Students at Yale University were horrified recently when they returned to campus and didn't see any squirrels. At least one person quickly assumed there was a conspiracy afoot, but the university insisted it did not use any sort of squirrel termination program.
But Yalies aren't the only ones who love their campus squirrels.
Penn State University has its own "squirrel whisperer," Beloit College used squirrels as spokespeople and Princeton University cherishes their beloved black squirrels.
We went through and picked out the dozen or so colleges that are most obsessed with squirrels and listed them below in no particular order.
Black squirrels are not common on the East Coast, but for whatever reason, there are a lot of them in Princeton, N.J.. There's a myth that a biology
experiment is the reason for so many squirrels, but another legend suggests a devoted town residents, Moses Taylor Pyne, imported black and orange
squirrels to match Princeton's colors. Regardless of why they're in Princeton
, the community loves 'em.
Another Pennsylvania school where the squirrels apparently show no fear around humans, and have been known
to throw acorns at students.
Albino Squirrel Preservation Society
Students were devastated when a beloved white
squirrel was killed in a terrible bike accident.
Reader writes in that "every Longhorn who ever lived wrote a Facebook status about it. Head coach Mack Brown was seen crying in the street and President Bill Powers couldn't eat for days. We love that squirrel! And all squirrels for that matter!" (We're guessing Brown and Powers didn't go that far, but point taken that everyone was bummed.)
Another reader further explained to HuffPost about the love for these little critters:
The second noteworthy point about the squirrels here is that there is an abundance of large albino squirrels. That's right- they are completely white and have red eyes. Students often refer to these immaculate specimens as "The Albino Squirrel" although there are in fact many that inhabit UT campus. These squirrels are so important to us students that we even created a tradition (or to be more accurate a commonly believed superstition) a number of years back that is directly related to them: If at any time on the day of an exam, prior to the exam, a student catches a glimpse of an albino squirrel on campus, he or she need not worry because they will do well on the exam.
There's even a campus chapter
of the Albino Squirrel Preservation Society.
The squirrels are such a UT fixture that the Texas Exes added info about them in the campus tour guide.
Hook 'em, squirrels!
Students have had squirrels jump on their feet, seen the critters
refuse to move away from them and display "big and bold personalities." Some students consider them the unofficial mascot of the college
"I feel like they have more of a conspiracy going on," Alana Horton said
. "If you walk across campus, at least five squirrels will be there looking at you, like they're coordinated."
Any school that adorns the nickname
the Fighting Squirrels obviously deserves to be on this list.
DePauw has some huge squirrels
. One HuffPost staffer insisted they are "mutants." On top of that, they're known for acting strange and doing flips in the grass
Beloit's "squirrels" made a video
to explain what it's like for them to live at the college. The school said they estimate
200,000 or so squirrels are around campus.
Yale students were worried this fall that their campus squirrels were the victims of a mass killing by school officials, but the university insisted they had no squirrel termination program
Harvard squirrels are fine walking right up to you
, "sometimes a bit too close," as one Crimson writer put it
. The university has documented the strange encounters with the small mammals in the Harvard Squirrel Archive
, showing news articles
from as far back as 1882 about interactions with the cute little guys.
There is a legend at Vassar
that the squirrels on campus are the "returned souls of English majors who couldn't find jobs after graduation." Maybe. But there is definitely a "Vassar Squirrel Association"
whose president sometimes writes op-eds
about human behavior.
Penn State loves their squirrels. They have a popular Facebook page dedicated to Sneezy the Squirrel
, a little critter who allows a student to place silly hats on his head. They have the PSU Squirrel Twitter
account sharing his thoughts about campus. The university has used squirrels to remind
students to drink responsibly. Apparently these are the most friendly squirrels in all the land. Valley Magazine says
they aren't sure "what's in the acorns around here, but seriously, Penn State squirrels are a species all their own."
Northwestern students constantly worry about the small mammals jumping
on their bike seats and other "squirrel-on-human aggression," the Daily Northwestern reports. Squirrels have apparently lost all
fear of humans and view people as "walking vending machines." As one HuffPost editor attested: the squirrels are "pure evil."
The Squirrels of Wash U Facebook page
documents multiple incidents of squirrels frightening students by doing things such as jumping out of trash cans or stealing their lunch. The university calls their email system "SquirrelMail."
One HuffPost editor who attended the university said there was a legend that the squirrels on campus were drunk, because some of the mulch Wash U used came from Anheuser Busch's woodchips. That editor also claimed to have witnessed a squirrel getting carried off by a hawk, squealing the entire time.
UIndy uses squirrels to combat littering and smoking. They have crazy squirrels
. They also have @daUINDYsquirrel
One reader shared this testimony:
We have resident squirrels near Good Hall that regularly block the sidewalk, demanding food in exchange for safe passage. A history professor, who shall remain nameless, once stopped mid-lecture to address the issue. “It won’t be long,” he said, “until we see an article in The Reflector about students dying from violent squirrel attacks.”