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FSU Wescott building/area
FSU Wescott building/area
Original photo by Flora Domitrovic

Don’t Go Nuts for the Squirrels on Florida State’s Campus!

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

We see the critters everywhere, burrowing nuts in the mulch by a bush or climbing up a tree to scurry away from people walking a little too close. Squirrels are decorated all along the green areas of FSU, hopefully making everybody’s day a little brighter with their presence — because I sure know they do for me. 

They’re fluffy, cute, and have bold personalities. You almost forget that the squirrel is a rodent! The Sciurus carolinensis, or the eastern grey squirrel, is the most popular type spotted on Florida State’s campus and is native to North America. 

Now, why are these rodents so prolific around campus? This species of squirrel is known to be very adaptable, which is why they thrive in areas that are dominated by humans. They feed off students’ leftover lunches and can survive in conditions overrun with noise pollution. Plus, the eastern grey squirrel is able to keep up in numbers because it mates twice a year. As explained by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, they mate from late December to February and from May to July, giving birth to around two to four offspring each cycle. Only around 25 percent of these gray squirrels survive their first year, with that rate increasing to 50 percent once they are a year old.  

In fact, these squirrels are so popular around campus that an entire Instagram account was dedicated to them. @Squirrelsoffsu on Instagram (although not active anymore) has 15 posts dedicated to the squirrels with creative captions like: “I can’t talk. I’m hiding from my boyfriend because he said I was nuts.” These captions are meant to represent what the squirrel is saying in the photos the Instagram user captured of them. 

I was lucky enough to be able to connect with Gianluca, a student from the University of Miami, to ask about the animals on his campus. “We really only have ducks around here since there’s a pond in the middle of our campus,” he explained. “To be honest, I’m glad that we don’t have too many squirrels. I personally find them filthy and annoying.” As to why? Gianluca didn’t necessarily have an answer but claimed that he was squirrel-phobic.

For my next respondent, I was able to conduct an interview with Sammy Squirrelton, a squirrel that is usually found around Azalea Hall. I asked him what he thought of the FSU students around campus. “They don’t know how it works around here. I’m working 9 to 5 trying to find nuts and seeds but these kids are throwing their trash into my territory and even chasing me,” Squirrelton said. He threw his nut on the ground in anger and continued, “The day I turn around and start chasing them like I did at UF is the day they don’t mess with me again.”

Obviously, Squirrelton has some problems with the students on campus. I don’t necessarily blame him though. Leaving the squirrels alone and allowing them to live in peace is the bare minimum for our fellow creatures. These squirrels are not only pawsitively delightful to admire but also provide great benefits to the environment.

Sometimes, the squirrels will forget where they burrowed their nuts and seeds, allowing plants or trees to sprout there. Some of the decades-old oak trees that provide shade and back support definitely owe their lives to previous squirrels. As every animal is a part of the ecosystem, so is the squirrel. The squirrel contributes to the food chain and feasts on insects and even baby birds. This helps keep everything in balance. 

So, when you see a squirrel, maybe take a step or two closer and catch a photo, but don’t go nuts for them!

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Hi! My name is Neomi Lee Chapelin and I'm currently a freshman at FSU. I'm attempting to enter the College of Business for Accounting, but I'm interested in creative writing and journalism.