Squirrel Shenanigans: Why Squirrels are HMC’s True Mascot

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You may have heard that Wally the Wart is the HMC mascot. But as someone attending the institution, I believe this statement is incorrect.

I present to you the true mascot of Harvey Mudd: the squirrel! 

Squirrels rule the campus. They are fluffy and fun, but incredibly mischievous. Their young run wild across the campus, digging burrows, jumping from tree to tree, and… relaxing?

A squirrel laying on a sidewalk
Photo Credit: Kaitlynn Gray

Interacting with Mudd’s true mascot is always entertaining. But, sometimes, the squirrels remind us of who is in charge. In the Fall of 2022, the squirrels welcomed a bunch of baby squirrels into their community. These squirrels enjoyed learning the campus layout and frequently hung out in the grass and bushes. However, they were still learning how to interact with humans! While the older squirrels would stare when humans passed by, these squirrels would run directly in the path of a human to escape, leading to a fun human-squirrel dance. 

At least, it should have been a fun squirrel dance, but it usually leads to fear on both sides as the squirrel desires to return to safety, and the human, sometimes on wheels, must dodge them. I believe the squirrels use this tactic to remind us of the hidden power they possess – the power to take over the school once and for all.

As an admissions intern, I have sworn my loyalty to Wally the Wart and have no affiliation with the Squirrel Squad. But I feel a bit suspicious that the squirrels are waiting for the prime moment to strike. After all, two are stationed at my desk. To chill? To watch my every move? I am unsure. Rest easy, though, I have run this article by them and they seem pretty chill about it. At least, I think they are…

Two small stuffed animal squirrels on a shelf with paper birds in between them.
Photo credit: Kaitlynn Gray

Hannah Dearman-So ‘25 shares, “It all started one day when I came walking down from the third story of Shan. First I saw the floor  –  it was covered in foam and bits galore, and I thought to myself what a mess! Talk about someone with bad manners leaving litter everywhere smh. But then my gaze began to scan the mess all the way back to my BIKE SEAT!! OH THE HORROR!! My trusty bike seat was ripped to absolute shreds. But even this wasn’t enough for the squirrels. About a week later I began to notice holes developing in my fabric bike basket. THE SQUIRRELS HAVE STRUCK AGAIN! I currently live in fear – afraid to park my bike under trees and across the [academic] end of campus for fear that they might come for my tires next! Stay safe out there everyone!”

Three photos, picturing squirrels near and on a blue bike.
Squirrels around bikes! Photo credit: Kaitlynn Gray

Ashley Tan ‘25 shares that she once watched a squirrel fall out of a tree onto someone’s foot. The squirrels really keep us on our toes!

Nithya Yeluri ‘25 shares, “They look weird.” As someone who has gotten approval from the Squirrel Squad to post this, I believe weird is actually an acronym for “Wonderful, Energetic, Ingenious, Resourceful, Daring squirrels.”*

Holly Chen ‘24 shares that she saw a squirrel climb up a tree with a pink flower in their mouth. But before the squirrel could enjoy their prize, the flower fell to the ground, leaving them with a single petal in their mouth. Even as the squirrels experience sad times, they make a positive mark on the campus.

Ryan Nguyen ‘25 adds, “The squirrels have always been kind to me, but they have a strange desire to be run over.” I believe that this is further proof that squirrels rule the campus. This isn’t a desire to be run over, but a desire for us to make way for the epic, majestic campus squirrel.

*W.E.I.R.D acronym generated by ChatGPT

This blog was written by: Kaitlynn Gray '25. Major: Computer Science. San Fernando Valley, CA