One thing I’m taking from my time as a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is that college is not only a time and place to learn, explore, and grow as a person, but it’s also a time to form a newfound appreciation of squirrels.

A surplus of squirrels is not exclusive to U. of I.—it exists on campuses nationwide. There are thriving squirrel populations at campuses all over the nation, such as Grinnell College, University of Maryland, and Missouri State University. College campuses tend to have large squirrel populations because semi-urban, tree-filled university campuses are an ideal habitat for squirrels, according to Mother Nature Network. Research has even found that college-campus squirrels are more amenable to humans than squirrels that inhabit wooded parks. Conducted by students at Miami University in Ohio, the research project found that the campus squirrels let people approach them “to a point 9.2 feet away on average,” while the squirrels in the park let them approach them “to a point 16.9 feet away on average.”