If mammalian intelligence is measured by the representation of critters that inhabit institutes of higher learning, squirrels must rank among the elites of the erudite.  Every campus with which I’ve developed familiarity over the years seems overrun by populations of tame, tail-twitching squirrels who skitter among the trees and fearlessly approach humans along campus sidewalks.

My undergrad. alma mater, Louisiana College was overrun by sleek, well-nourished Fox Squirrels, known for their lazy, laid-back demeanor.  My current campus, LSU Eunice, is populated mainly by Cat Squirrels, much more nervous and frisky than their Fox Squirrel cousins, but nonetheless entirely comfortable in the presence of humans.


Northern Colorado University Squirrels consort with graduate students.

And this phenomenon is evidently nation-wide.  My daughter here at University of Northern Colorado poses with a couple of cute little buddies who are known on that campus to comfortably accost pedestrians to beg for edible treats.

Perhaps the presence of squirrels supports the argument of some who believe that people who live and work on college campuses are squirrely?  I’m sure there are some (among the anti-intellectual) who support that view.  I’ll not buy into that suggestion by any stretch, as I’m not willing to self-confess to squirreliness.

Ultimately, squirrels grow populous on college campuses because such public spaces tend to be spacious, well-kept havens where the docile creatures can thrive without having to struggle to survive as do their not-so-fortunate cousins in the wild.