Nazareth College is home to many furry animal friends like chipmunks, rabbits, woodchucks, deer, and even the majestic horse, but one animal in particular that all Nazareth students and faculty know well are the brave little Nazareth gray squirrels. I know it might be hard to believe I’m actually writing a blog on squirrels because it’s likely you’d think they are the most uninteresting rodent (except of course when they star on some YouTube channel where they find themselves navigating an extreme obstacle course) in the wild kingdom. The squirrels here are easily the highest populated little critter on campus with it extremely common for students to see up to ten squirrels as they take the short five minute walk to class! Holy smokes, that’s two squirrels a minute! Not only are they plentiful in numbers but they have unique personalities; since they are constantly interacting with students who generally pay little attention to the squirrels you’ll find they are unafraid of people. They’ll scurry around digging up nuts just meters from your shoes, seemingly ignoring you are even there.
But wait! The squirrel’s reputation has preceded him. The albino squirrel is a squirrel of many talents; he haunts this school as if it were the Catacombs of Paris, he is as legendary as Colonel Chamberlain of the 20th Maine, and is majestic as a giant sea turtle casually following the ocean current through the bright blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Let’s just say this squirrel has a reputation. It’s not uncommon for students who attend Nazareth for all four years to never spot the fabled creature, but it just so happens that the writer of this blog has; the life changing experience took place on a hazy evening just after finishing a match of Quidditch. I had decided to walk back to my residence hall alone by taking the long route around Golisano so I could take a chance to ponder the meaning of life. While walking, I noticed shuffling in the long grass around the base of an old willow tree, what I saw next is an image I’ll never be able to erase from my memory. My body became motionless, I could not believe what I was witnessing, the fabled albino squirrel was but twenty feet from where I was standing. I remember he took one large hop from behind the grass and stood on his hind legs, I made brief eye contact with his piercing blood red eyes and I then became a dysfunctional human being unable to even move a finger. Air become irrelevant as I no longer took in oxygen to breathe, my mind was on shutdown with nothing occurring except an odd sense of anticipation, and my muscles were so tense I can still recall massive uncontrollable muscle spasm throughout my body. The experience was sudden, and it was over as fast as it started, he disappeared into a line of field chickweed never to be seen by my eyes again… aday I will never forget.
If you ever find yourself coming to Naz, take note of what I’m saying. Be kind to our furry little friends, take in their hilarious personalities, and enjoy the incredible spectacle of squirrels gone wild.
Coming soon to Nazareth’s Wild Kingdom: Rambunctious Rabbits & Bumbling Bunnies