Kenyon Kritters: What is a bird?


Warning: the following is semi-educational and may trigger acute ornithophilia. Come to the dark side, my friends- we have little fuzzy dinosaurs. The author would also like to note that she is not liable for any injuries sustained from smacking your head into a tree because you were staring at a bird. Photos from the National Audubon Society.

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Kenyon Kritters: Coyotes, triumph of the underdogs

Warning: the following is semi-educational and may cause sudden overwhelming sensations of hypocrisy. 

Hola, omnivores!

It’s a chilly autumn’s eve. The leaves crackle and crunch underfoot as you stumble your way down Middle Path after a late-night essay panic-write comparing Frankenstein to Franz Kafka in the crypt of the library. Pale moonlight filters through the trees, casting strange shadows that flicker in your path and dance off the boughs of the trees. What was that? You spy a flash of motion out of the corner of your eye, right at the edge of the woods. Probably just a raccoon. A demon goblin raccoon. It’s almost Halloween, and you’ve got evil on the brain.

Suddenly, off in the distance you hear an ethereal sound, like a satanic pennywhistle. Another joins the chorus, and then another. It’s like a band of demon children tormenting everything with ears with their fiendish third grade recorders. The band swells, like it’s creeping closer, closer, closer.  You break into a gallop and high-tail it into the dorm building and up the stairs to your room, slamming the door behind you. The thought flickers through your mind as you collapse panting on your bed: could there be coyotes at Kenyon?

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Kenyon Kritters: Dear Deer

Kenyon Kritters: Dear Deer

Warning: The following is semi-educational and not recommended for the purposes of actual guidance. My colleague, Deeridre, is not a certified advice columnist, nor is her advice very applicable to modern college life, but she certainly puts our silly student problems in perspective. Take her word with a salt lick.

Greetings human juveniles of Kenyon College,

Today’s Kenyon Kritters features a special guest author: it’s me! I ran into your regular correspondent, Sarah, as I often do in the fields down at the BFEC, and she sighed and told me “Deeridre, everyone keeps asking me for advice with their human problems, like I have the slightest idea what they’re talking about!” Well, as the responsible adult, I decided to put hoof to keyboard and help the poor child out, so I’ve ruminated on your letters and attempted to answer some of your concerns. And I only ate, like, 6.

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Kenyon Kritters: Which Kokosing fish are you based on your Myers Briggs type?

Kenyon Kritters: Which Kokosing fish are you based on your Myers Briggs type?

Warning: The following is semi-educational and may make you reconsider everything you thought you knew about yourself. I am not liable for any resulting existential crises. Also, a *disclaimer*: I am not a psychologist, nor have I ever taken a single psychology course, but I did watch a lot of Frasier growing up. I’m an amateur icthyologist and that’s also an ‘ology’ with a long confusing string of vowels so it counts, okay?

Aloha Land lubbers!

Do you ever feel like a fish out of water, like no one really gets you, including yourself? When I feel that way, I like to go down to the Kokosing, put my feet at the water’s edge and talk to the fish as they dart around my ankles. They’re excellent listeners. Sometimes, I think the fish know me better than anyone. When I watch the minnows nibble my toes, I sometimes get to thinking about how there are so many different fish in the river who are also obedient to some strange spell. I am speaking of course, of the strange spell of obsessive psychoanalysis.

I’ve noticed recently that everyone and their mother is completely hooked on personality types: what percentage of each Disney Pixar villain are you, where in Australia should you move based on your superego, which gram-negative bacteria is your soul, etc. Realistically, I think the only four letters that can adequately describe us are ACTG, but I will admit that the quizzes can be quite addictive. Why yes, I absolutely want to know what beetle family I belong to based on my opinions about sitcoms! So I thought… why not take the bait?

Thus, I present each Myers Briggs type as one of your friendly Kokosing neighborfish.

ISFJ- Smallmouth bass


You’re an old faithful. Steady, reliable, always up for a chat or a friendly game of catch-and-release with a local fisherman. You are humble and gentle and you dislike gloating, (unlike your overbearing largemouth uncle) content just feeling the gentle tug of the currents and the clear water rushing over your gills. Though your types are some of the most common fish in the river, each of you come in unique shapes, sizes and colors and specialize to a variety of habits. Your versatility is prized by all.

ESFJ- Green sunfish 


Like your name suggests, you’re a beacon of light in every rock crevasse you enter. The glinting green speckles on your scales remind everyone that life is beautiful even in cloudy waters. You’re a well-rounded fish with a vast array of interests and you dine on everything from insect larvae to snails and crayfish. You often drift along in mixed schools with other fish and get along swimmingly with everyone. Good day, sunshine!

ISTJ- Stonecat madtom


Quiet and calculating, you lie in wait at the bottom of rivers for mollusks and minnows who meander too close to your gaping maw. With a name like ‘stonecat madtom,’ people tend to think you’re a bit odd and perplexing, and you likewise prefer they keep their distance. You may look unassuming, but don’t anyone dare mess with you lest they meet with the poison glands on the tips of your fins.

ISFP- Yellow bullhead


You have a huge presence on any muddy bottom. You’re an independent go-getter who eats everything in sight and you don’t stop to worry about whether you’ll fit in that rotten log or how you have clumps of algae clinging to your whiskers. Despite your fierce self-reliance, you have soft, supple skin and you want to be accepted and loved by others. And who couldn’t love that big smooshy face?

ESTJ- Redside dace


You are ruthlessly intelligent and pragmatic. You move so quickly all anyone can see is the flash of your brilliant red sidestripe. Not known for being a particularly warm-blooded, affectionate type, you prefer to stick strictly to business. Actually, you drop your eggs in another larger fish species’ nest and leave them to do all the fanning and child-rearing. You’ve got important fish stuff to do.

ESFP- Spotfin shiner


Glistening like a beacon and hope and energy in still, cold waters, you swim in perfect synchrony with others, leading your gang in complex maneuvers through the shallows from zig zags to figure-eights to barrel rolls. Your friends never know quite what to expect! You revel in the lively enthusiasm of large groups and you try to get everyone to join in on the shenanigans.

ENFP- Rainbow darter 


Why, hello gorgeous! A colorful fish for a colorful character. You love performing flashy elaborate mating dances by waggling your fins and gyrating from side to side. You get all the freshest fishy ladies and gentlespawn and you thrive in big cuddly groups. Your passion and enthusiasm for life and love shines in your resplendent scales, you casanova you.

ISTP- Least brook lamprey


Quiet, flexible and wiggly squiggly, you slip easily into the background when you want to but you have a unique style. You are constantly developing and learning, growing from a wormy, eyeless ammocoete to a shiny, snaky fish thingy with an impressive circular suckermouth, but you’re certainly no sucker. You wriggle your way through any situation with a superior grasp of logic and slimy skin, though everyone who takes the time to get to know you understands that your bark is worse than your bite.

INFP- Mottled sculpin


A hidden gem in the stream bed, you feel most comfortable among the rocks where you can blend in and be safe and supported, but coax you out into the light and you’ll reveal your dappled fins with intricate designs of spots, stripes and blotches. Patient and gentle, you care deeply for loved ones and guard your eggs from any dangers, including your mate who for some reason seems to want to eat them? You’re a complicated soul.

ESTP- Rock bass


You’re an outgoing fish who is highly adaptable and tolerant of many waters; you can even change your scales from light to dark in order to camouflage with your environment. But you don’t like to blend in! You live perpetually on the edge, hanging out in the rocky cliffs of river banks or near some gnarly whitewater rapids. You’re not afraid to go for that fly fishing lure, and you’ll certainly give any angler a fight to remember.

INTP- Northern hog sucker


Your large head-to-body-size ratio emphasizes your exceptional brain, and you like to immerse yourself in the substrate to understand everything going on around you. You’re a bit of a loner with a fierce, wild spirit and a wanderlust that carries you far away from your hatching grounds to unfamiliar estuaries. No matter where you go or the challenges and hungry herons you face, you keep plowing through with your relentless, probing curiosity and your sensitive suckermouth.

ENTP- Silverjaw minnow


You’re a spontaneous, energetic chum with a sharp, analytical approach to life. Your specialized, semi-transparent lower jaw contains hypersensitive sensory receptors that allow you to detect the slightest movement under the sand. Nothing slips past your external nares. You rarely stay still, and your huge shoals of devoted admirers continually follow whichever way the current takes you.

ENFJ- Channel catfish


You’re a big softy with smooth, velvety skin and a warm, welcoming smile. You are very perceptive of feelings and highly attuned to your surroundings, using your sensitive whiskers to feel along the muddy bottoms of the river and detect chemicals in the water. You also have a keen sense of smell and refined tastebuds all over the surface of your skin. You find a way to stay jolly and positive even in the murkiest times, and you’ll do anything to give others a taste of your optimistic spirit. You also taste really good fried.

INTJ- Creek chub


You are a tireless creator and a natural innovator. Your scales are thin and flexible to allow you the greatest range of movement for those busy fins. You love organizing every aspect of your life and impressing others with your mad engineering skills. Every spring, you spend days constructing intricate stone nests to showcase your superiority as a mate so females will choose your pebble nursery for their eggs, and you fertilize and guard your children with the utmost care.

ENTJ- River redhorse


You stand out everywhere as a bit of an eccentric, especially with that equine name. Seriously, who looks at a fish and thinks, ‘hmm, that closely resembles a domesticated hoofed mammal?’ But you don’t let it bother you. Rather, you thrive on the attention and are a natural born leader. Your shiny golden scales and bright red fins catch the eyes of all who cross the river bridge and see you swimming against the current. Giddy up, redhorse! (Fish.)

INFJ- Spotted darter


A queer fish, you are the rarest of all personality types, not to mention one of the rarest river fishes in America. In fact, you’re so elusive that this is actually a picture of your slightly lighter cousin, the bluebreast darter, because I couldn’t find any Google images of you. You are very conscientious about where you lay your eggs or catch your microcrustaceans, and your presence in any stream is an excellent assessment of water quality. The Kokosing River is one of only three Ohio watersheds that can handle your mystique. You’re a beautiful enigma.

You know what they say: give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Tell a man he’s actually a fish and he’ll either shrug bemusedly and move on with his life or slap you across the mouth with a herring.







Kenyon Kritters: Adorable Baby Animals

Kenyon Kritters: Adorable Baby Animals

Warning: The following is semi-educational and not intended for the faint of liver. Cuteness overload ahead.

Salutations, hairless hominids!

It’s officially springtime, and the Early Bird is here to sing the bountiful praises of mother nature in all her muddy glory.

Ah, spring. The promise of rain. Of lots of rain. Of sunshine. Intermittently. Of flowers blooming and brooks burbling and warm breezes blowing. And perhaps most famously and hackneyed of all of spring’s glad tidings: the promise of new life. New life in your fingers flying across the keyboard as you bang out that essay you had all of break to finish. New spring in your steps as you dash from Peirce to Ascension before the skies break out in a torrential downpour. And of course, everyone’s favorite: fuzzy adorable baby animals! So innocent, so pure, so awww-some. That’s right, while you were cocooning in your winter comforters dreading the day when you’d be forced to emerge into the blinding sunlight and return to 8 am classes, nature was getting busy spawning some precious new arrivals, and it’s high time you were introduced.

I give you… the adorable aquatic macro-invertebabies.

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