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Students from all over the country come to Quinnipiac University in Connecticut to have fun and get a good education. Most even enjoy Sleeping Giant Mountain and the colorful foliage that accompanies the fall season.
However, one thing students do not seem to bargain for is the abundance of wild animals that scamper around campus and cohabitate with students on university grounds.
“Coming from the city it was a complete culture shock,” said Nick Gilleran, a sophomore legal studies major from Massachusetts. “There’s too many trees and a lot of animals, especially squirrels.”
Although Connecticut residents are accustomed to squirrels, skunks, raccoons, possums, chipmunks and deer roaming around, out-of-staters are shocked and even frightened to encounter one of these foreign creatures.
“I never saw a skunk until I came to quinnipiac,” said Christine Rocchio, a sophomore occupational therapy major from New York.
These animals are usually harmless (except for the skunk, of course) and will run away at the first sight of a human.
However, some of Quinnipiac’s animals are often a little bolder, similar to pigeons in New York City, since students usually leave them alone.
“The squirrels are crazy,” Gilleran said. “One ran right through my legs on Commons bridge last year and I got really freaked out. They are like rats with furry tails.”
Some of the creatures even like to sneak into dorms or give students a “little scare” by hiding in garbage cans and poking their heads out at inopportune moments.
“The other day my friend and I were trying to walk outside of Perlroth and a squirrel was running around like crazy and then jumped in the garbage can,” said Danielle Bruen, a sophomore marketing major from New Jersey. “We kept trying to leave and it kept sticking its head out and scaring us!”
Skunks especially fancy hanging around the parking lots and near the Commons area.
“It always smells [like a skunk] here,” said Meghan Converse, a sophomore physical therapy major from Pennsylvania.
“Last year I went outside after doing laundry in Commons and a skunk was roaming around and I ran away!”
If animals begin to get overly friendly, students should be wary because the animal may have rabies. Some of the symptoms of rabies, particularly in squirrels and raccoons, is staggering around, as if they had a little too much to drink at Toad’s Place, and the traditional foaming at the mouth or nose. Something else to watch out for is if an animal that is usually only seen at night is lying out in open daylight.
With colder weather approaching and the university’s close proximity to wooded areas, Quinnipiac’s wildlife will be out in force, collecting food for the upcoming winter.
As long as students remember to stay out of the animals’ way, they and their furry friends will be able to continue to peacefully share a habitat-as long as the four-legged ones do not start registering for classes.