article by Elizabeth Trickey
January 21st will soon be here, and you know what that means?
It is Squirrel Appreciation Day!!
Squirrels, our lovable, entertaining, furry friends that grace our backyards all year round, have their own special day. So let’s celebrate!
Procyon Wildlife rehabilitates many squirrels every year. Some come to us as newborns, others come when they are older, often due to being injured. Some stay for a few months while others over-winter with us. Most of the squirrels that we care for are Eastern Grey Squirrels, though this past year, we did have some Flying Squirrels. They are neat!
Did you know that the black squirrels that you see are actually Eastern Grey squirrels? They have a black coat due to an abnormal pigment gene. If a black squirrel has 2 copies of this mutant gene, the offspring will be jet black. If the squirrel only has 1 mutant gene, the offspring will be a brownish black. In North America, Ontario has the greatest number of black “morphs”.
Some interesting facts about squirrels:
- They are only about an inch long at birth and have no fur;
- They are great swimmers, being able to swim up to 2 km at a time;
- Their front teeth never stop growing;
- They plant trees since the nuts they bury for future meals don’t always get eaten, so the nuts grow into trees;
- Due to their amazing balance, sharp claws and maneuverability, they are amazing at obstacle courses and avoiding predators;
- Some squirrels build underground homes that have several bedrooms and a bathroom;
- In the winter, they can find food under a foot of snow;
- Other animals steal up to 25% of what a squirrel hides, so they have learned to “pretend” to bury food…very sneaky!
A great way to celebrate this special day is to sponsor a squirrel from Procyon. We have many that are over-wintering with us this year. Click on the “How YOU can Help!” button for information on the Sponsorship Program or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also visit our online store to select a sponsorship level!