You’ll have to forgive us if we seem to be acting a little squirrely today. We just can’t help ourselves. After all, it is National Squirrel Appreciation Day. Image: Stuckey’s Corp. Aw, nuts! You’ve never heard of National Squirrel Appreciation Day? Well, let us explain just how this holiday got started and what you can do to show our nut-loving furry friends that you appreciate them. A Day to Appreciate Squirrels Squirrels — some consider them varmints, while others think of them as adorable. North Carolina wildlife rehabilitation expert Christy Hargrove is the latter. She created National Squirrel Appreciation Day back in 2001. She wants to encourage people to show kindness to our bushy-tailed little neighbors. Hargrove believes that, whether you’re an individual or a group, how you decide to celebrate the day is up to you. She recommends putting extra food out for them today or maybe even learning something new about them. With that in mind: Did you know there are three basic types of squirrels? Yep! There are Three Squirrel Types Ground Squirrels As you may have guessed, ground squirrels (such as the thirteen-lined ground squirrel, the rock squirrel, and the California ground squirrel) spend much of their time on the ground plane, and they hide out and sleep in underground dens. They can be found in the prairies, deserts, and other places in North America where there are no trees. Though they may seem cute, they can cause a lot of damage, earning them a reputation as a pest. However, predators think they taste pretty good. To protect themselves from being a tasty morsel, ground squirrels often take the Monty Pythonian approach to survival — “Run away! Run away!” Image: Stuckey’s Corp. Tree Squirrels Tree squirrels, like the common Eastern gray, make their homes in, as their name suggests, trees. Still, you can often find them on the ground foraging for food and nesting material. They can survive in a wide range of environments and climates, including your suburban backyard as well as city parks. However, there was a time, back in the first half of the 1800s, when you couldn’t find even one squirrel living in city parks around the country. It’s we humans that brought them to places like Central Park in New York in an attempt to add a little natural cuteness to our metropolitan world. It worked! (You can read more about that here.) Flying Squirrels Flying squirrels don’t actually fly like birds; they glide, thanks to flaps of skin they have between their front and back legs. When they want to escape predators, or just flit from one place to another, they simply spread their legs wide and float on the breeze, like a fuzzy little hang glider. They have been known to “fly” over 200 feet in one glide! More Interesting Facts about Squirrels That’s Deep, Man While ground squirrels hibernate during the winter, tree and flying squirrels don’t. Rather, they rely on sheltered nests or dens in trees, fat reserves, and stored food. They leave their toasty little nests a couple times a day — usually first thing in the morning or right before nightfall, though you might see them out during the warmest hours. This means they have to find food and find it quick so they can get back to their nests. Scientists believe this is the reason why some species of squirrels can smell food under a foot of snow! Chew on This! Squirrels are rodents — a word that stems from the Latin rodere, which means “to gnaw.” This is rather fitting since a squirrel’s front teeth never stop growing and it has to constantly gnaw on something to keep their teeth trimmed. Stop! Thief! Sometimes squirrels may find another squirrel’s buried treasure. That’s because squirrels are scatter hoarders, meaning they bury their nuts all over the place. Obviously, they can’t keep an eye on every place they’ve buried their food, and as a result, squirrels may lose up to 25 percent of their buried mast to thieves. Image: Stuckey’s Corp. Psych! To throw off potential thieves, squirrels may pretend to bury a nut — a practice known as “deceptive caching.” Therefore, if you see a squirrel digging a hole and energetically covering it up again without putting anything in, they’re trying to throw you off their nutty trail. Don’t fall for it! Little Furry Environmentalists As is often the case, when squirrels forget where they hid their stash, and neither they nor their thieving colleagues can find it, those unfound seeds can grow into trees. In fact, squirrels have contributed countless trees to America’s forests. If you ask us, that’s a pretty great reason to appreciate squirrels (especially if some of those are pecan trees)! So there you have it — all the reasons you need to be kind to squirrels today. Oh, and also keep an eye out for Stuart the Squirrel, our very own mascot who’s set to make an appearance here at Stuckey’s very soon! — Yes, indeed, squirrels certainly do seem like cuddly little creatures, don’t they? Well, why not cuddle up with a squirrel of your own, courtesy of Stuckey’s? While it’s not our “official” mascot, this 12″-tall quality plush gray squirrel has clearly set aside as many pecans as possible to keep warm this winter. Made of recycled materials, you’re even helping the environment when you purchase this cute little nutty buddy who even comes with a little “recycled” patch on her hip. And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we’ve even included this cute little critter in a couple of our Stuckey’s Valentine Gift Boxes like our “Nutty 4 U!” Valentine Box and the “I’m Stuckey on You!” Valentine Box. It’s the perfect gift for somebody you’re nuts about, and since Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it, be sure to place your order at stuckeys.com today to ensure that it arrives in time for you to show your Valentine just how much you really care on February 14th! Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun (and Romantic) Again!