Some call her the Squirrel Whisperer. Others go with Squirrel Girl. Either name suits Mary Krupa just fine.
Four years ago, Krupa became an internet sensation. As a freshman at Penn State University, she made some unusual friends: the abundant campus squirrels.
As a freshman in 2012, Krupa wondered what a squirrel would look like with a tiny hat on its head. She managed to get one on and snapped a picture.
Soon Krupa was holding photo shoots: plopping little caps, bonnets, or boaters—once even a helmet—onto furry noggins. She’d often coax squirrels to hold miniature props—a “Go Penn State” sign or a basket of Easter eggs.
Photos of “Sneezy the Penn State Squirrel” garner thousands of likes on Facebook. They’ve been featured in magazines and calendars.
Krupa kept dreaming up amusing scenes for her squirrelly star: Sneezy pushing a tiny shopping cart filled with acorns, playing football, raking leaves, teaching school, having a tea party. Most of the photos feature Sneezy in a squirrel-sized hat.
“It’s nice to make something and see that people like it. But I didn’t think it would last this long or become this popular,” Krupa admits.
Squirrel Girl is an unlikely celebrity. Growing up, she was always fond of wildlife. People were another matter.
Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism, Krupa was a loner in high school. But at college, Sneezy helped her feel less awkward.
“The squirrel’s actually a good way to break the ice. I’ll be sitting here patting a squirrel, and other people will come over, and we’ll just start like feeding the squirrels together and chatting about them,” she says.
Though she’s graduated from Penn State, Krupa still plays with the campus squirrels. She lives in the area—ready to welcome the next class of Penn State squirrels.
One afternoon, Krupa looked for Sneezy near the trees alongside Penn State’s Old Main. She called softly, holding a container of peanuts under one arm.
A few minutes later, a squirrel sat on Krupa’s lap. It’s the current Sneezy. (There have been several.) Krupa stroked the squirrel, and then placed her favorite hat—a fruity creation made with a 3-D printer—atop Sneezy’s head. It fell off, and the squirrel scampered away.
“They’re definitely wild animals, and I always respect them,” says Krupa, who minored in wildlife science. “But at the same time, it’s neat that they’re willing to let me interact with them. We do seem to have this mutual trust.”
This is really cool. I think it is really neat how animals can help people with all kinds of problems. :)
I love animals, and this is super cool!
Hilarious! But how does she coax the squirrels so easily?
Lily Grace F
That's so cool! I know a lady at my church who has a pet squirrel.
I saw this in the Mag! So sweet!
I THINK IT IS SO COOL!
If you know how to knit or
If you know how to knit or crochet go to:
and you can donate hats, mittens, scarves, etc to families and children in need
I'm glad that she is still respecting the fact that this is a wild animal!
I still don't see how Sneezy can hold up the 'Go Penn State' sign for that long without loosing intrest or running away. (:
BOOYAH SHOCKA LOOYA WHAT'S IT TOO YA!!!!!
thats really awesome how she can communicate with squirrels
I think she is a dog whisperer but with squirrels. Am I right or not?
Those hats are really cute. but no pen state but go Iowa Hawkeyes.
DANG YOU NEED SOME MILK!!!!!!
DANG YOU NEED SOME MILK!!!!!!!
If you read this article and
If you read this article and are now scrolling to see the comments, you must love animals, am I right? If you care about animals, it would be worthwhile to join in a series of comments in the animal cafes article. we are starting an animal shelter, and would love for you to join.
How to get there: put you mouse over the word "TOPICS" at the top of the screen, and a list should appear. Click on "POP SMART" and it will go to all the recent pop smart articles. at the top is a picture from squirrel girl, and right below that is the article about the animal cafes. Click on it, and go to the comments section.
squirrels with hats look so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That would be awesome to see that in real life.
Its amazing that sneezy can do all that stuff! and to do it for a human. Iv'e tried to get close to squirrels but they always run away from me :(
I'm good with cats but I don't think I can be good with wild animals like squirrels.
This is pretty cool!
This is pretty cool! squirrels usually just run away from people but shes putting hats and such on them!
Wow! She has a great personality of working with animals! That would be fun!
That is SO FUNNY!
it's cool how the squirrels just come right up to her!
This article is interesting. It reminds me of a series were watching called heartland. Amy Fleming in the series is a horse whisperer. do any of you watch heartland its a really good series
I do not know how she does it!