I have to confess that I have never thought about that before. But apparently it's true. You can supposedly tell if they are a southpaw or not by looking at the way they spiral around a nut to break it open. If you find yourself with a squirrel and nothing better to do, check it out.
By the way, October is Squirrel Appreciation Month. So let's celebrate with a couple more fun facts about our furry little vegetable thieves.
- Everyone knows that squirrels eat nuts, and they're particularly busy this time of year harvesting that staple of their diet. But they also commonly eat seeds and fruit (like my tomatoes!!). However, if their main food sources are unavailable, they will also dine on bird eggs, insects or even animal carcasses.
- Squirrels also need a salt source to survive. They will often search along roads for places where snow and ice may have deposited the salt their diet requires. (Cranky Puppy here: if I catch that little bushy-tailed thing swiping my 'maters again, he's gonna get some rock salt!)
- Squirrel teeth grow continuously. In fact, their incisors grow six inches per year. Since their teeth receive constant wear from cracking open nuts and chewing on tree branches to sharpen and clean their teeth, they get filed down to an appropriate length. (Cranky Puppy here: This one is scary and I wonder if anyone has ever considered making a scary movie out of it. You know - like Hitchcock's "The Birds"? "The Squirrels!!!!!" )
- Ever wonder how they remember where they put their nuts? (*giggle*) After squirrels break a nut open, they clean it by licking it or rubbing it on their face before they bury it. This scents the nut and makes it easier for the squirrel to find it later.
- Why are squirrels so...well...squirrely? Have you ever had one dart out into the street in front of your car and run around erratically? It is believed that the squirrel is attempting to confuse the oncoming vehicle. Sadly, it doesn't usually work. It's said that most squirrels in urban environments are struck by a car before their first birthday. Or shot by gardeners protecting their tomatoes.
All kidding aside, I do love the silly little critters. My grandmother had a pet squirrel that liked to red around in her bouffant hair-do (think 50's). I fondly remember nursing some baby squirrels to adulthood when we cut down some disease-ridden Elm trees in our backyard and discovered we had inadvertently made a family of squirrels homeless. And then there was the time that I was chattering away at one of them in the front yard and he went up in the tree and started dropping things on me. I suppose I deserved it.
So how about you? What will YOU do to celebrate Squirrel Awareness Month?