A Campus Menace: Kevin the Half-Blind Squirrel


Sophia Trabanino

Menace to society squirrel chews stolen sandwich on Goode Court trash can

Haunting the Castilleja campus and terrorizing its students and faculty is a monster that lurks in the shadows, provokes fear in the daylight, and steals food from innocent civilian youth. Blind in one eye, the menacing squirrel is not only partially missing eyesight but also completely without a heart. Many a Casti student carry stories of the squirrel, stealing their peanut butter pretzels and staring them down with a piercing glare that follows them day after day.

“This squirrel is such a menace to society; he’s kind of a problem,” said Perry McElhinney ‘24. “I had a bag of peanut butter filled pretzels in my backpack, which was completely zipped up. And then I went out for a run and then when I came back from the run, my bag was open and there were peanut butter pretzels everywhere and one of my books was eaten.”

“The next day,” said McElhinney, “I didn’t have a book for English class, and it was all the squirrel’s fault. Then the teacher asked me what happened to my book, and I said that the squirrel ate it, and she didn’t believe it.”
Yet according to Sam Solomon ‘24, McElhinney is not the only one to experience theft of peanut butter pretzels by this malicious critter: “the squirrel had gone into my bag [left overnight], taken out the plastic bag and then eaten my pretzels. They were peanut butter pretzels too.”

After this incident, Solomon did not expect a repeat: “I was like oh, this is so frustrating, but don’t worry it won’t happen again.” But alas, when she looked for her favorite snack after the PSAT, she caught the squirrel running away from her backpack, where he had once again eaten through her plastic bag to her peanut butter pretzels.
“I just think that he was hungry and he wanted my snack,” remarked Solomon, “and I’m disappointed that we were both hungry and wanted the same thing and he got there first. But next time I’m coming out on top.”
Joanne Zhao ‘24 has witnessed a friend experience unspeakable horrors due to the cruelty of the squirrel, with whom she was “walking outside to throw something away…[when she] lets go of something into the trash can, the squirrel just pops out.” This encounter has repeated three times; according to Zhao, her friend has developed a fear of squirrels.

Another victim of the half-blind squirrel is Izzy Bider ‘23, who, over the course of the school year, has witnessed a shocking amount of food being stolen from innocent seniors. “One time it ate my bag of chips that I left in the stent,” said Bider, “Another time, over break, it ate through our styrofoam coolers. Now there’s just like a big hole in our cooler from that. One time I was just sitting in the stent and the squirrel was eating a bag of popcorn; it just kind of eats everything. We had pumpkins and our stent once for Halloween, and it ate the pumpkins.”

Avery Neuner ‘24 has given him a name. “There was this one morning that I was at school really early…and I saw him in a trash can,” said Neuner. She saw him rifling through bags. She said, “I was like, this is an interesting creature because he didn’t jump at me or anything. So I decided he was my friend because he was not afraid of me and I was not afraid of him. And so I named him Kevin.” Although Natalie Wong ‘24 has named him Jeremy, she is open to combinations, such as Kevin Jeremy or Jeremy Kevin.

Claire Wong ‘24, on the other hand, has formed a hypothesis that the squirrel is “very smart and knows the campus very well.” “I tried to sneak up on it,” she recounted. “That failed because it just ran away, but it knew where to run away. He has a lot of audacity for a squirrel. I’d say he’s a Slytherin. Perhaps Gryffindor because it is brave or bordering-on-stupidity brave?”

Those who have encountered Kevin are firmly divided into two camps: pro-Kevin and anti-Kevin.
Neuner, a leader of the smaller latter, thinks that “he’s curious in nature because I don’t know what his motivation for getting into trash cans and bags and backpacks and stuff is. I imagine it’s curiosity for some nefarious purpose of thievery…I am firmly pro-Kevin.”
“He can smell fear; don’t fear Kevin,” advises Neuner, “You’re bigger than Kevin. Kevin is only a threat if you let him be a threat.”

What might the future hold for Kevin? Due to the campus expansion plans, “we may have to relocate him,” hypothesized Neuner. “Whether he’ll do that himself or we have to do that, I’m not sure.”
Kayley Spencer ‘23 holds respect for Kevin, as he is a survivor: “if a squirrel who’s blind is resourceful enough to chew through all these things, find all these things, I can respect the squirrel. It’s good for him or her for living on even being blind. I respect that. I respect that squirrel.”

Lauren Lin ‘24, a squirrel expert who has been with the PHS SPCA wildlife department since June, has been privy to a different side of the squirrel. “I saw Kevin perched on top of the compost and he was nibbling on something. And I was like, wow, he’s letting me get really close to him. And so I took a few pictures and I offered my hand to him and he seemed really calm. So I gave him a little pet and we had a really nice connection.”
Lin believes that he has endured many hardships but is on the road to self-improvement: “I saw a wonderful citizen of our community ready to make changes in his life if ever he needed them to begin with…maybe he wanted some human affection that day. He should be reinstated as part of society.”

For us, said Lin, “it’s important to give him distance and treat him well, because animals have feelings. Kevin has feelings, and this form of antagonism is not coming out of nowhere. It’s coming out of deprivation. He is not surrounded by enough squirrels [on whom] he is codependent. Maybe the trauma has continued and he’s never looked past it. What’s the difference between Kevin and the rest of us? Is there one? No. That’s my final remark.”

Although Lin remarked that “that kind of rhetoric [menace to society] is what’s thrusting him into the side that forces him to rip out people’s books and eat their lunches and whatever else he did,” many Casti students are not so open-hearted towards the animal that has been a blight on their lives.

“He has caused me a lot of trouble and he’s a little scary,” said McElhinney, advising, “Be careful. This squirrel is crazy and he is going to eat your books and your food. He will eat everything. So be really careful when you’re in Goode Court.”

Zhao describes Kevin as “quite the violent personality…and quite the danger on campus. So if you ever are going to throw away your trash, make sure to peer inside for a little squirrel, because you don’t know, little Kevin just might leap out at you. Kevin is just quite the little nightmarish squirrel on campus, little rascal.”
Wong ‘24 remarked: “The blind squirrel knows what it’s doing. So don’t try to help it out by giving it food. No, it [has] enough food.” Wong leaves us with questions: “Is the blind squirrel Jeremy Kevin or Kevin Jeremy? And is it a Slytherin or Gryffindor?”