A Brief History
On January 21, 2023, we celebrate Squirrel Appreciation Day, one of the greatest holidays in all of the Rodent Kingdom!
Yes, squirrels are rodents, cousins to mice and rats, although with a much more attractive coat. Tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, prairie dogs and flying squirrels are all in this expansive family. Although squirrels are native to the Americas, Asia, and Africa, they had to be introduced to Australia and Europe. Often accused of crimes such as stealing food from bird feeders and burglarizing houses, squirrels provide a lot of visual enjoyment as they scurry about looking for food, especially for old folks that hand feed them in the park.
Ground squirrels include the weather forecasting Groundhogs, but the main type we think of in the US are Fox Squirrels, Red Squirrels, and Gray Squirrels. Of these, the Fox Squirrels are the biggest and the Red Squirrels are the smallest, while the Gray Squirrel can be found in certain areas to be a solid black color.
Note: Squirrels are the mortal enemy of Dachshunds! The little wiener dogs will savagely bark at and chase any squirrel silly enough to invade their yard!
Question for students (and subscribers): How do you plan to celebrate Squirrel Appreciation Day? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Adler, Bill. Outwitting Squirrels: 101 Cunning Stratagems to Reduce Dramatically the Egregious Misappropriation of Seed from Your Birdfeeder by Squirrels. Chicago Review Press, 2014.
Steele, Michael and John Koprowski. North American Tree Squirrels. Smithsonian Books, 2003.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by Charles J. Sharp of a grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.