January 21 is Squirrel Appreciation Day.
It’s also National Hug Day.
Therefore, as a society we must…
It’s awkward to hug someone you don’t know, so here are eight little-known facts about our furry friends:
1. There are 265 species of squirrels. They’re found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica.
2. The smallest squirrel is the African pygmy squirrel, measuring about five inches. The largest is the Indian giant squirrel, which grows up to three feet long!
3. Some squirrel species can smell food buried underneath a foot of snow. They dig tunnels and follow the smell until, eureka! A treasure trove of snacks.
4. Squirrels twitch their tails to warn other squirrels of danger.
5. The squirrel is a symbol in many Native American cultures, representing the principles of preparation, trust and thriftiness.
6. A squirrel’s four front teeth never stop growing. This keeps the teeth from wearing down from constant gnawing.
7. A squirrel belongs to the order Rodentia, along with beavers, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, porcupines, prairie dogs and rats. Your dad wasn’t too far off when he complained about “those fuzzy-tailed rats on the roof.”
8. In the late 19th century, urban reformers introduced squirrels to parks across America. They wanted parks in urban cities to have a rural feel. They had no idea the squirrels would take over and become a staple in every park in the nation.
Now hug a squirrel and tell them they are appreciated!