Squirrel Appreciation Day (January 21)
Check out the weird holiday Squirrel Appreciation Day on January 21. Learn the history of squirrels, as well as get ideas on how to celebrate.
One weird holiday on January 21 is Squirrel Appreciation Day. Check out the other weird January holidays!
History of Squirrel Appreciation Day
Today’s weird holiday was initiated in 2001 by Christy McKeown, a North Carolina wildlife rehabilitator affiliated with the Western North Caroline Nature Center. She wanted to encourage people to put out seeds and nuts for the squirrels in their area.
Squirrels are found on six of the seven continents (not Antarctica). They are not native to Australia but have been introduced there.
The most common squirrels in North America are the western and easter gray squirrels.
The red squirrel is more common in Europe, but it’s numbers are decreasing in Great Britain and Ireland because of the introduction of the eastern gray squirrel.
Until the 1800s, weren’t found in cities in the United States because there were so few trees and parks. In 1847, humans introduced squirrels into Philadelphia’s Franklin Square. In 1850, Boston and New Haven did so as well. The cities then took a 10 year break because so many were killed due to concerns for the birds and insects.
In the 1870s, expansive parks were built in Chicago, New York, Bonston, Washington D.C., and other large cities. Along with this development, squirrels were again released into tehse parks.
In 1959, The Bullwinkle Show introduced the character Rocket J. ‘Rocky’ Squirrel, a plucky flying squirrel. He remained in the show for five years as the best friend of Bullwinkle, the Western moose.
In 1993, the TV show Animaniacs introduced Aunt Skippy Squirrel and her nephew Slappy Squirrel, and they were given their own animated segment.
Squirels are part of the Sciuridae family, which also includes other rodents like chipmunks, groundhogs, and prairie dogs. Squirrels ahve been around for millions of years; the earliest fossils of squirrels go back about 30 million years to the Eocene epoch!
There are over 200 species of squirrels in the world. The smallest known squirrel species is the African pygmy, which is about three inches long on average. The largest is the Indian giant squirrel, which can be as long as three feet!
The oldest squirrel species is the nocturnal arrow flying squirrel (which was discovered and validated in 1766) and the Black Giant (validated in 1788).
Each squirrel species is part of one of three types: ground squirrels, tree squirrels, and flying squirrels.
Ground squirrels are found mostly in the prairies and deserts of North America. The cause a lot of damage and have been labelled as rodents. There are many predators that eat them, and their only defense is to run away. The zig zag pattern they use is to protect them from predators.
Tree squirrels make their homes in trees and are found all around the globe, usually in backyards and parks. They find their nesting materials and food on the ground and in the trees. They can turn their ankles 180 degrees while climbing!
Flying squirrels don’t actually fly, but their jumps and leaps carry them farther than other types of squirrel because of extra flaps of skin between their legs. When they jump, they spread their legs wide and float on the breeze. They can actually end up traveling a distance of 10 times their body length.
A group of squirrels is called a scurry, and a squirrel’s nest is referred to as a dray or drey (although sometimes dray is used to describe a group of squirrels).
One interesting fact about gray squirrels is that they not only bury their nuts, but they dig them up and rebury them somewhere else – over and over again! This is to prevent other squirrels from stealing their stash. But 74% of those nuts are never recovered because squirrels have terrible memories and forget where they’ve been hidden.
Squirrels hibernate in the winter, using those stored nuts as a food source. They use their sense of smell to find the nuts again. The longest hibernation is over 8 months, and is performed by the arctic squirrel. This unique squirrel can lower its body temperature to below freezing so it can survive!
Ideas for Squirrel Appreciation Day
Other than feeding the squirrels around you, here are some other ways to celebrate this weird holiday.
Easy Quilled Squirrel Craft
Enjoy Squirrel Appreciation Day with this easy Quilled Squirrel craft for kids.
Delightful Squirrel Books for Children
Sit down with your kids on Squirrel Appreciation Day and read these fun books! You can find many of these squirrel books for children at your local library.
How to make a squirrel picnic table – free PDF plans!
Have you seen the tiny squirrel picnic table going viral on Facebook? A man in Bryn Mawr built the world’s smallest picnic table, mounted it on his fence, and put treats on it. For Squirrel Appreciation Day, make your own!
How to Protect Your Bird Feeder From Squirrels
As fun as squirrels are to watch, have you ever watched squirrels steal all the bird food you put in your feeder? If so, you are probably wondering how to protect your bird feeder from squirrels that decimate your seed supply! Take advantage of Squirrel Appreciation Day to protect your bird feeder so you can enjoy these cute rodents instead of feeling resentful.
What to Feed Squirrels? Cookie Recipe
Wondering what you can feed squirrels? They are so sweet and will gladly take anything, but not everything is healthy. On Squirrel Appreciation Day, try out this cookie recipe for squirrels - it will keep them from eating the birdseed!
How to Protect Your Garden from Squirrels
As adorable as squirrels are, they can be a nuisance to your garden. Take advantage of winter and a break from squirrels to learn how to protect your garden while still enjoying these cute creatures on Squirrel Appreciation Day.
15+ Squirrel Gifts Ideas
From paper clips to cookie cutters, there are so many great squirrel gift ideas to purchase to help celebrate National Squirrel Appreciation Day (January 21).
Squirrel Coloring Pages
Looking for some cute squirrel coloring pages for Squirrel Appreciation Day? Hare are some free printable coloring sheets just for you.
Rabbit Recipes - Recipes for Rabbit, Hare and Squirrel | Hank Shaw
If your way of appreciating squirrels in enjoying having them for dinner, then check out these delicious squirrel recipes and try one out for dinner on Squirrel Appreciation Day!
Free Arctic Ground Squirrel Lapbook & Unit Study Resources
Learn all about Arctic squirrels on Squirrel Appreciation Day with this free Arctic ground squirrel lapbook.
Squirrel Fall Wreath Craft for Kids
Kids love finding squirrels in the forest foraging for food and seeing them run in the snow, looking for the buried nuts. Decorate with your kids for Squirrel Appreciation Day with this cute Squirrel Fall Wreath Craft for Kids.
Squirrel cookies: How to decorate squirrel cookies with royal icing for Fall.
Make these cute squirrel cookies on Squirrel Appreciation Day and give some to a friend to celebrate!
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