If you ever talk to a college student about wildlife on campus, no matter what university they attend, they will claim that their school has the wildest squirrels you’ve ever seen.
“Campus squirrels” are seen in countless threads and dozens of articles online, such as Saint Louis University’s “7 Squirrels You’ll Meet in College.” These characters include “That Squirrel Who Somehow Ended Up Outside Your 7th-Floor Window,” “The Squirrel Who Leaps Out of the Same Trash Can at You Every Day at 4:15 p.m.” and more.
Although schools like Saint Louis may claim their squirrels are superior, students at Salisbury University take pride in the opinion that none can compare to the bushy-tailed, crazy-eyed members of the Sciuridae family found on Salisbury University's campus.
These squirrels are so peculiar that they have a cult following and their own Instagram account, @Salisbury_Squirrels.
The Squirrels of Salisbury account is, “dedicated to the furry savages known for gobbling nuts, digging in trash and banging in trees around SU’s campus,” the bio reads.
On their page, SU students are encouraged to send in their own videos and pictures of squirrels being squirrels on campus, as it highlights the oddest moments witnessed.
Founded last year by SU senior Amelia Trotter and SU sophomore Alissa Saverino, the account has documented over 25 squirrelly encounters on campus, ranging from a sneaky squirrel who heisted a bagel to a savage squirrel consuming a small bird.
Speaking of birds, these manic mammals have a troublesome history with their avian adversaries. On a cloudy March afternoon, the bird vs. squirrel feud escalated into what some students described as "the most dramatic and traumatic sighting in campus history."
A hawk swooped down in the Academic Commons parking lot and scooped a squirrel in his talons, coasting above the cars and into the sky. SU junior Hunter Johnson caught the event on video.
“Honestly, it was wild. I had my phone open at the perfect time to capture it," Johnson said. "I was going to study at the library, but I’m glad I was able to catch that insane moment.”
Johnson isn’t the only one who’s had a close encounter with a winged creature on campus.
This past April, SU senior Jesse Lancaster was studying in Henson Hall’s chemistry lounge when his friend notified him that there was a bat in the hallway, sitting on one of the lab door handles.
Curious, Lancaster walked down the hall to see the tiny visitor.
“A bat in your hand is worth more than a bat in the hallway,” Lancaster said.
Lancaster decided to relocate the bat back outdoors. Lancaster parted ways with his companion and released the bat onto the balcony, where the bat proceeded to literally “hang out” for a while before continuing on its way.
While their encounter was brief, Lancaster admits that he will never forget the time a bat joined him in an academic building.
“Even though Bruce the Bat only stayed with us for the day, we know he is somewhere looking down on us wishing us luck on our finals,” Lancaster said.
Bats are not the only furry mammals who have had the urge to join students in the classroom. On a much larger scale of mammal, SU made headlines when a deer shattered the glass of the Guerrieri Student Union in November of 2015.
Subsequently, the deer was then euthanized by university officers because it was "significantly injured,” according to a statement from SUPD.
Squirrels, hawks, bats and deer, oh my! SU’s campus has an ecosystem that seems to keep both students and animals on their toes.
Serving as high-quality and free entertainment, the campus creatures are as unique and diverse as the student body. You really never know what you’ll witness, or what unusual friends you’ll make on your daily walk to class, so watch out — SU’s gone wild.
By MEGAN SOUDER
Featured photos: @Salisbury_squirrels via Instagram, Hunter Johnson and Jesse Lancaster images.