The Squirrels of MSU | Our Wildly Domesticated and Fantastically Furry Friends

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Squirrels are the unofficial mascots of Michigan State University. They race along the bike trails, hide amongst the trees in the botanical gardens and happily perform acrobatics for anyone passing by. As we go about our business on campus, we notice them with unspoken familiarity. I’d like to introduce you to a few of the resident squirrels on campus, although… you’ve probably already met.

Chipper likes to live up to her name. She is always ready to cheer up a student after a long night of studying or a hard day at work. Here she is, sharing a snack with an MSU student and offering some support.

Photo by Melissa Sefernick

Meet Zap. He likes showing off his short-tail style while he plays the daredevil and darts around campus bikers. These bikes don’t scare him at all, but he is a bit shy of humans on foot. He likes to be admired from a distance.

Photo by Amelia Turkette

Snickers is extraordinarily polite. Just pause for a moment along the river trail, and he will pose against a backdrop of falling leaves, curling his little paws for a treat. When he’s not posing for a photo, he spends time sharing nutty tales with his fellow squirrels.

Photo by Amelia Turkette

Skwerl is a bit of a rascal. She buries nuts in the campus lawns, chases her squirrely neighbors and yells at students who get too close to her tree. She’s a hard worker though, and since MSU squirrels don’t hibernate in the winter, she’s definitely going to be prepared.

Photo by Sarah Nowack

Nibbles is an expert at finding the coziest spots on campus. Give her a tree, some sunshine and maybe an acorn, and she is content. Here she is, sitting on her avant-garde chair, enjoying a moment of zen.

Photo by Sarah Nowack

Humphry has been on campus for many, many years. He is a sophisticated soul who likes harvesting nuts on academic grounds — particularly between the MSU Museum and the Broad Art Museum. That explains why he lives in the trees of West Circle.

Photo by Caroline Johnson

These are just a few caricatures of the many squirrels which grace our beautiful campus. Take some time in your busy schedule to say hello this fall. MSU squirrels will eat almost any snack you may have in your lunch bag, but they also like more natural items such as nuts, birdseed and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Squirrels can be unpredictable and like their space, so be careful if you get close. You don’t want them to nibble your fingers … or steal your granola bar.  


Amelia Turkette is a senior studying professional writing. When she isn’t busy with class and working full time at MSU, she loves taking walks with her dog Bree, making a mess in the kitchen, and cozying up with a cup of coffee and one of the 10 good books she’s currently reading. Catch up with her on Twitter @amelia_turkette.


Tags: animals, Campus, fall, funny, Michigan State University, MSU, nature, squirrels, trees