The Campus Squirrel Whisperer

Video posted December 10, 2012 in News by Sana Mehmood


She’s only a freshman here at Penn State and she’s already famous. 

Mary Krupa became known as the campus squirrel whisperer after being discovered by the Penn State blog Onward State. Mary not only feeds the squirrels and talks to them, she also dresses them in tiny hats. 

PartyhatIt all started when she was thinking of birthday card ideas for her grandmother. After she saw how friendly the campus squirrels were, Mary decided it would be creative to put a party hat on a squirrel and use that picture in her birthday card.  When pictures of hat-wearing squirrels started to crop up on Facebook, students became fans of “Sneezy” the Penn State squirrel. 

Sneezy is the name Mary gives to all friendly squirrels she comes into contact with. She came up with the name after hearing a squirrel sneeze while she was interacting with it. Now, whenever Mary’s with Sneezy, students who walk by immediately recognize the squirrel and even stop for a few minutes in admiration. All of the Sneezys on campus let Mary feed them, pet them, and play with them. She says the squirrels are so friendly that they’ll let anyone play with them. She also says that she enjoys this hobby because she finds it relaxing. 

Beyond gaining publicity around Penn State, Mary has started to get recognized nationally and even internationally. She was mentioned in Comedy Central’s Tosh.0 blog and was also contacted by a reporter from the United Kingdom. 

Mary makes the squirrel hats herself out of paper. She's made baseball caps, football helmets, and cowboy hats, and at times she accessorizes her squirrels according to season or holiday. For Halloween she made a little witch hat and for Christmas she made a Santa hat as well as a winter hat. Along with hats, Mary also creates other accessories like sunglasses and earmuffs. As she makes more hats, Mary regularly updates Sneezy’s Facebook page for her followers.  The idea that started with a squirrel, a hat, and a birthday card is quickly approaching six thousand likes.


Onward State Writer on Squirrel Whisperer

Penn State squirrel whisperer, Mary Krupa, was first discovered by the blog, Onward State. Onward State was established in 2008 by three Penn State freshmen at the time. The goal of this blog is to keep the Penn State community up to date on student life. Writer, Maggie McGlinchy, writes features and humorous articles for Onward State and was the one who broke the squirrel-whisper story. She is junior at Penn State, majoring in Print Journalism.