There is a new animal on campus stealing the spotlight from the squirrels, and that, of course, is the raccoons.
All over Instagram and Snapchat, students are sharing captured memories of these masked animals, each daring to get closer to the raccoons than the last. One student, junior Sal Santillan, took to Snapchat to share his midnight adventure with the campus raccoon affectionately dubbed Herman.
Santillan had just returned from Jack in the Box in the late hours of the night and found no parking close to his dorm, forcing him to park in the Scott parking lot. As he got out of his car, he noticed a raccoon standing in front of his car, staring at him.
“He seemed curious and not aggressive which was weird, so I just watched him for a while and he could smell my food so he came up to me and didn’t seem too vicious so I ended up hanging out with him for a while,” Santillan said.
In his Snapchat video, Santillan documented “Herman” coming up to him and petting his shoes and leg. As Santillan sat down to eat his food, the raccoon waited patiently beside him watching him until Santillan offered him a curly fry.
Due to the raccoons’ growing popularity on campus this year, they appeared to have increased their activity. However, according to Campus Safety Officer Phillip Cotton, the raccoons have been here all 9 years that he has worked at Vanguard.
“Every summer there’s a litter of them that come out,” Cotton said, “there’s two sewer drains . . . they go down in there and they stay there during the day and at night they come out of there.”
According to Cotton, there are no more raccoons this year than there was in past years. More students are out at night around Scott to see them interact.
“Students get freaked out and go ‘there’s a raccoon what do I do?’ stay cool and you’re fine,” Cotton said.
Cotton mentions that in past years the raccoons enjoyed sneaking under the Psychology portable. Since last year the portable was redone which has most likely caused the raccoons to find a new haven in the Scott building.
“We get calls every so often ‘there’s a raccoon here what do we do?’ just leave them alone, go about your business,” Cotton said.
Campus Safety urges students not to feed or pet the raccoons in the case that they could be rabinous. Cotton warns against feeding the raccoons or else they may become as bold and aggressive as the squirrels.