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At St. Thomas, it’s not uncommon to see squirrels frolicking in the grass, running up trees or jumping out of garbage cans.
Junior Rae Horton said she enjoys watching interactions between the squirrels and students.
“When they jump out of the trash, it is the funniest thing ever because then they scare people and it’s funny to watch,” Horton said.
However, biology department chair Tim Lewis said the food the squirrels find in the garbage can hurt their health.
“Squirrels will eat just about anything,” Lewis said. “It’s going to be proteins and fats are what they’re after. Most of the American diet is fats…If they can find that in a garbage can, life is wonderful. Unfortunately, they find other things in the garbage can.”
Still, Lewis said that a college campus is a squirrel’s ideal place to live.
“This is what they evolved in, open forests where they could move a lot between the trees and move along on the ground,” Lewis said. “They’re on a place with good food, good shelter, lots of trees, and very few predators.”
This is good news for students like Horton, who enjoy sharing the campus with the furry friends.
“Ever since coming to this campus, I found a new love for squirrels because they’re all over the place,” Horton said.
Rita Kovtun can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.