Squirrel Appreciation Day
January 21st each year is Squirrel Appreciation Day. Feelings about squirrels are pretty polarized. People either love them or hate them. Personally I think they are cute. Let’s learn a little about them before we get to some pictures.
Kingdom: Animal. Phylum: Chordata. Class: Mammalia. Order: Rodentia. Rodentia. Family: Scuiridae. From there we go into many sub-families and tribes.
Types of Squirrels
There are many types of squirrels. Some we don’t think of as squirrels, but they are. Let’s look at the three categories and some of the squirrels within those categories.
Ground squirrels live on the ground and nest in underground burrows. We’d guess that thirteen-lined ground squirrels and chipmunks fall into the same family. But did you know that prairie dogs, marmots and groundhogs (also known as woodchucks) are grounds squirrels, too? I wouldn’t want prairie dogs in my yard, but I can watch them for hours at the zoo!! In fact, when my daughter was little the prairie dog exhibit was the place we’d spend the most time! There’s a little zoo that I still visit mostly to just watch the prairie dogs.
We don’t normally see flying squirrels because they are normally nocturnal.
These are the guys that we see the most. You can tell they are a tree squirrel if they have a fluffy tail. Ground squirrels do not. The Eastern Grey Squirrel is quite prevalent and can be found in most the world. Their antics are a joy to watch. Yeah, they steal the bird food and people have earned a good living coming up with gadgets to keep them from the feeders, but they are cute to watch regardless. Fun Fact: Di you know that they can be black or white due to a genetic defect? Read about it at the site I reference below, 22 Thing You May
Here’s a picture of one of my little guys (not the best quality – it
Isn’t he cute? “Hello? Are you in there? I see you! Where’s my lunch?”
As I said earlier, I can watch prairie dogs for hours. I remember going to a zoo last year. I made a noise and they all stopped and listened. I made it again and they all looked at me. It was the funniest thing. I kept doing it until my throat was sore. It was winter, so there wasn’t any grass to throw them. But they love grass. If your zoo allows you, toss them a handful of grass. They will grab it and take it to their burrow. Here’s a picture of them listening to me.
To Learn More
I came across a great site about squirrels. Check it out. 22 Things You May Not Know About Squirrels.
Guess The Squirrel
I found these photos online. Most just say “squirrel.” One said it was something it was not. Can you name which kind?
There are almost 300 types of squirrels. What common squirrels do you have where you live?
If it’s winter by you, remember to feed our furry friends – especially if their food source is frozen and covered with snow.