Did you know Squirrel Appreciation Day was last week?
Who doesn’t like nuts? More and more humans are enjoying a tasty helping of nuts, everything from almonds, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, peanuts, and cashews to name a few; but we are not the only creates who enjoy nuts. Elephants enjoy different nuts such as the infamous peanut and other various nuts and seeds that they forage for. Dogs and cat are big fans of peanuts and peanut butter, and many different birds consume large amounts of pine nuts and tree nuts, as well as various seeds like sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Another famous nut loving animal is the notorious tree dwelling squirrel, and in honor of squirrel appreciation day, here are a few fun facts about the squirrel:
1. Squirrels can find food buried beneath a foot of snow. Food is important during the cold winter months for squirrels. It makes sense, therefore, that some species are able to smell food under a foot of snow. The squirrel will then dig a tunnel under the snow, following the scent to their (or another squirrel’s) buried treasure.
2. Squirrels may lose 25% of their buried food to thieves. Also, that’s just from members of their own species! Scatter hoarders (squirrels with multiple caches of food) have a difficult time keeping an eye on all of their hidden food. Fellow squirrels or birds often take advantage of this for a free meal.
3. Squirrels may pretend to bury a nut to throw off potential thieves. Squirrels have been observed engaging in “deceptive caching.” This is where a squirrel digs a hole and vigorously covers it up again, but without depositing the nut. It seems this is done to throw off potential food thieves.
4. Squirrels don’t dig up all of their buried nuts, which results in more trees! They have accidentally contributed countless trees to our nation’s forests. If you ask me, that’s a pretty great reason to appreciate squirrels.