Come October we start preparing for the months ahead. Holiday fun. Winter snow and ice. Short, dark days …
Squirrel Awareness Month.
That’s right, a whole month for squirrel awareness.
Why, you ask? After all, it’s hard to not be aware of them running rampant through your yard. Running out in front of your car (and then staying there!). Digging up your garden in their quest to hide nuts. Or find nuts.
Well yes, they do all those things.
Because squirrels are preparing for the upcoming months same as us. Well, ok, probably not the holiday fun. Although our squirrels sure do like the fall displays that include corn … we find those things all over the yard for months after!
So why not celebrate their industriousness?
Seriously. Have you ever just sat and watched squirrels for a while? They play hard and work hard.
Let’s give them a little credit.
Like Gregg Bassett, founder of The Squirrel Lover’s Club, did. He first created created the month to celebrate the squirrel. Mr Bassett passed away in 2008, but his celebration of the squirrel lives on.
Squirrel Awareness Month began life as Squirrel Awareness Week, celebrated the first week of October. Eventually it became Squirrel Awareness Month.
This month is different from Squirrel Appreciation Day in January.
If you think squirrels seem to be everywhere, you’re right. More than 300 different squirrel species populate the earth. They’re native to almost every type of climate, from freezing temperatures to desert heat.
Those big bushy tails do much more than look cute.
Have you ever wondered why squirrels seem to dance back and forth in the street as you try to avoid hitting them? Some experts believe they’re trying to confuse you (well, your car). Sadly, this doesn’t work too well.
Chipmunks are squirrels. They are part of the ground squirrel family. But they are not the same animal as the 13-lined ground squirrel (although they do look similar).
Squirrels’ eyes have built-in “sunglasses” to help them see without glare.
Scroll down for some ideas on celebrating this nutty unofficial holiday.
Be kind to your squirrels.
Instead of getting mad at them for raiding the bird feeder, give them their own food.
(No, it probably won’t stop them from also eating the bird food. But it’s still a nice thing to do … and they’ll probably eat less of the bird food!)
Squirrel diets are more varied than you might think. Give them a “salad” of different foods and watch them feast. Consider:
You can also buy “backyard critter” food. It attracts squirrels, along with rabbits and blue jays.
If you can, set up your squirrel feeding area in a spot you can see from your window. You’d be surprised at how much fun it can be to watch their antics.
And if you have cats … well, they’ll just adore the show!
Learn more about squirrels. Consider one of these books:
Join Project Squirrel. All you do is report squirrel sightings. It can be around your home, around your work or other places.
Get your kids involved, too.
For kids who want to learn more about squirrels, Welcome to the World of Squirrels, by Diane Swanson is an easy read. Suggested for ages 7-8.
Or for those who just want a fun story that includes a squirrel, check out these:
You and your kids are sure to enjoy the Squirrelisimo! Flickr album from Max Ellis.
Learn a little about how Max gets his fun pictures on the Weekly Flickr blog post Capturing the secret lives of squirrels.
Do you love squirrels? What do you do for them?
Do you have an other ideas for celebrating Squirrel Appreciation Month?
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