2009-01-15 / Columns

Get ready for Squirrel Appreciation Day

Critters get their due on Jan. 21

NUTTY—Joey Carbone from Sherman Oaks took a photo of this friendly squirrel feeding in his backyard. NUTTY—Joey Carbone from Sherman Oaks took a photo of this friendly squirrel feeding in his backyard. Because the Acorn's mascot is the squirrel, we were tickled to discover that Wed., Jan. 21 is Squirrel Appreciation Day.

Because we appreciate squirrels, and we know our readers do, too, judging by the great Squirrel of the Month photos we receive, we wanted to let everyone know that the furry-tailed rodents have their own holiday.

Founded in 2001 by Christy Hargrove, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, Squirrel Appreciation Day can be celebrated by putting out some extra food for the squirrels. But because many people object to the feeding of wildlife, another way to honor the day is to learn a bit more about the creatures.

Here are a few tidbits to get you started:

The word "squirrel" means "shadow tail," from the Greek word for squirrel, skiouros— skia, shadow, and oura, tail.

Scientists have discovered a fossilized squirrel skeleton that is more than 50 million years old.

There are more than 200 species of squirrel. The most common types of squirrel are tree, ground and flying.

In parts of Asia there are "giant" squirrels measuring up to 3 feet long including the tail.

Wildlife Care of Ventura County, a volunteer group based in Simi Valley, maintains www.wildlifecareofventura.org, with useful information about dealing with wildlife, including squirrels.

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