Squirrels are so much fun to watch as they scurry up a tree and jump from branch to branch. Their speed and agility are quite remarkable. National Squirrel Appreciation Day is on January 21 and is very popular! Why are squirrels so popular? Maybe it’s because they play a variety of roles, such as an acrobat, a bandit, a gardener, a trickster, and so much more.
With over 265 different species of squirrels worldwide, there is bound to be some nutty facts about these furry creatures. Let’s take a look!
As mentioned earlier, there are over 265 unique species. The smallest is the African pygmy squirrel which is only 10 cm long, whereas the largest is the Indian giant squirrel at three feet long.
African Pygmy Squirrel
Indian Giant Squirrel
2. Squirrels make elaborate, bogus burial sites for their food to deceive any potential thieves. The squirrel digs a hole and vigorously covers it up. Once the squirrel has left, any onlookers will find nothing at these sites.
3. Squirrels communicate in an interesting way. They communicate with one another by various vocalizations and scent marking. In addition, they use their tails as a signaling device. When you see a squirrel twitch their tail, they are communicating with other squirrels of potential danger.
4. Squirrels have an amazing nose. They can find their food even beneath a foot of snow. They scurry under the snow, making tunnels to find their, or another squirrel’s, buried treasure.
5. Squirrel’s teeth never stop growing. This is a very common characteristic for other rodents, as well. The word “rodent” actually derives from the Latin word “rodere,” which means to gnaw.
6. For major city parks, squirrels had to actually be introduced to the parks. Here is a fantastic read about how major cities introduced squirrels to their parks in the early 1900s.
7. Squirrels actually grow trees. Yes, you heard right. They help contribute to the tree population by accidentally forgetting to dig up buried nuts. This is one great reason to appreciate squirrels.
8. Squirrels have been around for over 35 million years. The oldest squirrel fossil ever found was the Hesperopetes, which dates back to the late Eocene period. Squirrels are closely related to the mountain beaver and the dormouse.
Here is a video showing 5 more fun facts about squirrels! Check it out! Share if you appreciate squirrels!