January 21

squirrel Photo Credit: Clipart.com

Today in Science

Squirrel Appreciation Day

Whether you find them annoying pests who raid your birdfeeders or adorable backyard visitors, take a moment today to really take a look at some of those fluffy-tailed rodents you pass every day, because today is Squirrel Appreciation Day.

There are 285 species of squirrels worldwide, including tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, prairie dogs, and marmots (a genus that includes groundhogs), and they can be found on every continent except Antarctica and Australia. There are also 44 species of flying squirrels, which do not, in fact, fly, but instead glide using membranes that stretch from their front feet to their back feet. Squirrels range in size from the 4-inch-long African pygmy squirrel to the 3-foot-long Indian or Malabar giant squirrel. 

Listen this Science Update podcast, Squirrel Hoarding, to hear how grey squirrels in particular are helpful to their ecosystems. Other related resources include Foxes and Lyme Disease and Groundhogs and Shadowy Doings.

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