Undergraduate Student Blog, Speaking of Princeton

Undergraduate Student Blog

Author: Aidan Gray ’18

Bethesda, Maryland • Classics View Profile

Animals of Princeton

Not Quite the Audubon Society: A Guide to Field Identification

Grab your binoculars and safari hats because today we’re talking about the wonderful and varied critters of central New Jersey!


Squirrel — the bread and butter of Princeton fauna, the average Princeton squirrel is totally relaxed around humans. This lack of fear comes from one, and one thing only. They’re smarter than us. Rumors have been passed down for many years now about squirrels that can operate locks, open windows, abscond unattended apples and granola bars…be wary. They may seem cute and fluffy, but with their great numbers, there is nothing they can’t do.

Chipmunk — The smaller, stripey cousin of squirrels, chipmunks are capable of holding very large nuts and seeds in their cheek pouches to store them for later on. As such they are the unofficial mascot of upperclassmen not on the dining plan.

Dog (Domesticated) — it’s always a nice day when you come across someone from the town of Princeton walking their dog on campus. Petting a stranger’s dog makes for a surprisingly effective study break.

Cat — No one believes me but I *swear* I saw a Cat outside Frist Campus Center once.

Raccoon (rare) — Technically I think it lives off camps, but there’s a massive raccoon in the woods on the southeastern side of campus. Only ever seen at night, which makes it the stuff of urban legends.

Bird — Like that one that’s always outside Firestone Library. What are you even doing? You’re a bird. You can’t read.

Rabbit — Quick and always alert, Princeton rabbits are equipped with excellent hearing, rapid jumps and numerous burrows: the perfect strategy for surviving on a college campus where it has no natural predators.

Deer — New Jersey has more white tailed deer per square mile than anywhere else in North America. Although often sighted on campus, they are easily frightened—sorry, that was first year students I was talking about.

Tiger (very rare) — Although our mascot is the Tiger, the University doesn’t bring actual tigers to our sporting events. At least, not anymore. I asked the Basketball student manager why we don’t make better use of our mascot and he pointed out that without opposable thumbs, tigers are actually quite bad at shooting hoops.

Saber Toothed Tiger (extinct) — Inside of Frist, at the back, there is a display case with a leaping Saber-Tooth skeleton.  The “Smilodon,” as they are called, was last seen around 10,000 years ago, which makes them a good analogy for seniors when they disappear to work on their theses.