January 21 is Squirrel Appreciation Day, a day created to recognize the role that the squirrel plays in nature and its contribution to the environment.
The Squirrel Day was created by Christy Hargrove, a wildlife restorer in North Carolina, USA, from the Western Nature Center in North Carolina on January 21, 2001.
The squirrel family in the world has about 50 types of squirrels that are divided into about 270 species.
A fossil study has found that the squirrel family originated in the northern hemisphere. Their earliest remains were found in the North American continent and date to about 36 million years ago. A fossil has been found in Europe from 23.8-33.7 million years ago.
Squirrels are not shy creatures, they have no problem getting out during the day, making them one of the rare wild mammals we often see, even on city streets and parks.
In honor of Squirrel Day, get 20 fun facts about them:
1. The squirrel family is common all over the world except Madagascar, Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica.
2. In Greek the word "squirrel" means skioros - "tail". Gave them the name of the Greek philosopher Aristotle.
3. The most prominent behavior of squirrels is the storage of nuts and acorns for the winter. What is needed for squirrel species that do not fall asleep this season.
4. The hind legs of squirrels are double-jointed, giving them the ability to run up and down trees very quickly.
5. In 2007, Iran claimed that 14 squirrels found near the country's borders were in fact spies.
6. The mating season of squirrels is from February to May, with a gestation period of 44 days. Usually two to four young squirrels are born in each litter.
7. Squirrels have 4 front toes, which are extremely sharp and are used to hold bark while climbing. They also have 5 toes on their hind legs.
8. In addition to living in the eastern United States, eastern gray squirrels are found in many western countries, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa.
9. Squirrels can eat food at their body weight each week, which is about 1.5 kg.
10. Squirrels can fall from a height of 30 meters, without harming themselves. In jumping, or falling, they use the tail both for balance and as a parachute!
11. A male squirrel can smell a female in heat up to a distance of about 10 miles.
12. Arctic ground squirrel (a type of ground squirrel native to the North Pole) is the only warm-blooded mammal capable of withstanding freezing body temperatures during hibernation (winter sleep).
13. The squirrels' eyes are positioned in a way that allows them to see behind them.
14. In 2013, authorities shut down a campsite in the Los Angeles National Forest when they found an infected squirrel living there. The infection actually killed a 15-year-old boy from Kyrgyzstan, who was bitten by a mountain squirrel. A closure on 100 people had to be carried out for this infection to disappear.
15. Squirrels are smart creatures and can learn to navigate many obstacles to find the most effective way to eat, they are also quite good at finding shortcuts.
16. Squirrels can jump up to 20 meters. They have long, muscular hind legs and short front legs that work together to aid in leaping.
17. In the remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from 2005, in the squirrel scene, the squirrels were not animated but real, and were professionally trained by Walnut Animal Trainer Michael Alexander and his team who spent 19 weeks training these squirrels for this one scene.
18. In 1963, a bridge called Nutty Narrows was built in Longview, Washington. The 60 feet total length bridge made the city the capital of squirrel-loving America. In the city of Longview, a squirrel festival is held in August every year.
19. Since 2004 the squirrels have been divided into five subfamilies: Xerinae (ground squirrels), Ratufinae (Oriental giant squirrel), Sciurillinae (Neotropical pygmy squirrel), Sciurinae and Callosciurinae (beautiful squirrels).
20. Squirrels have a great ecological impact. They are miners from burrows where rodents and reptiles live, they dig in the soil and extract from it substances that help the plants, but are also a bit harmful because they eat their plants and seeds. They are used as food for many predators like foxes, ferrets and birds of prey.
The best way to celebrate this special day is to learn about the types of squirrels.
There are so many interesting things about squirrels that we did not mention, like the Japanese dwarf flying squirrel which are small furry creatures (20-30 cm) and sweet, with big eyes and a long hairy tail. They are common in China, Japan, Northern Europe and Asia and are also adopted as pets .
Share the information about this day with friends and express love to squirrels! You can also buy squirrel-themed gifts like a doll or a miniature.