Oh, the Critters You Might See on the Curry Campus!

By Nicholas Calvino, Currier Times Staff///

A new research project on the Curry campus is showing just what type of wildlife roam campus while students sleep. Photo courtesy of the Forensics Science major.

There have been sightings of a lot of different animals across the Curry College campus this semester with the new trail cameras, part of a new project underway in the Forensics Science major.

Decomposition Ecologist and Forensic Entomologist, Prof. Samantha Sawyer, has been doing research to understand how animals interact with each other when competing for animal remains.  They are using rat carcasses and insects to attract certain animals.

“So more specifically, my research looks to see how large animal scavengers are altering insect communities that colonize animal remains,” said Prof. Sawyer.

It also makes for an interesting group of animals that enjoy human-based habitats, like the raccoon and coyotes, and other animals that do not exist in high density areas and need long ranges and do not like being near people, like the bobcat. 

The research is taking place in the front of campus where the hiking trails are located and that’s also where the cameras are located.

The Curry College campus is a very unique place for these animals being next to the Blue Hills Reservation and makes for some rare sightings, like flying squirrels, for example, have been sighted.

So the reason for the game cameras around campus is to see what large animals we have around campus during the day and at night.

“We are already getting preliminary data by placing rat carcasses in front of the cameras and observing how long they take to be eaten by scavengers (and by who) as well as doing insect trapping to get an idea of who will be competing for animal remains in the area,” said Prof. Sawyer.

Students have also seen some crazy animals around campus, as well, like turkeys, raccoons, and deer. These animals are mostly nocturnal so they are more active at night when students aren’t wandering around campus.

There have been a lot of sightings of turkeys on the south end of campus. “The turkeys are always outside of the SCRH in good size groups,” said Senior Communications major, Jake Stiner.

Turkeys are a fairly common sight on campus, according to students. Photo courtesy of the Forensics Science major.

The data that Prof. Sawyer has collected should also serve as a caution for students that walk on the unknown trails on campus because the animals are untamed. It is also advised to hike mostly during the day and if you see these animals to give them the necessary space they need to co-exist peacefully.

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