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OPINION: Interview with Meredith Squirrels

College students are known to be stressed and busy. Squirrels are known for their preparedness and tom-foolery. These squirrels have become a crucial part of the ambiance on campus, as many students find great release in their chaotic antics. Meredith has a lot of traditions, but students, staff, and alumni alike can appreciate the charming addition that squirrels are to the campus atmosphere. Although the overwhelming majority of squirrel sightings have been positive, some interactions have been a little more chaotic. We took to collecting personal squirrel experiences and interactions of others on campus.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission confirms that there are five types of tree squirrels; gray, red, fox, southern flying, and northern flying. Meredith hosts a ubiquitous gray squirrel population on its campus. Squirrels are classified as omnivores, but they prefer to eat nuts, mushrooms, leaves, seeds and insects.

Many college campuses have access to docile wildlife as a result of constant contact with humans in their environment, and Meredith's most prevalent critters are squirrels. Our squirrels are observed to be beefier than your average squirrel due to the access to garbage and having little to no competition for food on campus.

To give one of our own accounts of the squirrels on campus, it was the Fall of 2022 and we were on our way to Belk Dining Hall for a nutritious dinner when we spotted two girls headed back from that direction, clearly distraught. Our first reaction was confusion, but nevertheless, we persisted. Very quickly we realized what those girls were affected by, and quickly the horror settled into our bones. Running across the brick path was a squirrel with a baby mouse in its jaw. To spare the gory details, suffice it to say that it was a pretty graphic scene. Because they are wild animals I understand why that sort of thing would occur. It was pretty shocking because the squirrels have reliable access to food while on campus, so I am not sure as to why they would revert to baby mouse slaughter. We had no idea that squirrels ate anything besides acorns.

@merecosquirrels is an Instagram page dedicated to capturing the silly squirrel moments that occur on Meredith’s campus. When the creator of this page was asked why they created the account, they said, “My inspiration was the way that many students here refer to the squirrels as part of our campus. Their antics and sometimes chaos was something I wanted to capture.” This student also has more than a few squirrel anecdotes of her own. She said, “I was once chased by a squirrel that was on its belly (which is called “splooting”). I walked past it, without antagonizing or bothering it, and it started army crawling on the sidewalk after me. Once it had completed its ‘mission’ to scare me, it ran off.”

After asking other students for squirrel anecdotes on The Herald Instagram, Kelsey Smith ‘25, said that they would “feed [the squirrels] walnuts and bread” and that “watching them run around just brings [her] so much joy. They are so funny and are like no other squirrel.”

Another student, Dayhona Hall ‘27, said that she “was walking to the gym one time… and a squirrel jumped out of a trash can right in front of [her].”

Although many college campuses have access to squirrels, due to their constant contact with humans in their environment they have become more docile than your average critters. It is quite similar throughout the college campus experience because the wild critters roaming campus are constantly exposed to humans which is why they act so goofy and not like rabid crazy style animals.

By Lys Evans, Contributing Writer and Liese Devine, Features Editor

Photo by Grayson Morris



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