Squirrel Appreciation Day!
Go Nuts for Squirrels!
What is Squirrel Appreciation Day?
The 21st of January is a day to celebrate our furry little friends that offer joy and entertainment to everyone across the five continents which they inhabit. According to the founder of Squirrel Appreciation Day, wildlife rehabilitator, Christy Hargrove, people should help celebrate squirrels by putting out extra food and learning about the species. So, this Squirrel Appreciation Day we’ve put together this blog packed full of facts and useful tips all about squirrels to help you appreciate them in your garden and outdoor spaces.
Winter is a tough time for squirrels across the UK, much as it is for other garden wildlife. Food is often scarce and reliable water can be hard to find when the temperature drops, freezing water sources. This also leads to frozen ground, which means squirrels may not be able to get access to their previously buried food caches. Read on to find out how you can help your local squirrels by going outside to feed them. Who knows, you may be thanked by the squirrels with an acrobatic display to make you smile!
Facts About Squirrels
You may only notice grey squirrels in the UK, doing their very best at delighting us with their antics. Or, get excited at spotting our rarer native red squirrel, foraging the forest floors and canopies in the north of the UK. But there are over 250 species of squirrel around the world and they come in a variety of colours and sizes!
Here are another 5 fun-filled furry facts about squirrels.
- Squirrels are pivotal in assisting the spread and growth of trees, especially oaks, as they only recover about 70 per cent of the nuts they cache.
- Squirrels are fast! Their padded feet can help them reach speeds of up to 20mph as well as cushioning their landings from jumps of up to 20 feet high!
- Squirrels use their sense of smell to recognise ripe nuts. They can also tell, by the weight of a hazelnut or acorn, whether they have been hollowed out by weevils.
- A squirrel's front teeth never stop growing. This ensures that the constant gnawing on nuts and other objects doesn't wear out their four front teeth.
- Squirrels main form of communication is their tails. They use them to signal, twitching them if they’re suspicious of nearby threats. They also communicate with a wide range of calls, such as ‘squeaking’ noises and territorial barks.
If you thirst for even more squirrel-based knowledge. It’s full of more detailed information on squirrels as well as a full lowdown on the different species we have here in the UK.
What do Squirrels eat?
The reason we’re going ‘Nuts for Squirrels’ today hopefully alludes to what they like to eat. Nuts! They enjoy many different types and are especially keen on acorns. As you’ll see from the pictures added to this page! So, if you have an oak tree in your garden let those acorns fall. Then watch the squirrels scurry along collecting them to eat or store for winter. You’re likely to see this happen in parks and woodland areas as well. They are also partial to hazelnuts and pine trees. You can spend many hours watching them jump about in the canopies of trees looking for food.
Squirrels need our help as much as birds during the winter months. Supplying them with a constant and reliable food source to supplement their diets during the colder months can be vital to their survival. Why not buy a specialised squirrel feeder, like the one below. It will help keep our furry friends well fed throughout the year! For our full range of squirrel feeders and food click here.
Just like our garden birds and other wildlife, squirrels need fresh water to wash in and of course drink. Most shallow containers that hold water will do just the trick. Or if you’d like something a little fancier, take a look at our bird baths here. Remember to keep them topped up with fresh water and to break the top layer of ice when they freeze over.
Squirrels in Winter
Many of us assume that, much like other common garden mammals such as hedgehogs, dormice and bats, that squirrels must be hibernating during the coldest winter months. This would explain why we don’t see so many of them during mid-winter. But, in what is one of the most interesting facts about squirrels, both the grey and indigenous red squirrels are physically unable to hibernate. This is partly due to the fact that they can’t store up enough body fat to survive a hibernation. Which makes sense if you think how acrobatic squirrels are as they dive around in the canopies of trees.
Another reason, you may not have seen many squirrels during the winter months is that they are ‘crepuscular’, like many other small mammals. This means they mostly sleep during the main block of daylight hours and are particularly active during twilight and early morning.
Come the winter months squirrels will start unearthing their caches of food, usually nuts. Amazingly a squirrel can hide its food in thousands of different locations throughout the year. Storing it for the harsh winter months when food sources are scarce. They then use a combination of their keen sense of smell and local landmarks to locate these caches. As a result, they can ensure their survival over winter.
How to Help Squirrels
The best way to help squirrels is to make sure you have a suitable food and water source available for them in your outdoor space. Luckily, we’re here to help. We have spent years researching and testing various feeders and high-quality food sources for squirrels. As a result, we’re confident that the squirrel feeders and food we provide work, and work well.
This Squirrel Appreciation Day go outside and watch the squirrels in your outdoor space or local parks and woodlands. During these uncertain and strange times, we all need something to celebrate and bring joy to our lives. What better way to spend 5 or 10 minutes than watching these furry little acrobats entertain us!