Campus squirrels have an ally in Ross librarian


Corey Seeman has heard a time or two about an unknown person going around and shaving the beloved squirrels that scurry around campus.

He takes advantage of the opportunity to educate the querier that a razor did not cause the baldness, but rather a parasitic mite that has given the squirrel a condition known as mange.

And Seeman knows just what to do.

Seeman, director of Kresge Library Services for the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, is a squirrel aficionado who serves that population as the eradicator of mange. Seeman and Friends of Wildlife, a wildlife rehabilitation organization, have been working together since 2019 to help ease the suffering of squirrels dealing with disease.

A photo of a man with a squirrel on his head
Corey Seeman, director of Kresge Library Services for the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, poses with an albino eastern grey squirrel on his head during a trip to Olney, Illinois. (Photo courtesy of Corey Seeman)

“If you see a squirrel around campus that has a bald spot, chances are it’s mange,” Seeman said. “It burrows under their skin and lays eggs, and it’s just a miserable existence. If you’ve ever suffered from a rash, you know how horrible that is. It’s really nice to help them mend and help them get better.”

  • Corey Seeman encourages anyone who sees bald spots on a squirrel or anything unusual about a squirrel to email him at with the general location and time of day the squirrel was seen.

Through Friends of Wildlife, Seeman receives medication-infused pecans to give afflicted squirrels. Treatment involves two doses — one to kill the mites and the second to kill the eggs — administered a week apart.

To ensure the medicated pecan reaches only the patient and no one else, Seeman makes sure to go out at the same time of day early in the week. He said it’s not terribly challenging to tell squirrels apart, and it helps that the fox squirrels on campus are comfortable around humans.

“You can often tell individual squirrels apart, male and female, young and old, if it’s a mom who’s nursing, the way they stand,” he said. “They also have a really tight living area especially with a heavily populated area like campus.

“Campus is one of the few places where squirrels run toward you, not away, and that’s just kind of charming and delightful and is a great joy.”

A photo of a squirrel eating a pecan.
This squirrel that Corey Seeman named Dobby shows the effects of mange. About a month after treatment, Dobby’s coat had nearly fully returned. (Photo by Corey Seeman)

To track progress and to keep the squirrels semi-organized, Seeman will name affected squirrels. Since mange is highly contagious and can quickly spread between related squirrels, many of the names have a shared theme. They include:

  • Patches (O’Houlihan), Justin, Steve the Pirate and Peter La Fleur, all named for characters in “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” inspired by errant tosses of nuts that clanged off squirrels’ heads.
  • Harlan and Hatcher, two squirrels Seeman treated on the Diag.
  • Boulder, after Seeman had visited Colorado.
  • Dobby, after the character in the “Harry Potter” films.

Seeman said he’s treated — and named — dozens of squirrels over the past five years, an effort he refers to as a “campus beautification activity.”

He rarely can be found on campus without a bag filled with peanuts, hazelnuts or almonds to offer, and he relies on a team of human “squirrel friends” in the community to alert him of squirrels that might have mange.

“I haven’t skipped a meeting to do this, but I’ve certainly said, ‘Oh my God, there’s a squirrel in need,’ so I grab my bag and off I go,” he said.

A photo of a squirrel with a nut in its mouth surrounded by flowers
Corey Seeman has taken more than 130,000 photos of squirrels across campus, including this one titled “Smell the Flowers.” This and more of his favorite works of art can be viewed at the Michigan Medicine Gift of Art Gallery at the Rogel Cancer Center Level 1 through May 31. (Photo by Corey Seeman)

Treating and admiring the squirrels is only the tip of the iceberg for Seeman. Not long after he came to U-M in 2005, he acquired a digital camera and has taken tens of thousands of photographs, mostly featuring squirrels.

Seeman said he’s made it a point to take at least one photo every day since June 12, 2008. The collection includes work-related events, but mostly what he encounters in nature.

“The thing I adore about it, I can see what I have done,” he said. “There will come a point when I stop remembering things, and to be able to see this. What’s amazing is that as you sit there and look semi-objectively at your own work, you can see the progress.

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“You’re doing some of your best work now, and it’s kind of great to see an artistry and an eye develop over time.”

Nearly two dozen of his favorite photos of the campus squirrels — from more than 130,000 — will be on display through May 31 at the Rogel Cancer Center Level 1 as part of Michigan Medicine’s Gifts of Art. His work also can be viewed on his website at

“Insofar as hobbies, it’s really fun to have a hobby that you can share broadly with a lot of people,” he said. “It’s funny how it’s become my ever-lasting identity, and I’ll take it. I’ll totally own up to it. I very much enjoy squirrels.”


What memorable moment in the workplace stands out?

Back in March 2020, when the campus quickly pivoted to online instruction, was the time I will never forget. The fact that we were mostly electronic allowed us to pivot quickly. However, in the mix of that first weekend, a key provider of content was hit with a ransomware attack. We would not have been nearly as successful as we were back then without the great team at Kresge Library Services. 

What can’t you live without?

My camera. And then, likely our dog, Runyon, and kittens, Fred and Ginger. I guess then the family is next (they might be pleasantly surprised to be in the top three). Fourth would be a really great camera bag — or maybe that should be second.

Name your favorite spot on campus.

My favorite spot on campus, especially now, is the area along the iron fence behind Martha Cook. I have gotten so many great pictures there of the squirrels, especially when the scilla are in bloom.

What inspires you?

Anyone focused on making the world a better place. These include Ross faculty, students and staff who are all over the globe helping organizations manage their resources more effectively to help fulfill their mission; people at animal rescues who are helping out both wildlife and future pets find a more secure future; and people who treat others with dignity and respect, even if they approach the world differently. And squirrels.

What are you currently reading?

Emails. This summer, I am planning to read “Maiden Voyages: Magnificent Ocean Liners and the Women Who Traveled and Worked Aboard Them.”

Who had the greatest influence on your career path?

My first boss in the field was Archie Motley, the great archivist at the Chicago Historical Society. Archie was one of the truly great people I have had the honor to work with. Besides possessing a tremendous intellectual curiosity, he also was never hesitant about doing what needed to be done.



  1. David Treece
    on April 12, 2024 at 4:54 am

    This is such a great story about a good person doing an amazing thing. It’s one of the best things I have read in a while. I hope this article gets wider circulation. It’s incredibly uplifting.

  2. Anne Kadrovich
    on April 12, 2024 at 7:40 am

    What an awesome human. I appreciate all they do for our furry friends. My work location has changed over the years, and I miss having all of my squirrel and chipmunk friends running up to get seeds and nuts. Kudos to Corey!

  3. Jared VanDyke
    on April 12, 2024 at 9:32 am

    I can confirm the accuracy of this wholesome portrayal. Corey is a busy, big-hearted guy who always makes time for the scramblers on campus. The squirrels too 😉

  4. Shana Hamilton
    on April 12, 2024 at 10:13 am

    I am loving the squirrel pics! Thank you for taking care of these adorable creatures.

  5. Melissa Karby
    on April 12, 2024 at 2:10 pm

    I love squirrels too! Thank you for helping them with mange! I made it a covid project to befriend the squirrels in my yard with peanuts. They now look up at my balcony awaiting a peanut delivery. 🙂

  6. Sandra Lambert
    on April 17, 2024 at 10:49 am

    What a wonderful human being! Thank you for taking care of our squirrels!

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