SQUIRRELS! Whether you love them or loathe them, National Squirrel Appreciation Day, January 21st, is a great time to take a few moments and learn about these nutty animals. If you count flying squirrels we have 10 tree species in North America. We are constantly uncovering complexities around their survival tactics and social behavior. Squirrels are fascinating animals to watch and have been documented adopting orphaned young and stealing food. And let’s face it—squirrels are pretty difficult to outwit.
Humans actually introduced them to most of our major city parks in the 1850s and ’60s and feeding squirrels was common as a means to encourage kindness to all animals. People thought that by adding them to our parks in cities, we could bring pleasure to the people who couldn’t leave the city and enjoy nature.
So for this Squirrel Appreciation Day, we’re hoping to showcase the critters we essentially chose to keep us company in urban settings. So let’s celebrate their acrobatic ability, their role in connecting people to nature and how they can amuse us even when they frustrate us as neighbors.