Hey, you Squirrely Camp Fans!
Coinciding with the underlying moral of Tolkien stories like ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ evolution has shown us that big things can come in small packages. Though you won’t find them carrying magical rings through Middle-Earth, squirrels are definitely small packages and may earn more of your respect than you might expect.
See, despite the fact that squirrels are typically garden-ruining, birdseed-eating, car accident-causing rodents, we likely owe our entire existence to these little guys. That’s why today we’re celebrating Squirrel Appreciation Day.
There’s a lot to appreciate about squirrels, but their diversity alone is impressive enough. They come in all different colors like grey, red, brown, and sand. Albino squirrels have white fur as a result of their albinism while other squirrels are jet black as a result of melanism (the opposite of albinism). Some are black with white spots and others are a reddish-brown with black spots. There are all kinds.
Did you know there are over 200 different species of squirrels the world over? From tree squirrels to ground squirrels, fox squirrels, grey squirrels, FLYING squirrels (which don’t actually FLY), and many, many more, squirrels have obviously been around for quite some time in order to have developed so many differences.
Squirrels have been around for a very long time, indeed, and longer than we had ever guessed! A recent fossil-discovery, however, proves that squirrel-like animals lived in China 200 million years ago which dates mammals about 50 million years older than what scientists had previously thought!
These ancient creatures found in China are likely the ancestors of the squirrels that we know and love today! But what’s even more thought-provoking than that is the likelihood that if it wasn’t for these little guys surviving the brutal elements of prehistoric nature better than the dinosaurs were able to, you and I wouldn’t even be here!
You can learn more about these ancient squirrel ancestors here. And, as always, thanks for reading!