It’s never too early to make your plans for Squirrel Appreciation Day on January 21. It comes but once a year, when our furry-tailed, rodent friends are elevated to their rightful pedestal.
We all know the average grey or brown fluff nuts leaping with abandon through tall trees and scurrying with acorns stuffed in their smoosh-able, chubby cheeks. Did you also know chipmunks and marmots are members of the same family?
What they lack in size, they make up for in charisma. What’s not to love about big eyes, fluffy tails, and enough energy to put bunnies to shame?
Among over 200 species of squirrels, there are some truly badass specimen. The arctic ground squirrels, for instance, practice one of the most extreme types of hibernation. Their body temperatures can go below zero and their brain neurons shrink, only to rebound to perfect health and wellness come spring. Scientists think these squirrels may provide clues to Alzheimer’s research for humans.
Other fun facts: Gray squirrels can jump over 4 feet vertically and 9 feet horizontally from a stand still. At over 4 feet from head to tail, the Laotian flying squirrel is bigger – well longer – than your average 4-year-old human. Though the rabies fear is overblown, according to the Centers for Disease Control, squirrels are not afraid to throw down with humans when backed into a corner. Then, there are the occasional stories of cannibalism. But really, what species is immune to those anecdotes?
With the exception of Australia and Antarctica, where no members of the squirrel family live, this is a global event. South Polers and Aussies are, of course, welcome to celebrate from afar.
Photo by By Gerardo Noriega