrels you can spot. And why not toss ‘em a few unsalted sunflower seeds or unsalted peanuts on their special day.