January 21 is National Squirrel Appreciation Day, on this day we celebrate our bushy-tailed friends and all the good they do!
Throughout the world there are over 200 different species of squirrels, they inhabit all continents except for Australia and Antarctica. These cute rodents are categorized into three types: tree squirrels, ground squirrels, and flying squirrels. Tree squirrels live in trees as their name implies, spend time in the tree tops where they nest, find food, and are able to avoid most of their predators. Ground squirrels are usually a bit larger and don’t vary as much in coloration as their tree dwelling cousins, mostly all being brownish in color with white spots. Flying squirrels don’t actually fly, but glide through the air using a special membrane called the patagium which connects their front legs to their hind legs. Furthest recorded glide from a flying squirrel was over 300 feet!
Cool Squirrel Facts!
- Certain types squirrels are able to find food buried beneath a foot of snow with their sense of smell!
- Squirrels will bury their food to store it for later when food is scarce, but other squirrels will take another’s cache of food if they find it!
- Squirrels will use a zig zag pattern to run away from predators, which doesn’t work very well on cars so keep an eye out for them and don’t be surprised if they double back!
- In the 1800’s squirrels were introduced to city parks to add interest and entertainment!
read full story here – How We Moved Squirrels Into Our Cities
- Squirrels do not hibernate but will put on more weight for the winter months and are much less active
- Squirrels won’t dig up all the nuts that they bury under the ground which makes them responsible for planting countless trees!
Squirrels Come in All Different Sizes and Colors!
And we treat several species of native squirrels in our clinic!
Western gray squirrels are by far the most common. We also get a few northern flying squirrels. We also have resident Animal Ambassadors for both those species.
Puddin Our Resident Northern Flying Squirrel
Puddin is currently off display. She has been with us since 2016. We have no idea how old she is because Puddin’ was taken in by a well-meaning couple as an orphaned baby and kept illegally as a pet. After the woman passed away, her husband could no longer care for the squirrel and surrendered her to us. She came into us very overweight and with multiple injuries which had not healed properly.
Many people idealize raising baby wild animals up as their own pets. In actuality, it is not only illegal but dangerous. Squirrels in human care often still show signs of aggression to their owners or visitors. They require extra care and special food, and the typical home environment is not meant for squirrel exploration, behavior and safety. This can lead to multiple injuries that may not be apparent to humans.
Frederika Our Resident Gray Squirrel