Welcome to Superoceras, a blog about science and natural history, slightly biased towards paleontology and zoology, but inclusive of all sciences. Started in October of 2009, my goal is to communicate scientific knowledge (and the occasional piece of nonsense) in an informative and entertaining manner. Feel free to contact me with questions, comments, concerns, or criticism at superoceras(at)gmail(dot)com, and follow me on Twitter @Superoceras for all that and more in 140 characters or less!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day!

The most adorable thing I've ever seen.
I may not like it when they eat all my birdseed, but I've always had a soft spot for squirrels.  In fact, I'm quite fond of them. And what better way to show that fondness than by observing Squirrel Appreciation Day. Celebrated annually on January 21st, it's simply a day to keep our furry friends in mind, and even give them a hand (or paw).  As squirrels don't hibernate and keep very active all winter long, I typically put out a few extra treats for them to help them get through the cold months ahead; sunflower seeds, peanuts, and dried corn seem to be favorites in my area.

One of DC's "white" grey squirrels.
One of the melanistic squirrels on campus.

Around here, we have an abundance of Eastern grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) in a variety of different colors.  We have the standard grey variety (that actually range in color between a reddish brown and true grey), but also melanistic and white morphs.  But the Sciuridae, or squirrel "family", is comprised of many other types of rodents as well.  Along with the tree squirrels, you'll find prairie dogs, ground squirells, marmots, flying squirells, and chipmunks. Keen eyes, bushy tails, and big cheeks, all these critters deserve a little recognition today.  So the next time you see a squirrel, say "hello" with a tail-flick, and wish it well.  Or better yet, Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day!

Clockwise from top: A groundhog (Marmota monax), Eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus), and black-tailed prarie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus).

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