Squirrels look forward to two days during the year; the first day of fall when acorns are most plentiful and Squirrel Appreciation Day. January 21 is the day when these loveable little rodents hope to be called something other than a rat with a furry tail or, simply, pests. In preparation for Squirrel Appreciation Day 2016, let’s look at some of the good things our four-legged friends do on a daily basis.
One of the most common activities we see squirrels doing is digging around in yards. It turns out they’re not trying to annoy you with this habit. Squirrels dig around to bury food and create temporary shelter. Much like farming equipment does, by doing this, squirrels are actually aerating the soil and making it more suited to grow plants in. Along with digging, the animals break up sticks and leaves, both of which are beneficial to soil health, too.
Squirrels are constantly looking for food and burying it to enjoy later. Just like how we sometimes forget about food in the back of our refrigerator, squirrels don’t always remember where they buried their goodies. Their forgetfulness is a benefit to humans because their leftover food can turn into trees and plants.
During the course of a day, squirrels move around a lot. They make and leave many shelters. When they leave one place, other animals can stay there for a while for protection and shelter.
It’s widely believed squirrels are dirty animals that spread diseases to humans. In fact, squirrels are almost never responsible for getting humans sick. When lots of squirrels are getting sick in one area, it can prompt public health officials to investigate if there is something toxic or unhealthy causing their illnesses. In the end, this can prevent humans from getting sick.
When it’s obvious some sort of animal has been messing around with your plants, people usually jump right to blaming squirrels. They’re easy targets because we always see them digging all over the place. Well, squirrels are diurnal, which means they are active during the day time. So, if before going to bed, your plants are fine and in the morning they are ruined, don’t blame a squirrel; it’s some animal that creeps in the night that is after your garden.
If this will be your first year celebrating Squirrel Appreciation Day, take note of what squirrels enjoy and how they benefit our environment. Maybe sprinkle some extra nuts or acorns around your lawn. And since they dig so much, throw in a tiny shovel or two for good measure.