Animals have been invading student residences uninvited this semester. Annmarie Magnus ’19 and her apartmentmates had this experience when they found two bats in their Morgan Apartment this year.
“I went to turn on a light in the bedroom [and] a bat flew at my face,” Magnus said. “It circled around the ceiling a couple of times and would not go out the door. Then we called Campus Safety and they show up with two tennis rackets and bang things around a bit.”
While Campus Safety wasn’t able to catch the bats, Magnus and her friends ultimately succeeded at ridding the apartment of the unwelcome visitors. Many animals — including raccoons, skunks, deer and bats — have been frequently spotted around campus. Despite their visible presence on campus this semester, Grounds Manager Steve Vaden said this is nothing new. “We’ve probably had as many skunks as we’ve ever had, same way with raccoons,” Vaden, who assists in managing skunks and racoons on campus, said.
Vaden also offered advice for students dealing with natural pests: “For [students] living in apartments, stop setting your trash out on your porch,” he said. “That’s an open invitation for the animals to come in.”
Due to Kenyon’s rural campus, run-ins with skunks, raccoons, deer and other wildlife are inevitable. If an animal gets inside an apartment or dorm, Vaden advises to “leave the door open and just shoo it away.” If it is a consistent pest, Vaden said the maintenance staff will either trap the animal and release it somewhere else on the property or euthanize the creature.
“We try not to trap any more [animals] than we have to. … We’ve taken raccoons and just basically run them back down in the woods, and most of the time they will leave,” he said.
Vaden encouraged students to refrain from feeding the animals. He said skunks and raccoons in particular can carry dangerous diseases and will gravitate toward food sources.