11 December 2008

On campus, a study of erratic squirrel behavior

The Hawk, a publication serving students on the campus of St. Josephs' University in Philadelphia, has published this story about squirrels behaving oddly (at least to human eyes) on their campus.

Campus squirrels gone nuts? - Features

The authors of the article quote experts who posit various reasons for the acorn-dropping dude and the trash-can athlete - and some of these reasons are academic - entirely appropriate, I might add, to the campus environment. Who better than a biologist, for instance, could assess squirrels' seemingly misanthropic activities? (And also to point out that squirrels are not an attack species, and will NOT go on the offensive without sufficient real provocation.)

What better environment than a university, an oasis of learning, in which to spin such theories, right?

But has everyone here forgotten that, on many campuses, it is also Finals Week and squirrels, too, must cram for the ultimate exams that will determine their G.P.A. for the semester? (Gray Point Average). Squirrels are cramming mightily at this time of year: Cramming acorns, cramming nuts, cramming leaves, cramming corncobs, cramming whatever they can. Winter is the ultimate final exam and during Finals Week, even squirrels get a wee bit nervous.

So forgive them their transgressions. They're still learning too.


Lone Grey Squirrel said...

True! Squirrels are no slackers! They are stressed and misunderstood. Haha!

Henry the Dog said...

What my mum can't understand is why there isn't a HUGE squirrel population around us. There are tons of acorns and we also have lots of other nut trees (walnuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts) so you'd imagine it to be a hive of activity. But she only sees the odd one or two. Are they shy creatures? Perhaps it's because mum doesn't really know what to look for.

squirrelmama said...

LGS, I do believe squirrels have a bad rep as slackers. Almost as if on campus they would be the ones to read the cheat-sheets known as "Cliff's Notes," instead of the full novels. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are SO industrious!

Henry, it sounds like you and Mum are blessed with a rich array of trees, and any American squirrel might be insanely jealous of that. But unless your local squirrels are completely acclimated to the presence of humans (and cute pups) on a regular basis, they may scatter for the treetops upon your approach.

Kat Mortensen said...

Don't you think a publication called the "Hawk" reporting on squirrels is bound to be somewhat biased?


squirrelmama said...

LOL, Kat! Totally biased!! :-)

babbler said...

Squirrels are always hitting the books to improve themselves, as they are often outside my window going over exam questions, squeaking loudly. They can be whiny, but at least they get things done. The squirrels get along fine with us slugs, so we have no problems with the noise factor. This is a very thoughtful blog, tail flicks to you! I am, and will remain, your most obediant servant, very truly yours, Happy holidays to you from Mrs. Slug, Slugs Rest, Toledo, Oregon, USA

squirrelmama said...

Greetings to the slugs and many thanks for your comments!! I think the trick may be to arrange for the squirrels to be positioned outside your window while the exams are actually taking place and have them signal the correct answers to you with various coded flicks of the tail!