Wesleyan’s Wildlife: A quad squirrel checks in

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Jake Thaker, Staff Writer

 

Fall is definitely in the air, and the the squirrel community is also hard at work taking advantage of autumn to prepare for the colder months.

“One way we keep ourselves warm in the winter is by eating a lot during the fall! We increase our body mass in order to use that extra weight to survive during months when food is hard to come by,” said chief squirrel representative, Earl the Squirrel.

Fall proves to be the prime time for acorns and walnuts, staples to the squirrel diet.

“You might also see us burying nuts in the ground, which we do in order to hide them away from each other so that we can eat them later!” he said.

Not part of their diet, however, are corn or peanuts. Addressing students who leave food on the ground or feed squirrels, not knowing the restrictions, squirrels love veggies and nuts.

“There are always so many fries left on the ground outside,” said Earl, speaking about Tommy’s and trash on the ground.

This is coincidentally his favorite place to go on a dates with a “cute chipmunk” as a result. Squirrels also have noticed cigarette butts on the ground, which are extremely poisonous when they chew on them. Making sure cigarettes go into ashtrays and not on the ground is the simple solution to this problem.

“In terms of being clean, students really like to throw their ice cream on the ground outside of saga and CNS, but we do tend to be really great at not littering outside of that,” senior Nicole Chlebek said. “The Aspiration fountain poses a problem due to its poor filtering ability. They now use chlorine to clean the water, which can harm any animals that try to drink it or are exposed in some way.”

“For the quad, sprinklers do not work sustainably nor efficiently. Most of the water ends up evaporating on the sidewalk instead of the grass, where we could use a drip line to more precisely water the grounds.  Also, we could use collected rainwater to be more conservative in our usage,” continues Chlebek. “I also think our campus could do a better job of having more native prairie species on campus.“

Ideas for improvement aside, IWU is doing fairly well with sustainability, said Chlebek. “Our campus has a growing amount of edible plants, such as the paw paw trees in the back of the chapel and apple trees on Park and Phoenix Street. Also, the Peace garden has grown immensely over the years and is a beautiful success,” says Chlebek.

Earl agrees, “I think IWU does a great job teaching the students about the importance of being environmentally conscious, and my only thoughts are to keep up the good work!”

Being their only home, the squirrels are “very happy with life on campus right now,” according to Earl, who happens to be multi-talented, much like the IWU student community.

“I play drums and am a member of a squirrel band. We’re currently looking for a lead vocalist, so if you know any squirrels who are particularly good at squealing then please contact me on the IWU Quad Squirrels Facebook page!”