News

Students share campus with exotic creatures

Sophomore Jacqueline Villavicencio was eating a muffin on the way to class when it fell to the floor. Before she could pick it up, a squirrel had spotted it from a distance and snatched it.

The squirrel is one of many animals that make a home at the University of Miami, along with crocodiles, iguanas, macaws, flying fish and the campus mascot, the ibis.

“The wildlife gives a more exotic feel to the campus,” senior Pavi Raj said. “There are also a great amount of lizards.”

Theodore Fleming, a biology professor at UM, identified the large, bright green lizards that students see around campus as the Cuban Knight Anole. They are native to Cuba and are descendants of the anoles brought to Miami as pets by Cuban immigrants.

The macaw, a blue and yellow parrot species, are often heard on campus squawking – a mechanism to keep the flock together.

Senior Robin Clayton enjoys the sound.

“It’s nice to hear something besides manmade things on the way to class every day,” she said.

Macaws, however, aren’t the only birds that live on campus. Employees and customers of the Rathskeller often encounter black, iridescent birds called grackles stealing food.

“They’ve become so used to people that they’ve become bold,” Fleming explained.

Senior Corinne Stokes, who has worked at the Rat for four years, says the grackles come close to outdoor tables and annoy customers.

Other animals, such as alligators, crocodiles and manatees, enter campus via the canal system and inhabit Lake Osceola. UM is one of two campuses in the United States to have manatees.

Twice this semester, a crocodile has left Lake Osceola to cross the street near a group of students. No one was hurt, including the crocodile.

As long as students keep their distance from the animals, the chances are “infinitesimally small” that they’ll be attacked, Fleming said.

“These crocodiles never threatened anyone and by nature are very shy,” Fleming said.

“There’s no reason to think they would bother anyone.”

Anthony Minerva may be contacted at anthony.minerva@gmail.com. Samyog Pokhrel-Willett may be contacted at bubba00637@hotmail.com.

March 31, 2008

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

From the onset, the Miami Hurricanes' plan was for the Carol Soffer football indoor practice fa ...

Gino DiMare on Tuesday stood in a spot that two men before him had crafted into a pinnacle of succes ...

The NBA Draft is on Thursday, and the buzz around the league is that the University of Miami’s Lonni ...

Former NFL and University of Miami star Kellen Winslow Jr. was arrested Thursday for numerous allege ...

Trevor Darling's perseverance paid off. After not being selected in the NFL Draft, the former U ...

Teachers tackle challenging questions at the Holocaust Studies Summer Institute. ...

A University of Miami lecturer explores the role of the front porch in black communities. ...

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, two public health sciences students traveled to Puerto Rico to ...

Colder Atlantic temperatures could change hurricane season forecasts, but the trend isn't expec ...

UM neurorehabilitation expert David S. Kushner, M.D., who helps modern patients recover from brain s ...

NBA Draft will be held Thursday evening in Brooklyn. ...

First-year Miami head soccer coach Sarah Barnes released Wednesday the team's schedule for the ...

Gino DiMare was officially introduced as the 10th head baseball coach in program history Tuesday in ...

Jaquan Johnson was named to Athlon Sports' Preseason All-America First Team, while Shaq Quarter ...

An outstanding showing at the USATF Championships earned Symone Mason a trip to the World U20 Champi ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.