It’s the 21st of January again which means it must be Squirrel Appreciation Day!
Squirrels are impressive animals. They can leap 10 times their body length. They can turn their ankles 180 degrees to face any direction when climbing. They also use their feet as their sweat glands. Their eyes are positioned so that they can see some things behind them.
While, sometimes here at Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control, we have a tricky relationship with squirrels, having to evict them from people’s homes to prevent damage, we do appreciate these intelligent, cute and sometimes funny animals, as long as they stay outside!
If love squirrels as much as we do, keep reading to learn more interesting facts!
1: Squirrels exist in nearly every habitat on Earth
There are 285 species scattered across the globe, ranging from the half-ounce pygmy tree squirrels of western Africa to the nearly 20-pound (9-kilogram) gray marmots of Kazakhstan.
2: Squirrels can help trees
Take the gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) and its penchant for burying acorns for later use. A single gray squirrel can create several thousand buried caches of food each season, not all of which it can hope to rediscover. This is called scatter hoarding.
3: Squirrels make mushroom jerky.
Some squirrels eat mushrooms? Not only that, but red squirrels will hang fungi out to dry between tree branches so that it keeps better over the winter.
Mushroom jerky is also less likely to infect their larder with insect larvae and nematodes.
4: Squirrels can “garden”—and know their food sources well.
Gray squirrels have also evolved a few rather impressive storage strategies. Squirrels can tell the difference between red oak acorns and white oak acorns and store them accordingly.
Whites germinate quickly, almost as soon as they hit the ground and the squirrels tend to eat them immediately since a germinated acorn loses nutritional value. Conversely, reds don’t germinate until spring, so the squirrels prefer to bury those for winter snacking.
5:Squirrels are extremely intelligent creatures.
They are known to put on elaborate fake burying displays to deceive onlookers. The fake burials are to trick potential thieves, such as other squirrels or birds, into thinking they have stored their food stock there. Any onlookers planning on stealing the stash will then focus on the fake burial site, allowing the squirrels to bury the real stash there.
6: Squirrels take down more power grids than cyber hackers
Squirrels are such a big problem to power lines and grids that the American Public Power Association even tracks the blackouts they cause with its own “Squirrel Index.”
As of 2016, only one cyberterrorist has successfully paralyzed a U.S. power grid, while at least 623 squirrels have done the same thing.
7: Squirrels are compassionate animals
Squirrels behave kindly and would adopt orphans if they notice that a relative does not come back to them.
8: Squirrels build their own “houses” for summer use
Squirrels live in cavities in large trees during cold winter months to keep them warm. They are mammals, so they need to protect themselves from both cold and hot weather just like people do. Squirrels tend to live alone.
9: Squirrels are big eaters
Squirrels can eat their own body weight (approximately 1.5 pounds) every week. Squirrels’ diets consist primarily of a wide variety of plants, including nuts, seeds, conifer cones, fruits, fungi, and green vegetation. However, some squirrels also consume meat, especially when faced with hunger. Squirrels have been known to eat insects, eggs, small birds, young snakes, and smaller rodents.
10: Squirrels can fly!
Actually, it glides with two furry membranes, called patagia, loosely stretched between its wrists and ankles. The membranes act as a parachute to support the squirrel while jumping from tree to tree. The flying squirrel normally glides diagonally downward from one branch, scurries to the top of the tree and jumps on a downward slant to the next one. The flying squirrel also has a flat, furry tail that it uses as a rudder while gliding. The squirrel uses both its tail and membrane to steer left and right, and even to make 180-degree turns.
Now that you know a little more about those furry creatures running around in your yard, you may appreciate them, and all their particular habits all the more, we certainly do!
Enjoy some fun squirrels videos below: