Published: Sept. 15, 2021

CU Boulder’s campuses are home to, or frequented by, raccoons, deer, squirrels, beavers, prairie dogs and dozens of species of birds. Foxes have also been making a rebound in the area. On rare occasions, we even get visits from larger animals such as coyotes and bears.

Hawk sits atop a light post with gold 'Be driven' flag

Hawk on campus. Photo by Craig Levinsky.

It’s important to remember, however, wildlife is wild for a reason and should be treated as such for the well-being of both the animals and our people. CU Boulder’s Environmental Services team offers a few simple reminders for students, faculty and staff about interactions between people and wildlife.

  • Do not approach or feed wild animals on campus, even squirrels or birds.
  • Do not feed the turtles or fish living in and around Varsity Lake, the Kittredge ponds or other ponds around campus.
  • If you come across an injured or dead animal, report it to the CU Facilities Management (FM) service desk at 303-492-5522 so that designated campus employees can properly assist or remove the animal.
  • Problems or human contact with squirrels, rodents, birds or other animals can likewise be reported to the FM service desk at 303-492-5522 at any time of day or night.
  • Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s website includes several resources and tips, including how to avoid wildlife conflicts and why feeding wildlife is a bad idea.
  • Websites for the city of Boulder and Boulder County also include valuable information related to local wildlife.

“CU Boulder’s setting provides ample opportunities for observing wildlife, enhancing our enjoyment of campus and the outdoors,” said Rob Lenahan, assistant director of Environmental Services at CU Boulder.

“Respecting animals and giving them space helps reduce problems, prevent disease spread and ensure we can share the beautiful campus in harmony.”

CU staff work together with wildlife specialists, Boulder Animal Control and Colorado Parks and Wildlife when dealing with wildlife issues on campus.

“CU also invests in having an Integrated Pest Management department to make sure that when animals find their way to campus, they are cared for properly and when necessary safely removed from campus, ensuring the campus populace and the animal are safe,” Lenahan said.

 Read more from CUBT: Bear safety tips

Late summer and early fall are common times of year for bears to eagerly look for food as they prepare for winter hibernation. As such, bears are sporadically seen in the Boulder foothills and, on rare occasion, campus.