National Squirrel Appreciation Day 2018 – January 21

Originally a creation of Christy Hargrove, a wildlife rehabilitator at the Western North Carolina Nature Center, National Squirrel Appreciation Day is a day to learn about and celebrate the world’s cutest rodents. Here’s the thing about squirrels: some people hate them. Some people say they’re “rodents”, and that they’re invasive species. But squirrels are cute smart, and incredibly athletic. Can you leap across a space ten times the length of your body? Didn’t think so. Let’s celebrate National Squirrel Appreciation Day!

National Squirrel Appreciation Day - History

2001
A Day Is Squirrelled

Christy Hargrove coins National Squirrel Day and says you can make of it what you want.

1959
“Hokey Smokes!”

Rocket J. “Rocky” Squirrel, the plucky flying squirrel, was introduced to The Bullwinkle Show and lasted five years as the best friend and ally of the Western moose, Bullwinkle. His catchphrase is sadly less used than it should be.

1850
Human introduction

Squirrels were introduced to parks in small numbers to beautify and add interest. Little did we know, squirrels planned to take over the world.

National Squirrel Appreciation Day Activities

1. Build a squirrel assault course
Help squirrels celebrate the day by building the most imaginative assault course for your neighborhood squirrels and then film them tackling it, and post it for tips and feedback online. Accompanied by the Mission Impossible theme, this is a really good way to appreciate the squirrel in your life.

2. Dress your dog up as a squirrel
One of the best things about squirrels is that you can dress your dog up as one, and then take a load of pictures of your dog, and everyone will not only love your dog more, but also, love squirrels more.

3. Say the word “squirrel” a lot
Not all words carry quite the delight of this one, which for some reason seems to capture the rapid, eager balance and wiliness of the beloved animal. In Scrabble, the word scores 17 points, and that’s if you don’t happen to capture any triple word scores, but perhaps the most delightful thing about it is to simply repeat it, over and over, perhaps altering the pitch, cadence, and volume, until you either crack up laughing, or simply crack up. You know why? Ask Christy Hargrove. Because like Christy Hargrove said, you can do with this day what you want.

Why We Love National Squirrel Appreciation Day

A. It got bigger than anyone ever thought
When Christy Hargrove started National Squirrel Appreciation Day back in 2001, Christy Hargrove didn’t really think it through a big deal. Christy Hargrove just said people should do whatever they think is right to celebrate National Squirrel Appreciation Day. Maybe put something on Twitter with a hashtag, wrote Christy Hargrove, on the Internet, about National Squirrel Appreciation Day. Little did Christy Hargrove know what a success this day would become in just a few short years. A little bit like the humans who introduced small numbers of squirrels to America’s parks in the 1850, just to make them look a little more interesting.

B. It celebrates the squirrel’s cunning and duplicity
As you know, squirrels bury nuts. But did you know that they often will only pretend to bury those nuts, in a sort of fake move, because they know that they’re being watched? Sometimes, squirrels will pretend to bury a nut, walk away, then come back to it as many as five times, removing it and putting it somewhere else until they’re certain that they weren’t being watched.

C. Three words: Squirrel assault courses
If ever there was an animal with more tenacity in its pursuit of food, we do not know of it. A quick Internet search for “squirrel assault courses” will yield some remarkable videos, and there’s something really delightful and deeply inspiring about watching these beautiful creatures use their tails for balance in the searching-out and devouring, or storing, of nuts.

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