The Daily Gamecock

Column: Squirrels take on social media

<p>One of the campus squirrels eats a nut while sitting on a tree branch outside of Russell House.</p>

One of the campus squirrels eats a nut while sitting on a tree branch outside of Russell House.

At 1:26 p.m. on December 18, 2018, Twitter user @rodger posed a question:

“1. did you attend a college with squirrels on campus

2. did people assert that your school’s squirrels were, in some way, different from most squirrels”



At 5:22 p.m. on that very same day, the University of South Carolina responded:

“Do not come for us when we did not send for you, Rodger.”



Rodger Sherman, the owner of the account, was understandably stunned.

"50-ish colleges replied to my squirrel tweet from yesterday and most were like 'our squirrels are special because they love State Tech sports!' except South Carolina which I think threatened to murder me? it is the only school I respect," Sherman tweeted the next day. 

It’s no wonder the campus squirrels have a cult following. From carrying an entire slice of pizza up a tree to snatching Chick-fil-A fries straight out of the box, these squirrels will stop at nothing to obtain that which they most desire — food.

But in recent years, squirrel sightings on campus have not been enough for their devoted fans. They have taken to social media in order to spread their messages to a wider audience. What exactly those messages are, however, no one is quite sure.

A squirrel sits on a branch in a tree outside of Russell House.

The first major social media squirrel sighting took place in 2012 with the creation of @USCSquirrel on Twitter. The account — which claimed to be run by the squirrels themselves — would tweet words of encouragement and general observations to their loyal following of over 4,000 people. While the account has not been active since 2017, it stands as a memorial to the squirrel shenanigans of yore.

More recently, a new account has emerged, picking up where the squirrels' old twitter left off. @usc.squirrels is an Instagram account devoted to the critters. Its ownership is still up for debate, but all signs point to the squirrels. The account serves as an exploration into their 

A squirrel sits on a branch in a tree outside of Russell House.

minds, answering many of the students’ most pressing questions. Do the squirrels prefer their Chick-fil-A fries with or without ketchup? How do the squirrels feel about the cicadas? Are they okay with everyone constantly taking pictures of them?

So, while the campus squirrels have gained a wide following, they have not let the fame go to their heads. The squirrels continue to do what they have always done best: steal food, climb trees and generally get too close to people.


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