National Squirrel Appreciation Day

A minister visited a lady in a retirement home and as she lay in bed he spoke with her.  Now beside was a dish full of nuts.  The pastor ate one, then another, until before he knew it, looking down, they were all gone. “I am so sorry,” he confessed, “I ate all the nuts in the dish.” “Nuts, I can’t eat nuts anymore,” the senior replied,, “I just suck the chocolate off and spit them back out.”

Speaking of nuts, did you know that there is a National Squirrel Day?  This is because squirrels are busy doing exactly what God created them to do, burying nuts – and in so doing we are the great beneficiaries.  Let me explain.  Squirrels love nuts for two reasons: one, the hardness outside (it keeps their constantly growing teeth trimmed) and two, the protein inside (it gives them energy for their perpetual motion).  And since squirrels don’t hibernate (sleep over the winter) they must bury food to be retrieved when there are no longer any more nuts in the trees or on the ground.  So a squirrel will continually cache (hoard) them.  Here’s how it’s done:

#1 Nut Selection – A squirrel will first spin a nut to determine its protein value.  If lower protein, it will be cast aside, but if higher protein, it will be kept.

#2 Soil Evaluation – The burial spot must be just right.  It can’t be too moist or rotting will occur, and it can’t be too arid or the aroma will be smelled by other animals.

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#3 Burial Location – A squirrel doesn’t bury all of its nuts in one hole because if discovered they can be all eaten up by other animals.  So a squirrel will have hundreds of individual nuts buried in hundreds of different holes to protect from proverbially, “putting all of your eggs into one basket.”

#4 Cache Construction – A squirrel will dig a hole until its arms and head disappear in the ground.  Then it will straighten up, grab the nut, and drop it into the opening.  This is followed by refilling the hole with the soil as its little arms act like miniature jack-hammers.  Then it is covered over with leaves.

#5 Storage Deception – If a squirrel, with its very keen eyesight, sees that another animal is looking on as it does its cache construction, it will go through the whole process of burying the nut without actually doing so (hiding it in its mouth) and then leave, finding another spot where it is not being viewed.

Now squirrels are very intelligent.  In different lists of the smartest animals in the world, they are consistently rated in the top five.  And even though their brains are the size of a walnut, pound for pound, it is quite large for their body size.  And these smarts are especially seen in their uncanny ability to re-locate their own individual nut caches created months earlier among countless other nut caches in similar topography.  However, squirrels are not that smart, and according to scientists who study them, fifty-percent of their hole locations are forgotten.  And this is important, because these forgotten nut caches are vital to reforestation (i.e. growing trees).

The bottom line?  Are you, like squirrels, nuts about nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc.)?  Then the next time you see one of these furry little creatures scurrying about, utter a word of thanks to God for this ingenious creation.