UCF Knights and Squirrel Squires


One instance of UCF’s sacred squirrel, either hated or loved by UCF residents without a clear explanation as to why.

Layla Hubler, Staff

Have you ever walked around a college campus and thought, “Wow, why do the squirrels act like dogs?” At the University of Central Florida, this experience is heightened with the roomy nature of the campus, allowing for wildlife to roam the fields between buildings. With an abundance of restaurants also on site– notably Chick-Fil-A– squirrels have really settled down and made their nest at UCF. These domesticated rodents are unnaturally friendly with the students and faculty, which leads to the underlying question: Is this adorable or horrible? 

When asked about the surplus of squirrels on campus, Professor Richard Brunson, senior journalism instructor, stated, “The squirrels are indeed really fearless here. And it’s always been this way. I remember back when I was an undergraduate student at UCF in 1981-1984 and marveled at how the squirrels would run right up to you on the sidewalk or jump out at you from behind a bush. It could be startling and disconcerting sometimes. But the wildlife I get most concerned for at present are the sandhill cranes that can be frequently seen walking through our busy parking lots — sometimes with their newborn fledglings in tow. With so many cars here — and some many careless drivers — I get concerned for their safety. But they are beautiful and I enjoy seeing them.”

While many relish in the campus’s critter connection, others believe there should be a barrier between themselves and the squirrels. One of these happens to be Tomas Jakab, a teacher at OSOTA and professor at UCF. 

When asked about the comfortable way the squirrels carry themselves, Jakab responded, “[S]quirrels on campus are a nuisance. They have gotten a little too cozy with the college students who hand them their scraps.” 

Similar to Walt Disney World and other amusement parks, colleges and universities tend to attract wildlife due to the gallery of restaurants available. With students rushing from class to class, littering is an appealing option to quickly dispose of your trash before you enter the next building. Maybe the squirrels aren’t really the problem here, and helping to restore the environment is the overarching solution.