College Students Go Nuts over Squirrels

A brief history of their complicated relationship

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Some college students feed peanuts to squirrels.

This week, a Yale student emailed Gawker alleging, “there are no squirrels left at Yale,” and speculated that school officials exterminated the rodents over the summer. “Fury and uprising is expected,” the anonymous student wrote. A university spokesperson assured the Huffington Post and the New York Observer,“Yale has no squirrel extermination program and has not tried to reduce or manage the squirrel population.”

But this student is not the only one who has been especially protective of campus squirrels. Here’s a glimpse at the complicated relationship between college students and the rodents since the 1930s:

–As early as 1938, squirrels have been terrorizing Harvard University students in their rooms.

–A squirrel broke into a dorm at Elon University and drowned in the toilet.

–True New Yorkers, the squirrels at Columbia University have a penchant for pizza.

–”Michigan Squirrels” was established at the University of Michigan in 2002 for the sole purpose of feeding peanuts to squirrels.

Legend has it that the squirrels at Vassar College are “the returned souls of English majors who couldn’t find jobs after graduation.”

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Screenshot of a “white” fox squirrel from an online field guide produced by the University of Texas alumni publication Alcalde.

–University of Texas at Austin students recently mourned the death of an “albino squirrel” (not actually albinos, just a color variant of a fox squirrel); seeing one ensures good grades, according to college legend.

–A biology major at Knox College studied the winter habits of the campus’s fox squirrels by using GPS to locate each nest and then creating a computer-generated map.

–A less scientific study of the University of Washington’s squirrels in 1997 recommended the fat rodents go on a “strict diet and exercise program, consisting of wholesome nuts, berries and tiny treadmills!”

–At Penn State University, one student felt squirrels were looking a little bare, so she made hats for them.

–In a YouTube video “Conversations with Squirrels,” Beloit College “spoke” to the rodents to get their view of campus life.