If you live in the middle of a big city, it’s doubtful that you will spot a cow or elk roaming the streets. There are, however, wildlife you do see on a regular basis. Namely, you probably run into a lot of squirrels, even in the densest urban areas.
If you happen to live near a park or college campus, you see them all over the place. And while some people regard these creatures as adorable, others see them as pests bent on nesting in everything in sight and chewing up everything. Oh, they also will stop at nothing to get into the bird feeders in your backyard.
Squirrels are so popular that they even have their very own day. In case you missed it, January 21 was National Squirrel Day. No kidding.
Regardless of how you feel about them, squirrels are amazing creatures. They can turn their ankles 180 degrees to face any direction when climbing up your apple tree and they can leap 10 times their body length. Earthwise Pest Management, your home pest control in Sacramento, offers these fun and amazing squirrel facts.
They Don’t Find All of Their Buried Nuts
Squirrels never find all of the nuts they bury. This means that they accidentally contribute to the countless trees growing in our cities and forests. That is one good reason to appreciate squirrels.
They Get Fat in the Winter
One of the ways squirrels stay warm in the winter is by overeating in the fall and getting fat. If you put on a few pounds, you would be warmer in the winter as well.
Squirrels Used to be Pets
There are several states that ban keeping squirrels as pets, but this was once quite common. Warren G. Harding had a pet squirrel named “Pete.” Pete would sometimes show up during White House briefings and meetings. Cabinet members would bring nuts and feed him.
From the 1700s until the 1920s, squirrels were popular pets sold in pet stores.
Laws Were Passed to Hunt Them
There were few states overrun by squirrels in the early 19th century. This led to widespread crop destruction and demands for people to hunt them. To combat the problem, taxpayers had to submit at least 10 squirrel scalps when paying their taxes every year.
Gray squirrels are deceitful. They engage in what is called “tactical deception.” If they think somebody or something is watching them look for a spot to bury their food, they will pretend to dig a hole, but tuck their stash in their mouth and bury it somewhere else.
They Help Scientists
Scientists look at squirrel populations to measure just how well a forest is doing. Squirrels rely heavily on trees for food and nesting, so if there are a lot of squirrels in a particular area, it indicates a healthy and thriving forest.
After a forest fire or to determine the impact of logging, scientists study changes in squirrels populations.
California ground squirrels have an odd way of dealing with rattlesnakes. When they go on defense, their tails fluff up, much like a cat. But a squirrel waves its tail to convince the snake it has met a superior opponent.
But what happens when it is dark outside? Squirrels can control the blood flow to their tail. So even if the snake can’t see the tail, it can sense the heat coming off of it.
Squirrels are Powerful Hackers
You might worry that foreign hackers might disrupt the power grid. What is a more realistic concern is that a squirrel is far more likely to disrupt the power grid. There is a list of squirrels and other animals that have disrupted power over the years. Since 1987, there have been more than 1,100 squirrel-related power outages in the world.
Surely, this is a gross underestimate as not all counties keep track of such events. The most common cause of a power outage is wildlife.
Squirrels Aid in the Medical Field
Some species of squirrels hibernate in the winter. When they do, their brains function while they sleep, but in a different way. Their core body temperature will go as low as 26.7 degrees, which is the lowest body temperature of any mammal on Earth.
Scientists are studying squirrels during this cold hibernation and are trying to develop a drug that can mimic the process in the human brain. This could prevent brain cells from dying when blood flow to the brain is cut off in the event of a stroke.
Awesome Tree Climbers
You are so used to seeing squirrels running up and down trees you don’t realize how impressive it is. Most animals can’t sprint down a tree head first, but the ankles of a squirrel can rotate 180 degrees enabling them to accomplish this feat.
Squirrels are More Organized Than You
A recent study found that some species of squirrels bury their nuts according to type. When the squirrels were given a mixture of nuts, they took the time to hide each type in a very specific place.
When a squirrel feels threatened, they run away in a zigzag pattern. This is very useful when they are trying to escape a hawk or other predator. Too bad it doesn’t work very well on cars.
If your home has been invaded by squirrels or other rodents, call Earthwise Pest Management and we can resolve the issue.