Environmental researchers at UCF reported stunning news in a recently published study on the effect of recent campus construction and innovations on the local wildlife ecology. Reportedly, squirrel weight around campus has been reduced to almost half of the previously determined average. Researchers point to the recent shutdown of the old food court within the student union as the culprit to this recent change in squirrel eating habits, along with an increase in squirrel aggressiveness.
“We’ve observed a lot fewer people eating lunch outside the student union, due to the recent closure of most of the food court. This has increased how desperate the squirrels are becoming for sustenance, picking off more student victims one by one. Fewer students don’t understand it’s crucial to not show fear when these squirrels approach them” stated researcher Annie Gialombardo. “We tried to educate the student population on the dangers of not standing up to what we term ‘alpha squirrels’ but these furry critters were still remarkably successful at finding targets to take food from.”
Methods to catch squirrels in order to weigh them included multiple approaches, but the most successful involved placing one to three small freshman who have recently experienced their first college exams as bait. UCF researchers theorize that the squirrels have slowly evolved on UCF campus to be attracted to those under stress in order to quickly ascertain which humans are most likely to be overeating at the time. As squirrels approached their victims they were quickly netted and brought back to the lab for weighing.
UCF students were generally happy with the news that the squirrels had been losing weight, many saying that the squirrels “deserved it” and that it was “about time. Huey Magoos weighed in with their opinion, stating that they were concerned this recent trend is only a predictor that squirrels are about to become more desperate as the colder months approach us. Huey Magoos assistant manager Ryan Sworziak commented, “We are already prepping our squirrel defenses that include decoy acorns and dog cut outs strategically placed around our establishment in order to best protect us from any increased squirrel attacks in the future.”
Researchers are excited to present their findings at the next Environmental Science fair coincidentally hosted by Weight Watchers.