Published: Feb. 22, 2024

CU Boulder's campus is 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, that 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.

  • If you are bitten by a squirrel or other animal on campus, clean the wound thoroughly and contact Medical Services at Wardenburg Health Center. They can provide information about wound care, signs of infection and next steps. While squirrels do not pose a risk for rabies, they can transmit other diseases that may require a tetanus booster.

  • 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.

  • If a bear does come on campus, wildlife managers want to remove it safely, and without tagging it unless absolutely necessary. A tag will show that it has been to the city once. If a bear gets two tags, it will need to be euthanized by state law. More information about bears from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

“CU Boulder’s setting provides ample opportunities for observing wildlife, enhancing our enjoyment of campus and the outdoors,” said Wildlife Manager and Integrated Pest Manager Troy Muller.

CU staff works together with wildlife specialists, Boulder Animal Control and Colorado Parks and Wildlife when dealing with wildlife issues on campus, Muller said, and wildlife is handled with the utmost care to ensure the safety of the animal.

“CU also invests in 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,” Muller said.

“What makes CU Boulder such a special campus is the staff, faculty and student body can observe the wildlife and we can all coexist with each other. I feel very fortunate to work on such a beautiful campus and be around all the beautiful creatures that call this place home."


 Read more from CUBT: Bear safety tips

Bears are sporadically seen in the Boulder foothills and, on rare occasion, campus during the months they are active, which is typically mid-March through November. Learn how to safely co-exist with bears.