CANTON, Ohio--Hundreds of squirrels live on-campus at Malone University. The students and staff love them, but not the damage they leave behind.
Physical Plant Director Jim Palone said they have caused all kinds of problems over the years.
"They get on our main incoming power lines. They short out transformers and we lose power to portions of campus,” he recalled. “They've climbed into air conditioning units on rooftops and eaten control wires. They’ve gotten into attic spaces of buildings and eaten cables. They eat copper flashing. Those are just a few of the things the squirrels do here."
He said the campus is a hot spot for squirrels because of all the trees. He said many of them produce fruits and nuts.
“We know they're going to be here, but we just don't want them in buildings causing damage,” said Palone.
When the little creatures aren’t causing damage, they’re providing lots of entertainment.
Mike Terry, a senior at Malone, said they’re a fun distraction.
“The squirrels have kind of become campus celebrities. It's a small, kind of quiet school, so the animals we have on campus, we make a big deal out of,” he said.
The squirrels are so popular, they have their own Twitter account.
Terry said the posts can be pretty funny.
"They post a ton of different stuff, like they had a picture of a squirrel that said RIP Steve #stopthehawk because there's a hawk on campus that sometimes swoops down and gets them, so just silly stuff like that,” he said.
— Malone Squirrels (@MaloneSquirrels) September 14, 2013
Palone said while the hawk has helped control the squirrel population, it’s not enough.
He said they need to make sure no one is feeding them either.
"Keeping our distance and allowing them to be wild and not interfering in their daily living, those are things that we can choose to do,” said Zoo Supervisor Kristin Beck from Malone University.
CLICK for the Malone Squirrels' Twitter page.