Only in Indiana: Squirrels of IU

Instagram: Squirrels of IU

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WTHR) — Indiana University is known as one of the more beautiful college campuses in the country but that beauty seems to attract more than just students.

"They all have their territories," Emily Jones said.

Jones has taken notice.

Photo: Instagram - Squirrels of IU

"When I was a freshman eating my lunch sometime sitting outside of class eating my sandwich, and this squirrel came up and sitting right there. I never experienced that kind of a close look at the life of a squirrel," she recalled.

She started noticing subtle differences in the squirrels.

"Bumpkin lives here. He is the fattest one on campus," Jones offered as we walked a portion of the campus where Bumpkin lives.

She also started taking pictures. Like documenting Bumpkin's curiosity with a shopping cart loaded down with nuts.

Instagram: Squirrels of IU

"We put nuts in it and he pushed it down this path," she said.

The pictures became so popular she started posting them on Instagram.

"It started like a private joke that kind of blew up," she noted. "Now it has become part of the culture here."

It's more than the Instagram entitled "The Squirrels of IU." Now there is a club that touts some 60 to 70 members.

"Daily visits, naming them, make the rounds every day. We like to call it squirrel patrol with the whole club. We generally go out together," she said.

There is Linus who she nicknamed Limpy because of a bad leg, and Charlotte who really started it all and loves to ham it up for the camera by pancaking herself to the ground for closeups.

Charlotte lying in a tree. Photo: Instagram - Squirrels of IU

"They are brother and sister," Jones said. "Been in the same nest for a bit. They are in a playful mood."

And they all take notice when Jones comes around.

To prove it we armed her with our go-pro, and it was like following the pied piper.

"There is a certain rhythm you do to get them to respond. This imitates the tail. You go '1, 2, 3. 1, 2, 3, 4. 1, 2, 3' and I get them to come most of the time," as she moves her hand up and down.

But this double major in music and journalism will be graduating soon. So what happens when she quits coming around? Jones says other club members will carry the weight and she says the Instagram page will continue.

Jones said she feels they'll remember her.

"Time will only tell so," she said. But she has certainly proven there is more to the Bloomington campus than meets the eye.