Every Day Is Squirrel Appreciation Day

Had it not been for Steve Gingold, I would have missed celebrating January 21 as Squirrel Appreciation Day.  I developed a special fondness for these critters during the eight years I enjoyed one as a pet and housemate. Eventually, he died of old age, but only after providing everyone who knew him with stories galore.

This beauty, who lives in a nearby palm tree, isn’t exactly a pet, but she does come running for her shelled pecan whenever she sees me. Of course I carry one or two in my pocket, just in case.

Because the day has stirred some humorous memories, I’ve reposted the tale of my squirrely companion at The Task at Hand, under the title “Recalling Those Dandelion Days.”

Comments always are welcome.

54 thoughts on “Every Day Is Squirrel Appreciation Day

    1. It just occurred to me that I should tell the tale of my squirrel again; I just put it up on The Task at Hand. I have the grays now, too, and they’re even more fun to watch in the trees. They seem to get along with the fox squirrels just fine, but they’re more skittish around people.

  1. Many of his Eastern Grey cousins are scurrying to and fro in my backyard right now, doing their best to thwart my attempts to keep them from emptying my bird feeders. Over the years I am sure the score is in their favour, but of late I have gained the upper hand, I think. I strew cracked corn on the ground for them, but they covet the shelled sunflower seeds reserved for my feathered friends. It is an amicable contest, however, with no malice – at least not on my part. As for them, I am not so sure.

    1. I have Eastern Grays around now, too, and it’s fun to see how they both interact with and annoy the Fox squirrels — and vice-versa! Like yours, mine prefer the shelled sunflower seeds to shelled peanuts, but now that what passes for cold weather around here has arrived, they’re more than willing to accept the peanuts. You might enjoy the post I just added to my other blog; it tells the tale of what happens when a pet squirrel finds the fermented mesquite beans, and goes on a tear.

    1. It was. Something tore up the nest, and three of the four babies in it perished. We thought the fourth was a goner, too, but its feet twitched, and that was it: operation Save the Squirrel began. It was hairless at that point, with its eyes still closed, but warmth and four-hour feedings did the trick. While it still was too young to be left alone, I’d take it to work with me. One of my favorite memories is of an attendant on the Port Aransas ferry looking at the cage in the passenger seat and saying, “Lady — is that a squirrel with you?” At that point, I hardly imagined he’d be ‘with me’ for eight years.

  2. Big fan of squirrels here. Admire their intelligence, resourcefulness and feistiness. Didn’t realize you had one as a roommate for eight years. You must have some great stories and memories from that time.

    1. The stories are legendary. There was the day he ran off two Mormon boys from the front door, and who could forget him chewing through the icemaker’s water connection to create his personal drinking fountain? Check out my new post on The Task at Hand. If I’d been more with it, I would have gotten that posted first and linked to it; it tells the tale of what happens when a squirrel spends too much time at the bar.

  3. Given your history, you’re just the right person for Squirrel Appreciation Day.

    Shelled is a contranym, a word that includes opposite meanings. Shelled can mean ‘having a shell around it’ or ‘having had its shell removed.’

    1. Now I’m pondering shell and shuck. We shuck oysters, but collect oyster shells to rebuild reefs. In like manner, I grew up shucking corn when we removed the outer husks, but we shelled corn when we took the individual grains off the cob. Language is as much fun as squirrels!

    1. Squirrels are fun incarnate. Granted, I’m not a gardener, so their tendency to go straight for newly planted bulbs doesn’t bother me much, but I understand the frustrations they can bring. I have a gem of a famous author’s different view to share in a day or two.

  4. They are such clever little creatures, and really fun to watch. I so enjoyed your dandelion story, Linda, and am glad to know of this Squirrel Appreciation Day.

    1. I’m watching a few of them frolic in our suddenly cold weather right now. They seem energized by the cold, and always are up early on these days — ready to play even before coming for breakfast. It seems to me that the gray squirrels are more playful and active than fox squirrels, although there’s a good bit of chasing that goes on among both species when it’s mating season.

  5. I’ve started tossing some extra peanuts on the ground. The birds and squirrels are beginning their seasonal feeder meals after a bit of a lull since autumn. I’ll have to start putting the Cole’s pepper sauce on the peanuts in the feeder, but I’ll have plenty to share with the squirrels. My new cat, Lena, is quite enraptured with them–through the windows only!

    1. I’ve noticed the same thing. A cardinal showed up yesterday, and the doves have been coming for about a week or so. There’s one pine warbler, several chickadees, and I think the same five starlings that were young’uns last summer are back as adults. I’ve only heard the bluejays a couple of times, but haven’t sighted one yet.

      I was pleased to finally get a shot of my lurker. With the streaking and the yellow eye, I decided it might be an immature Cooper’s Hawk. What do you think?

    1. I’ll bet Monkey loves the squirrels, and I’m sure he’d like to have a chance to play with them! I’d forgotten about the partly white squirrels I saw in Eureka Springs, Arkansas — like this. That was a long time ago, before I had a telephoto lens. I’d love to have another chance to photograph them. I read the whole article on the Olney website. The various explanations for how the white squirrels got there were interesting. Have you ever seen them?

  6. Beautiful image! I once had the joy of watching a grey squirrel playing and dashing around in just the way a cat does when it gets the ‘zoomies’. Such fun!

    1. I get such a kick out of watching my squirrels when they first come out in the morning. “Zoomies” is the perfect description for their antics. Sometimes they’ll play in the afternoon, too. When our last cold front came through, I as astonished to see a couple of them doing actual backflips in the shrubbery. I swear they were just having fun, like a bunch of kids.

  7. As you know, we love squirrels in the Bug household. They provide vast entertainment. We liked watching them more at our Ohio house. There were overhead power lines & it was so much fun watching them take “Squirrel Route 1” to get around.

    1. I see them on power lines here from time to time. Every time I do, I send them a psychic message to “avoid the transformers!” It probably won’t surprise you to know the same creature who wire walks loved to sail. Somewhere I have a photo of my squirrel riding my shoulder on a sailboat. Anyone who’s made for living among tree limbs isn’t going to fuss over a moving boat!

    1. I certainly didn’t know about the special day, until I got up and looked at my emails this morning. When I saw the notification of Steve’s post — well, I had the photo, so there was nothing for it but to join in the fun. I’ve already made a note for next year, and have a couple of photos set aside.

  8. Squirrel Appreciation Day is new to me. Husband has already put peanuts out in the feeder for our resident friends that stop by for nuts and water. They are fun creatures to watch and hear as they scramble across the roof.

    1. Have you seen yours building nests in the palm trees? I was surprised to find they’ll do that. I always associated them with oaks or hackberries or such, but they are creative, and a healthy palm does offer shelter. Now that our cypress trees have dropped their needles, I can see nests in them, too. I’m not sure what’s living there, but if I’d chosen one of those trees, I’d move: that’s a pretty vulnerable location when the tree goes bald!

    1. They’re among the most lovable creatures as far as I’m concerned. Even before I had one as part of the family, I liked them, but now I have nice, fuzzy feelings whenever I spot them cavorting — or begging, for that matter!

      1. Squirrels are capable of having as many babies as they wish according to the food supply. If it’s a bad year, they may store up what food they find for their babies in the nest and then leave to find new territory.

        1. It’s not been that long since I learned that squirrels will dry fungi of different sorts, and then store it in little ‘pantries’ for use when other food sources get slim. Amazing, really.

  9. We have marveled over the years at how ingenious a squirrel can be. Their patience at trying to thwart the guards on bird feeders is incredible. I swear, you can watch a squirrel try to gauge the distance from table to bird feeder and what kind of running start he needs to make it. Or hold your breath as one drops from a limb high above a feeder which one would think might cause a concussion.

    If I carry pecans in my pocket, they will be for me. I’ll fight any squirrel to keep ’em for myself.

    Gini still doesn’t understand why squirrels don’t follow me everywhere since, as she describes it, I am — (drumroll) — a nut.

    1. I have one squirrel who much prefers sunflower chips to shelled peanuts. His chosen method for getting his treat is to leap to the top of the tube feeder, secure himself by his rear feet, then hang upside down and proceed to scoop the seed out with his forepaws. I figure if he’s willing to work that hard, he deserves that he can get. The chickadees and such just wait for him to tire of the game, and then they take over.

      As for pecans, here’s a useful tip. Only hand then out once they’ve been shelled. If they’re still in the shell, they get buried rather than eaten. I think you’re safe, though. You may be nutty, and rarely stay in your ‘shell,’ but even the most ambitious squirrel couldn’t bury you!

    1. Especially at this time of year, a few extra calories are bound to be appreciated, especially if less energy’s required to find them. Good for you, for being a wildlife helper!

  10. The way squirrels move fascinates me. They almost look like bad stop-motion animation. They’re lightning fast but then they stop dead still. They almost flicker when they scamper-freeze-scamper-freeze across the grass. It’s to avoid predators, of course. If the predator is close enough, stopping dead means the pounce will most likely miss. If the predator is far enough away, freezing may make the predator lose them in the background. You see the same behavior in rabbits and deer (and Humans!). Hunters are typically very good at detecting motion but without color vision, or at night, picking motionless prey out of a background can be very tricky.

    1. That business of staying motionless sure does help the walkingstick. Of course, sometimes the instinctive movements of an animal attempting to avoid a predator doesn’t work out so well. That’s why we see so many armadillos along the side of the road. Their instinct is to jump, and they’re quite good at it. Unfortunately, that jump often puts them directly in the path of that car or truck rolling down the road, and another one bites the dust.

      While I was chatting back and forth with another reader about drunken animals, particularly birds who feast on over-ripe berries, I found this classic. Enjoy!

  11. Squirrels are such fantastic creatures with real personality. I’m rarely able to keep up with all these different special days so I much prefer your idea of everyday being squirrel appreciation day.

    1. To be honest, I pay no attention at all to these ‘special’ days until someone mentions that it’s ‘this day’ or ‘that day,’ as Steve did. I don’t much care about International Pasta Day or even National Bloody Mary Day, but Squirrel Appreciation Day? I’m there — every day of the year!

  12. I too missed Squirrel Appreciation Day and was hit by it in a chapter Slack discussion. I will hammer-crush a few dozen native pecans from the 5-gallon bucket in the garage then toss out at the end of path for them to forage. It is fun to watch them as they work for their food, keeps them off my porch and gravel path nearest my window where I can watch sparrows, finches, doves, and get their seed delights. Some remain for the rats and mice of the night … which handily get picked off by the yard owls. No one starves here, and everyone is appreciated!

    1. Ah, yes. The food chain! I have a young Cooper’s hawk who keeps an eye on the bird feeders (and sometimes gets a take-out dinner from them), but so far the hawks seem to be dedicating themselves to the birds. It hadn’t occured to me that the slow disappearance of our mice might be due partly to owls. I’ve always assumed the cats were responsible, but the coyotes have taken out the feral cats, so who knows?

  13. My aunt had a pet squirrel that she found as a baby fallen out of the nest. Us kids when we came to visit weren’t allowed to touch it. While it allowed her to she considered it a wild animal and was afraid it would bite us.

    1. Your aunt was smart. While my squirrel was generally placid with people he knew, he could be unpredictable, and aggressive toward strangers. He did bite one person’s finger tip, but that person should have known better than to push the limits.

  14. I loved reading of your dear little squirrel, how lovely to have had it for so long. Yes, there are probably hundreds of stories you could tell. Wonderful to hear you have befriended another.xxx

    1. You of all people understand how pleasing it can be to develop a relationship of any sort with a wild animal. Having had the experience of raising that baby squirrel, I certainly appreciate the work you put in! They’re cute, but they take a lot of work. Of course, the goal of your work is release if possible. There was no way to release my squirrel. There were a lot of lessons he never learned, including how to find his way back home. You haven’t lived until you’ve gone up one the roof via a ladder to rescue a squirrel who ran up, but couldn’t figure out how to come down!

  15. I learned of it in a similar fashion only on FB when posted by a friend there a few years ago. These cuties certainly deserve a day of their own. Nice shot of this inquisitive little one.

    1. You may not have noticed that he’s on a palm tree. I was surprised when I realized that they’re wllling to nest in palms. There’s no reason they shouldn’t, I suppose, especially if they find one that has a nice tousle of dead leaves on top. Now, if the landscapers show up to trim all the dead leaves: well, it’s time to move on. At least people mostly trim palms here before nesting season.

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