Red squirrel carrying a mushroom
© Michael Quinton/Minden Picture
A real fun guy…er, squirrel. National Mushroom Month
Oh, to be a squirrel with a feast such as this! It's National Mushroom Month in the US, and it seems our red squirrel friend here in Alaska got a literal jump on celebrating. It might surprise you, but squirrels don't only eat nuts. They'll eat just about whatever's around and that includes big mushrooms. Though almost 20% of wild shrooms are toxic to humans (and 1% are straight-up deadly), squirrels can eat many of these frightening fungi thanks to special proteins in their guts. Nice to know someone's enjoying them.
Did you know the United States has a Mushroom Council? Since the early 1990s, the US Mushroom Council has worked as a Research and Promotion program of the Department of Agriculture. After an informal declaration during a Pennsylvania mushroom festival, the council proposed National Mushroom Month not just to highlight mushrooms as a culinary delicacy, but also to showcase many other uses for the more than 900 million pounds of mushrooms the US produces each year. Believe it or not, we use mushrooms to build, clean, medicate, and even make leather – and so much more.