Bet You Didn't Know It's Squirrel Appreciation Day

Jan 21, 2016

One of the tasks I take on as producer of Word of Mouth is updating the monthly calendar. This typically involves adding major holidays and upcoming events for the show on a big whiteboard, but I have taken it upon myself to add in the more obscure - and often absurd -  holidays that seem 100% made-up.

Did you miss out on “International Skeptics Day” (January 13th) because you were too busy celebrating “Make Your Dream Come True Day”? (The latter is also January 13th, for some reason.)

Don't make the same mistake next month when "Create a Vacuum Day" and "Thank a Mailman Day" sneak up on you. (February 4th, don't say I didn't warn you.)

It's important we plan for these <air quote> holidays </air quote>.

But today? I implore you to not miss out on today’s fake holiday.  Today is Squirrel Appreciation Day!

That’s right, January 21st is devoted to appreciating the animal some of my colleagues lovingly refer to as “tree rats.”

(It’s also National Hugging Day, and I would like to safely combine these two celebrations, if only the squirrels would *let me* hug them.)

Credit Logan Shannon
Squirrel Appreciation Day

Full disclosure: I am a 365 day squirrel appreciator and I do understand why others are absolutely not. But if the squirrels I love watching in my backyard ever manage to breach our attic, I am certain I will feel less inclined to present them with pecans on Thanksgiving morning.

(Before you chastise me for feeding wild animals, we only did it once, and there were only a few and it seemed like a fun treat, so lay off.)

An offering of pecans in honor of Thanksgiving.
Credit Logan Shannon

We fondly refer to our neighborhood as 'The Squirrel Promised Land.'

Between the oak trees and their seemingly endless supply of nuts, and the odd man that dumps—seriously, he drives up in his Volvo station wagon and DUMPS—copious amounts of food for them in the park across the street, our squirrels are living a life of luxury and abundance.

Many of my friends and family are amused and a little grossed out by my love of the fat squirrels that live in our maple tree.

A few years ago, my sister (who ranks among the amused) sent me a squirrel “squngee,” which is a bizarre bungee cord that has two screw eyes for dried corn cobs.

The squirrels leap up and grab the cobs, ostensibly giving them a much needed workout. It’s fun to watch, but they don’t appear to be losing any of their girth.

Will work for food.
Credit Logan Shannon

My grandfather-in-law (grossed out) evicted a large family of red squirrels who were squatting in a birdhouse at his lake house, despite my pleas for leniency.

Please sir, we've no where to go! (Which is a lie, because they took up residence under the house.)
Credit Logan Shannon

I’ve also received two squirrel coffee mugs, but I’ve yet to sit down with one of my backyard friends over tiny lattes and discuss their feelings on this year’s acorn crop, or my latest attempts to learn how to knit.

Get your own from Archie McPhee!

Let's Set Aside Our Differences for One Day

If you hate squirrels, I get it, they can be and mostly are, total jerks (they have chewed through nearly all of our holiday lights and are notorious for causing havoc with power lines.)

But on this, their special, completely made-up day, maybe give a nod to the humble squirrel that lives in your backyard.

You’d probably be a jerk too if you kept forgetting where you left your nuts.

Celebratory Squirrel Day t-shirt provided by Sara Plourde.
Credit Sara Plourde / NHPR