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Campus Creatures Great and Small

Publication Date: 3/7/2013

By Aaron Banks ‘15

While Rhodes may be located in a metropolitan area, you certainly can’t tell from a walk across campus. Blanketed in over a hundred different species of trees and situated right next to Overton Park, this 100-acre tract begins to feel more forest than municipality. A large part of that sensation is due to the creatures that inhabit Rhodes’ campus and its surrounding area. The creatures of this campus are a varied and often unexpected bunch, ranging from the occasional monkey to a puppy being taken for a walk across campus.

The chatter of squirrels and singing of birds fills the air on a quiet spring day. Students love seeing the finicky squirrels scurry about campus with their charismatic swagger. Sometimes the tranquility of the birds hymn is broken by the yelling of siamang gibbons across North Parkway in the Memphis Zoo (if you’ve never heard one, watch this). While the monkeys at the zoo can be rather boisterous in the springtime, their melodic chants can serve for an interesting lullaby during naptime for Bellingrath residents. And on the subject of primates, a few rhesus monkeys managed to venture over to campus way back in the 1970s (here’s how that played out).

Not all of the exotic animals reside in the zoo, however; the Biology department houses quite a few creatures, both living and stuffed. Its collection includes several small reptiles and the bones of a mastodon found while the underground Frasier Jelke Science Center was being excavated. One of our favorite creatures in FJ is the stuffed triceratops, graciously given to Rhodes by the Memphis Zoo. There are also tons of types of tarantulas and fish that keep students company while they cram for midterms in the basement of FJ.

While Rhodes prides itself on its students, we also love seeing the various critters run about, adding to our eclectic student body. The openness of the campus is felt by faculty and commuter students alike by the dogs they bring to walk here—it’s a warming reminder of your dog Spot that waits for you back home!

For those wishing to see more of Rhodes’ animal inhabitants, come see the campus for yourself or check out the Photo Gallery on the Campus Culture website.

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