Happy National Squirrel Appreciation Day!

Today — 1/21/2018 — is National Squirrel Appreciation Day.

Not everyone loves squirrels. Clearly, they are crafty and eventually out-smart almost every squirrel excluder device erected to protect a bird feeder.

Wildlife photographer Bob Montanaro loves squirrels. The squirrel photographs in this post are his handiwork and are included with his permission. Click here to enjoy his many picture-filled posts about these controversial creatures.

Fuzzy-tailed rats is a misnomer. Squirrels play an important role in shaping the composition of our forests and our backyards. Squirrels primarily eat seeds, and they cache (“squirrel-away) lots of seeds — only to forget them. So, oaks, pines, and some shrubs are “planted” by those spirited squirrels. According to Dr. Robert McCleery, Associate Professor, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, squirrels “will expand forests and change the types of trees that are there”. Click here to find out more about Dr. McCleery’s research lab.

Ever see a squirrel rubbing its face on an acorn? Like a cat, the squirrel is scent-marking. The scent-marked, cached acorn will be easier for the squirrel to find in the future.

Three kinds of squirrels are found in Florida, according to Dr. McCleery. Grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) are the most abundant and thrive in urban and suburban settings. Fox squirrels (Sciurus niger) are larger and far less common. Flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) are nocturnal and jump/glide from tree to tree.

Grey squirrels are quite abundant at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area. Click here for 6 reasons that you should love squirrels.