Did You Know These Facts About Squirrels?
To commemorate this year’s Squirrel Appreciation Day which takes place on January the 21st 2022, we’d like to take a moment to appreciate the garden rascals who pinch our bird feed and give our dogs something to chase, but whom we love nonetheless. Although we can’t recommend keeping a squirrel as a pet, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy having them in your garden anyway – especially since they’re truly fascinating creatures.
Like did you know the word squirrel in Greek means ‘shadow tail’?
Here’s just a few more facts about our furry, forest-dwelling friends.
Gnashers For Life
Like all rodents, squirrels have teeth that just don’t stop growing. Not only are their teeth coated in a hard layer of enamel, but they have to grow at a quick rate to keep up with their diet of nuts, acorns, seeds, roots, etc.
The reason for this is that gnawing is a primary activity for a squirrel – they survive by getting to food with their teeth, shredding material for their bedding, and perhaps most importantly, they use them as a means of self-defence.
So when you spot a squirrel gnawing on a seed in your garden, just think about how his teeth are constantly on the grow.
They Plant More Trees Than Most Humans
We know that squirrels like to get their paws on nuts – if you’ve watched any of the Ice Age films, you’ll remember Scrat, who constantly fought to get his prized acorn.
But they’re not always eating them right away. When winter comes, food in the wild becomes harder to obtain, so squirrels will usually start to bury their nuts in the ground to find later on.
The incredible thing about this is that the squirrel won’t retrieve every nut, seed or acorn they bury. And of those that are lost to the squirrel, there is the potential for trees (such as chestnut, pine, beech, hazel and oak) to grow from the buried squirrel snacks.
Dogs Aren’t The Only Ones To Wag Tails
When we think of an animal who wags their tail to communicate something, our mind immediately goes to dogs, whose long and often energetic tails form such a bold trait of their being. Squirrels aren’t that different in this regard.
As well as using them to balance in precarious positions or race across high wires, a squirrel’s tail is used to convey a number of things to human and squirrel alike.
The most common message that a squirrel will send with its wagging tail is a warning to other squirrels if they happen to see something that’s dangerous or suspicious. But if they’re looking to attract a member of the opposite sex, the tail will tremble or shiver.
No Need To Feed
One of the biggest problems with feeding birds is having squirrels getting their paws on the birdseed even though it’s not intended for them. And there’s a reason we don’t stock squirrel feeders at HugglePets.
As squirrels are naturally adept at finding food for themselves, if you were to constantly provide food for them, there’s a good chance that they’d stop naturally hunting. It could also result in an overpopulation of squirrels, so there’s just no point in us providing their food.
If you’re looking to get some birds into your garden but worried about greedy squirrels, something like the Peckish Secret Garden Squirrel Proof Peanut Feeder is great for giving the food to exactly who needs it.
Red Vs. Grey
You may remember being taught about grey and red squirrels in school. The former are our most common type of squirrel, with roughly 2.5 million estimated to be roaming our forests and gardens. The latter number in at only 140,000, despite being our native squirrel species.
Grey squirrels came over to us from North America by the Victorians in the 1800s, and after escaping captivity, they repopulated until they were the dominant squirrel species in the UK.
This doesn’t bode well for red squirrels however as without human interference, they may be extinct in the UK in just a few years. Since grey and red squirrels can’t live together, it’s important that they’re given separate habitats to thrive and survive in.
Squirrels are certainly one of the more volatile garden critters, but there’s definitely a lot to love about ‘em. For any questions, queries or concerns, contact us on Facebook.