Spring brings out Wild UNF

Dargan Thompson

(Photo by Andrew Noble)

By: Dargan Thompson, Assistant Features Editor

As the semester winds down and spring transitions into summer, UNF students may notice an increasing amount of wildlife on campus, ranging from the rarely seen deer to various kinds of fish and bugs.

Of course, no matter what wildlife you come across, make sure you treat it with respect, no matter how strong of an urge you may have to kick the nearest goose whose poop you just stepped in. Here are some of the creatures who help make the UNF experience unique.

The geese
These guys made their yearly migration down to UNF way back in November and congregated in the many lakes around campus. Apparently deciding early that students better get used to them, the geese began diplomatically spreading themselves and their feces all around campus.

The geese also provide the soundtrack for our campus, delivering their oh-so-melodious honks at ever-increasing decibels.

Prepare yourselves walkers, bikers and skateboarders because these guys are about to get a whole lot meaner. You see, when a goose loves a goose — well, you get the picture. We’re about to have a bunch of nests around campus, and geese are very protective mothers. No matter how cute those little goslings are, don’t even think about getting near them unless you want a hissing, flapping, seriously ticked-off goose mom to chase you down.

The raccoons
While the geese are like Parking Services, irritating students by spreading their crap around campus, raccoons are more like President John Delaney, generally staying hidden except for special occasions.

An interaction with a raccoon on campus usually begins with getting startled by a pair of glowing eyes from under a Dumpster. These little guys take their Dumpster-diving very seriously. Even the covers on the trash cans can’t keep them out. They’re known to hook their legs to the sides of the hole in the trash can and lower their whole bodies into the trash can to recover hamburgers someone threw away.

Don’t worry, the raccoons won’t hurt you. If you catch a raccoon snooping, it will probably stare you down for a minute or two and then slink off to continue its hunt for the nearest discarded food.

The Green sitters
These creatures can be spotted lounging in the center of campus on any given sunny afternoon and come in many different forms.

The lone relaxer sprawls out on the grass to take a nap or read a book. This type of Green sitter can go into a sort of semi-coma, becoming oblivious to all its surroundings for hours at a time.
The guitar player usually comes with a pack of followers and tries to win a mate from among them with a mating call consisting of simple chord progressions.

Sometimes a companion of the guitar player, the hula-hooper usually comes in a pack with an array of bright colors. The sole goal of the hula-hooper is to twirl a plastic hoop around its body in many different ways for as long as possible. The result is a strange sort of mesmerizing dance.

Other creatures
The ugly duck that used to hang around the outside of the old cafe seemed rather caught off guard by the building’s disappearance in the fall. It usually still hangs around that area but has also taken to wandering campus at random. If you see it, maybe offer it a kind word of comfort for its loss, and assure it that the new cafe will be done soon. Then, it can once again quack at everyone who comes out.

Thankfully, the UNF squirrels are not overly bold. In fact, it seems that they spend their whole lives playing “The Ground is Lava,” spending any time on the ground in a mad dash for the nearest tree. The exception, of course, is when there is food involved, so don’t go offering squirrels your leftovers.

Email Dargan Thomspn at [email protected]