National Squirrel Appreciation Day

Whether you think squirrels are pests or fascinations, they are playful and agile rodents. Indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa, they are indeed rodents, in the same family as chipmunks, woodchucks, prairie dogs, rats, mice, and beavers. However, they also play an important role in the environment. In one season, a single squirrel can bury up to 10,000 nuts, but a good 25% of those never get dug up again by that squirrel or any other. Thus, squirrels are powerhouses in forest regeneration.


Their favorite foods are nuts, insects, and berries. Squirrels are hoarders, but they are also acrobats and bandits. They can run up to 20 mph and jump up to 20 feet in length.


We all have likely seen their antics as they fashion ways to access even the trickiest bird feeders. They can also be annoying, as when they gnaw on our home’s wooden siding. I get it. Their front teeth never stop growing, so they must gnaw. But I fear they’ll be in the house one day. We’ve tried a variety of scents they allegedly do not like… from peppermint oil, coffee grounds, and white vinegar to cinnamon, garlic, and rosemary.

Here are a couple of nutty facts about squirrels. A male squirrel is called a boar. The female is a sow. She selects her mates, and mates with several males. She will give birth to an average of 2 to 8 offspring, all of which are born blind. At just 1” long, a baby squirrel is called a kitten.


Squirrels run in a zig-zag pattern when trying to escape hawks and other predators. (Yeaaaah, that technique doesn’t work so well with cars.)



The Native American symbol for preparation, trust, and thriftiness is the squirrel.




And we humans can learn something from squirrels. When it’s cold outside, eat more and bulk up. (Okay, I think we’ve got that covered.) When it’s hot outside, lying down and sprawling out on a cool surface is the squirrel’s answer. It’s called splooting.


Have a gleefully squirrelly day!

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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