January 21 is National Squirrel Appreciation Day, created by a wildlife rehabilitator in hopes of fostering appreciation and a better understanding of the bushy-tailed rodents.
According to National Today, Christy Hargrove created the day in 2001 to encourage kinder attitudes toward squirrels, whether it’s by setting out food and water for them or learning something new about the critters some might think are cute, but others consider pests.
For example, did you know there are more than 200 species of squirrels? They fall within three types: ground, tree, and flying squirrels. In the fall, they bury more food than they will recover, according to National Geographic.
It’s hard to deny that they can be pretty adorable. Every day is Squirrel Appreciation Day for Thumbelina, who was taken in by rehabbers as a tiny pink newborn after she was left by her mother inside a 10th-floor New York City apartment. Construction outside the building had apparently forced them from their home.
The most famous might be Twiggy the Water-Skiing Squirrel, who was rescued as an orphan after a hurricane and raised by a Florida family. He turned out to hang on pretty well behind a remote-controlled boat. It would evolve into a show that has lasted 39 years and several more gray squirrels before the act was retired in 2018…only to come back with an all-new show and a 40th-anniversary tour in 2020.
Not all squirrels go into show business, of course. But plenty have made the news with their rascally ways and talent for getting themselves into sticky situations.
There was that squirrel that invaded an Atlanta family’s home while they’re out of town, setting off the security alarm and wreaking an impressive amount of destruction.
Or the one that had a rough day when he got stuck in the bumper of a news station vehicle in Columbus, Ohio and needed a little help getting his tail free.
Hilarity ensued in October when a squirrel decided to join the praise and worship at an Alabama church via a stained glass window and made its way to the balcony. Members of the congregation were inspired to “to get a little more spirited than usual.”
If you’re looking for more laughs, go ahead and watch Ray Stevens’ “Mississippi Squirrel Revival” on YouTube.
In addition its definition as “an agile tree-dwelling rodent with a bushy tail,” the word “squirrel” is also used as a verb meaning, “hide money or something of value in a safe place,” and they sure lived up to that when they stuffed more than 200 walnuts and tons of grass under the hood of a Pittsburgh couple’s car.
There are various species of squirrels all over the world (except Australia), and they’re just as likely to get into trouble abroad. Like this little guy who had to be rescued when he got his tiny head stuck in a manhole cover in Germany.
Then there is the kind of trouble squirrels get into through no fault of their own. An Alabama man was accused of feeding methamphetamine to a so-called “attack squirrel” he kept caged to ensure it stayed aggressive. The squirrel, named “Deeznutz,” was eventually released back into the wild.
You won’t regret it.