The Northern flying squirrel can glide 135 feet through the air—and a few of these furry mammals have landed in Quinby House this fall. Jeff Tuttle, senior associate director for facilities operations and maintenance, says the squirrels appear to be gone from the House but advises students to take certain precautions to prevent similar infestations in the future.
Calvin Kinghorn ’21, a Quinby resident, said House members began noticing the squirrels as the weather got colder in November. He encountered a squirrel in the kitchen a few weeks ago.
“I noticed something rustling. I went in there, and I thought it would be like a little mouse or something, but I saw these glowing eyes just sitting there on something a little bigger than a mouse,” he said.
Flying squirrels do not actually fly, but they can glide over a hundred feet down from treetops.
“They’re pretty quick little buggers,” Tuttle said.
The College also called on Grant Connors, a Brunswick resident known as the “critter-catcher” who has made a business out of removing animals from other people’s homes. The former science teacher said he moves hundreds of creatures each year.
Connors said that animals are often drawn to homes in towns like Brunswick, because residents often leave food and water sitting in the open. A bowl of cat food, for example, can just as easily become a meal for a raccoon, possum or skunk.
While those animals sometimes burrow under buildings or enter homes on the ground level, flying squirrels can enter through an open window, a broken screen or a hole in a building.
Tuttle said it’s important that students keep their windows closed, particularly at night, as the squirrels are most active between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. He added that, if window screens are missing or damaged, students should contact Facilities for a replacement.
Yesterday, Connors took a thorough look-through of Quinby’s attic and found no signs of a mass infestation—a positive outcome, given the squirrels’ tendency to live in groups. He also found no sign of where the squirrels were entering the building, suggesting that this fall’s squirrels simply flew in through windows.
Tuttle said the incident serves as a reminder that students should report any wild animal sighting to Facilities immediately, so the issue can be addressed before it becomes an infestation.
Connors noted that incidents like this one are common, although Bowdoin students may not always realize it.
“There’s an awful lot of wildlife in town, and people don’t see it until it touches them,” he said.