Julia Sklar, Presentation Editor

U.S. Not-Real-Newsweek recently added a new ranking that places UR at number one: “Best Campus Zoo.” Among the many recognitions the University has received for its outstanding education, this most recent achievement could not have made students more proud.

While the school’s official mascot is the Yellowjacket, most yellowjackets on campus are missing for most of the academic school year. The one week during which they can be spotted is during Orientation in August, when bugs become students’ first best friends at UR. But after the second week, the campus boasts a variety of other animals in order to educate students about multiple forms of life.

Harrison the Hawk is a popular sight at the University. He — or maybe she, since no one has been brave enough to really go near the untamed creature — is usually seen swooping down for squirrels in front of Strong Auditorium and many other buildings on the River Campus. The best way to spot him is to look for students standing with their phones held high and their mouths hanging open as if they’ve never witnessed something so exciting. Apparently, a scary-looking bird having lunch is the most intriguing daily event at UR — other than snow, of course.

The next main attraction after Harrison the Hawk is Rango the Raccoon. Rango has recently been taking some time off to recuperate from ill health, but before that his rabid nature was much appreciated all around campus. Students find Rango in many places, such as garbage cans and huge dumpsters near the Residential Quad. He also entertains students by making spontaneous cameo appearances in broad daylight in front of Hutchison Hall. His drunken gait amuses students to no end.

Once again, students getting closer to Rango for a picture — because raccoons are rare and mystical creatures, obviously — should be reminded that the animal in daylight is maniacal and can rip anyone to shreds if it so desires.

Groundhogs are also commonly seen around campus. Unlike raccoons, groundhogs are actually very friendly creatures. They have grown so accustomed to humans that they actually don’t mind being gawked at and will usually waddle around without a care, regardless of how close students stand. Chances are they’ll cause heart attacks by scurrying between bushes. Or they’ll simply dig their way closer to where you live.

But the fun doesn’t end with those animals. There are many other creatures to be observed around campus. For example, there’s an albino-esque squirrel — fondly known as Snowball — that likes to shoot out of garbage cans and scare residents leaving their dorms.

There are also birds that like to sing for students, even when it’s 6 a.m.

The best place to see what wild really means, though, is the Fraternity Quad. There you will observe beings of great mystery holding strange red cups filled with liquor — I mean liquids — that surpass the taste of sweet nectar. Their behavior is majestic and proud as Security scolds them for being underage, and sometimes they even get taken away in stretchers.

There are cats on campus as well — particularly fat ones — that make it clear how much UR students really love the wild. Furthermore, there’s been some thought about inviting over the bear that was spotted on the Rochester Institute of Technology campus last year.

UR’s first-place rank for having the best zoo on campus comes at no surprise, and more greatness is expected from the University.

Panda is a member of the class of 2014.




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