So you decided to study at USC. I’m thinking that you weren’t seduced to South Central for its vast array of lush flora or rare animals. If you were looking for wildlife beyond the Row on a jungle themed party night (or I guess club hopping in Hollywood), then you probably think four years in downtown Los Angeles wasn’t the right decision.
That, my friend*, is where you are wrong! If you were an animal living in South Central Los Angeles, where would you run away to? USC, of course! As a result, we’ve got all the rodent-like animals metropolitan areas have to offer! Squirrels, possums, and seagulls oh my!
These are not your standard squirrels. They will not run from you when you walk towards them (or even when you actively shoo them away). I have two theories about USC squirrels: they either feed exclusively on drug-laced acorns or they are reincarnated convicts. USC squirrels scare me more than any person I’ve ever encountered on or near campus. They are fearless. They want your food. And they will get it.
Personal Experiences: Well. Funny you should ask (I know you didn’t ask). Very recently, I was innocently sitting down on a bench, with my backpack next to me. I went to pull something out of said JanSport and almost grabbed the squirrel that decided to climb into my backpack. His hands on both zippers, he was hoisting himself into my backpack. I wasn’t quite sure what to do, as there is no protocol I’m familiar with for this situation. Lucky for me, the squirrel found no food and scurried away, but not before he looked at me dead in the eye. I shuddered and zipped my backpack, a changed USC student.
Pigeons are, indeed, rats that fly. They are no more interesting or less disgusting on campus than anywhere else in the world.
Personal Experiences: Again, pigeons are pigeons. There’s nothing to say. They’re boring. They poop too much. Congratulations pigeons, you’re officially USC’s most useless creature.
Ah yes, we have pigeons, but being in Southern California, we have the rich man’s pigeon too! Seagulls are just as annoying as pigeons, but they’re marginally more pleasant to look at and they make fun sounds. Plus, they make you smile a little bit because you’ll probably think something like, “You silly seagull! The Leavey fountain isn’t the ocean! Go to Santa Monica Pier or something! The Pacific is calling!”
Personal Experiences: My freshman year I thought it was absolutely magical that USC had seagulls. Now, two years in (and terminally jaded by USC’s wildlife), I just think they’re kind of cute-gross.
See, it’s KIND OF okay that squirrels are fearless because they’re sort of small. If a squirrel legitimately tried to attack you, fending it off would be a possibility. Possums on the other hand…
They come at night. You might not see them until they’re mere feet from you. Crawling. Scurrying. Coming for your feet. They are fairly large. Like the gigantic ugly hamster from your nightmares. Legend has it that they have a pact with the squirrels to instill fear in the hearts of USC students.
I heard even Robert Woods is afraid of the USC possums.**
Personal Experience: Two nights ago, I was talking to my Mama on my phone. Midway through our conversation, I stifled a scream. I’m fairly certain she thought a DPS e-mail was going to be sent out about me the next day. Nope. Just a possum. Walking towards me. I explained this to my Mom, who laughed. She didn’t understand the gravity of the situation. The possum was out for cardinal (and gold) blood.
Dogs!!!!!! (***SEASONAL OFFERING ONLY***)
Anyone who knows me at least a tiny bit knows that I really, really love dogs. I think my calling is to be the next Dog Whisperer (Cesar Milan, here I come!) Unfortunately, my dog is back in North Carolina with my parents.
A few times a semester, my week is made when USC decides to bring dogs to campus. Occasionally they’re in Alumni Park in a big pen. Sometimes it’s by the Campus Center (those are official therapy dogs, which I appreciate because they’re actually trained to deal with incessant petting from college students).
This December, look out for the therapy dogs because they make up for all the other animals USC brings about. Also, you’ll probably NEED therapy after interacting with our local possums/squirrels. Ugh.
*I know calling you a friend is rather presumptuous.
**I did not actually hear this, I just said it for hyperbolical effect. If you know (or are) Robert Woods and this offended you, I’m not that sorry but I will pretend. Also I am single and have always wanted to date a talented football player***. Two is one of my favorite numbers. Fight On.
***Dating a football player has never been an aspiration of mine, sorry for lying again. You’re still cool, Robert. I’m still single.