Have you planted your monarch flowers yet?

Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa, is a stunning choice of a milkweed species! It’s native and perennial–it comes back every year.

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L is for Lucky Ladybug

What better way to celebrate a Friday the 13th than by honoring the lucky ladybug?

It’s not just us squirrels that think a ladybug–whether seven-spotted or not–can be lucky. Farmers in North America, where the ladybug is from, have always known they help crops, so much so that children were told it would bring bad luck to kill one. A single ladybug–or ladybird beetle–eats 5,000 aphids over its lifetime. That’s a lot of crops saved from having their sap sucked out.

Their fame has spread to other cultures. Some people believe if one lands on you, it will bring good luck. Or if it lands on a object of yours, that thing is improved.

Seven is widely considered a lucky number, but if one does land on you, count the spots. That’s supposedly the number of months your good luck will last. The stronger the red color, the stronger your luck will be.

We squirrels think you better look for one like this!

K is for Keep Calm and…

Keep them messy!

Now this isn’t the perfect suburban forest floor–it’s got a few of those invasive vines in it, but the leaf litter under the hollies and oaks is an oasis of acorns and bugs, and even a few mushrooms pop up, all tasty to us squirrels.

I certainly can’t find any of that here:

The ground has been raked clean of acorns. The small nooks where insects can winter over and feed on decaying leaves are gone. And daffodils? You humans do realize they are poisonous, right? No squirrel with any woods-smarts touches them!

You humans might like a neatly mulched area of woods, but it does exactly zero for wildlife.

Even if our suburban woodlands aren’t perfectly native, Keep them Messy, please!

H is for Honeybee

Protecting bees, both colonies and solitary bees, is very much in the news these days. If you can’t host a honeybee hive, perhaps you can put up a bee house for naive bees?

Or help all bees within a 2  mile radius of you by planting nectar and pollen flowers. Don’t know how to start? We found this great article on rethinking your lawn and garden to become a bee oasis from the Honeybee Conservancy Website.

And for our Motionless Monday post, bees are making it big in the wildlife statue realm…

F is for Frozen

And by frozen, we squirrels don’t mean what most of you humans are thinking…

We mean it’s gonna snow again! Yes, we are expecting below zero temperatures tonight and through next week! Please keep an eye out for wildlife–we’re as shocked as you are–and just like in the dead of winter, keep water unfrozen for us. Thanks!

Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day!

We had to break our hiatus for a little celebration…

Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day! 

Thank you for following our squirrel stories on The Squirrel Nutwork and, out in the real world, enjoying the antics of 200 species of squirrels everywhere!

However, we squirrels aren’t naive enough to believe all humans love us. Some become very angry when we help ourselves to the food you put out for other wildlife, or take the opportunity to widen a hole in your house to provide a safe place to rear our kits.

Maybe some of you can explain that we are all sharing space in a world where wild places are getting harder to find, and acorns aren’t falling from every tree. (What are some of those species that do nothing but look pretty?)

For today, let’s celebrate that Christy Hargrove, a wildlife rehabilitator from Asheville, North Carolina, cared enough about squirrels to create a day to honor us! Thank you, Christy!

Acorns for all!

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

For today’s mystery, I’m asking if you know what kind of turtle this is?

I’ll check back later for your answers!

~~~

We’ve had a few correct guesses, so I decided to pop in and confirm that the turtles are Red-eared Sliders. That red mark along the side of the head is quite distinctive, as is their ability to ‘slide’ into the water when danger approaches.

Red-eared sliders are now a common turtle in ponds even outside their normal range, and are considered invasive. Unfortunately, this is because many have escaped or been let go as pets. They eat both plants and animals in the water, preferring still water of ponds, but also slow-moving streams and rivers. With high numbers and more rugged ability to adapt, the red-eared sliders replace shyer, native turtles and might be one of the reasons frogs are on the decline.