Official squirrel etiquette at UC Berkeley

Hayden Irwin/File

Although UC Berkeley is officially the home of the Bears, unofficially, it also houses a large squirrel population, most of which can be observed immediately after unwrapping any type of food in public. A common misconception is that interaction with these arboreal rodents is easily done. In reality, it takes years of training and study in order to properly make contact with these magnificent, yet terrifying, creatures.

In past years, new admits were traditionally subjected to an intense yearlong program that prepared them for the trials and tribulations of dealing with squirrels in their everyday lives. But because of budget cuts, that program has been scrapped and the responsibility of squirrel-related education has been delegated to us at the Clog. In light of this development, we congratulate you on your admission to UC Berkeley, and present to you the Daily Clog’s official guide to squirrel etiquette, to which you may refer for all of your squirrel-related needs.*

Michael Drummond/File

Michael Drummond/File

Upon encountering a squirrel, you must crouch to the ground and mime the squirrel’s exact actions — sniffing, chewing and/or chittering — in order to appear nonthreatening and avoid attack. It is of utmost importance that every aspect of the squirrel be precisely replicated, down to the last whisker twitch. Considering that humans lack many squirrel appendages, such as fur and a tail, we recommend that students wear a full-body squirrel outfit, not supplied by UC Berkeley but available at the student store, at all times.

If you must approach a squirrel, do so only with extreme caution. These animals are voracious predators and have been known to launch themselves at unsuspecting passersby if they sense even a morsel of edible food on their person. The correct squirrel-approaching technique takes years to master, but because all you’re getting is this article, we’ll let you know that it definitely involves a triple-axel, a somersault and two to three separate instances of jazz hands. Make sure you move slowly and, of course, wear your squirrel suit.

Displaying excitement over a squirrel encounter is only acceptable given two conditions are satisfied: you’re a freshman or other first-year student, and it’s been less than seven days since the start of the fall semester. If one or both of these conditions aren’t true, then you’ll be forced to endure heavy judgement from most of, if not all, the general public. Note: displaying excitement includes actions such as cooing, screaming, pointing, yelling and taking pictures to put on your Snapchat story.

In rare instances, a squirrel may hesitate to pounce. This gives you the opportunity to present it with an offering of food and, possibly, win its allegiance. Acceptable foods to offer to your new rodent acquaintance are unsalted nuts, raw fruits and vegetables and a fresh sacrifice of raw human meat, preferably still attached to its screaming owner. Approach the squirrel at ground level, squirming forward on your belly while holding the food out in front of you. Don’t open food in public if you don’t wish to share it with a squirrel.

Please keep in mind that UC Berkeley does not condone the use of on-campus squirrels in the creation and deployment of any and all nefarious rodent armies. If you must create and deploy a nefarious rodent army in your quest for revenge on the society that belittled and shunned you, please utilize squirrels from an off-campus provider, or bring your own from home.

*The Daily Clog is not responsible for any squirrel-related injuries — mental, physical or emotional — that arise from following these guidelines. Please treat squirrels with care and respect, and remember: When you open food near a squirrel, you do so at your own risk.

Contact Ariel Sauri at [email protected].