Squirrel Appreciation Day – Really?
New Year’s has past. Valentine Day’s is approaching. Stores are stocking up, while couples eye gifts for each. Who really ever thinks about the days in between: Bubble Bath Day on Jan. 8, Measure Your Feet Day on Jan. 23 and Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor Day on Feb. 7.
Days exist to commemorate themes, objects and even animals.
On Jan. 21, squirrels, those swift, furry, woodland creatures we always see, get a day all their own: Squirrel Appreciation Day.
“I didn’t even know there was a Squirrel Appreciation Day,” said Ron Brenneman, Birds and Butterflies owner.
The day was created in 2001 by wildlife rehabilitator Christy Hargrove from the Western North Carolina Nature Center, according to the Animal Planet website.
“Squirrels are one of the most identifiable mammals in North America, because they can be found most anywhere, including large cities and suburbs,” said Jim Beasley, University of Georgia assistant research scientist.
Within the Sciuridae family, around 285 different species of rodents can be found. Squirrels are just one of those species. Four types of squirrels exist in South Carolina – eastern gray squirrel, eastern fox squirrel, red squirrel and southern flying squirrel, Beasley said.
“I’ve seen some totally black,” Brenneman said. He’s also observed ones almost completely orange and various shades of gray.
Gray squirrels are the most common in this area, according to Brenneman.
A type that people might not know about is the Southern Flying Squirrel. The daring furry fiend is a well-populated individual but crawls the trees and grounds at night, keeping it often elusive to the public.
While squirrels might look cute, they have been known to cause trouble.
They scurry into houses, chew wires and plastic and destroy bird feeders.
“They are seed eaters,” Brenneman said on why squirrels favor bird feeders. “They are doing what comes natural.”
In fact, Brenneman said that day he received a related–call from a customer – squirrels were running amuck around his property, chewing his sprinkler heads and the plastic vent pipes coming from his roof. He’s actually had to replace the pipes a few times before because of the squirrels.
The store owner told him about the holiday, to which the customer replied, “Why would anyone have a Squirrel Appreciation Day?”
Gray squirrels are the most common to nudge around bird feeders in the southeast, though others have been known to do the same, Beasley said.
However, for every person who might shake his head at the critter, there is a person who adores the creature.
For those who do want to celebrate the day, eHow’s website has some ideas. Scan local listings for squirrels documentaries, or read up on the furry creatures. Go outside, and watch squirrels zoom around their natural habitats. Build a squirrel feeder, or purchase one from places like Birds and Butterflies. And, here’s a crazy idea, dig up some old time classics like “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” and marvel at iconic squirrels like the flying squirrel Rocky.