Although we usually focus on pet animals, sometimes we like to report on wild cousins to some of those pets. And one of those times is now. After all, what better time to appreciate squirrels than on National Squirrel Appreciation Day, which is January 21. #SquirrelAppreciationDay
The day has been around since 2001, when wildlife rehabilitator Christy Hargrove of North Carolina created it. The Animal Oddities blog states that Hargrove chose January 21 because it was the middle of winter when food is most scarce for squirrels.
More than 270 species and 51 genera of squirrels inhabit the world. That’s a lot of appreciating to do! Most people probably think of tree squirrels or ground squirrels when squirrels are mentioned, but there are also flying squirrels. And woodchucks, prairie dogs, marmots and other rodents are also part of the larger squirrel family, named Sciuridae.
Some squirrels have achieved a bit of fame. Remember Rocky the flying squirrel from the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons of the 1960s? And more recently there has been Scrat, that acorn-chasing, prehistoric squirrel from Pixar’s “Ice Age” movies. In real life, a squirrel named Winkelhimer Smith gained notoriety because of his artistic ability.
So what can you do to appreciate squirrels? Getting a squirrel feeder is an option. Some people have even found squirrel feeders that make it fascinating to watch squirrels eat. Watching a movie or cartoon featuring a squirrel is another. You can also support wildlife rehabilitators. Those are only a few suggestions. The National Wildlife Federation had more, and I’m sure you can think of some, too. Tell us how you will celebrate squirrels in a comment below!