Violet’s guide to Cambridge wildlife

Planet Earth: the Cambridge edition

Noella Chye Follow Noella Chye on Twitter & Rosie Bradbury Follow Rosie Bradbury on Twitter

Photos: Louis Ashworth

Cambridge has an exotic assortment of wildlife. Cows, for example. Also: ducks. Swans, geese, and pigeons often make appearances. Look no feather for an introducktion to the creatures you might meet during your time here.


Granta bois

A walk toward the Granta pub will often inspire you to stop and smell the roses, to revel in the here and cow.

Rosie Bradbury
Sassy cow

A recent New York Times feature on Cambridge’s cow presence noted that cows replaced sheep in presiding over King’s College, as “sheep lack the gravitas of cattle”. They live an udderly tranquil life.

Louis Ashworth

For duck's sake

Duck parade

Walking to Sidgwick – a dreary task for the Cambridge humanities student – is, on rare occasion, made brighter by a posse of geese who may be found strutting through King’s College. It seems the college has an affinity for yet another kind of left-wing.

Noella Chye
Noella Chye
A sighting on King’s Parade

Sitting on King’s Parade in the summer is all it’s quacked up to be – peaceful and golden. You may even get approached by a sassy mallard hunting for food among unsuspecting tourists and Cambridge students.

Noella Chye
Noella Chye
Sidgwick duck

When studying at Sidgwick, grabbing food at the lecture site’s buttery may just fit the bill.

Noella Chye

He has an important call to make.

Noella Chye
Churchill ducklings

Sobbing. We are truly blessed.

Snuggled duck

Looks like the St Catharine’s ducklings’ days are going swimmingly!

New be-guinea-ings

Meet the Rodents

Guinea pigs Emmeline Squeakhurst, Virguinea Woolf, Ruth Bader Guineasburg and Oreo live in Lucy Cavendish. Their arrival in May was a lightning rod(ent), sparking heated debate in the Daily Mail, which ran the epochal headline: ‘Snowflake students at Cambridge University are being given GUINEA PIGS to help ease their stress levels including three named after feminist icons.’ Gasp. Keyboard warriors, at the ready.

Meowndering around


One Newnham student spoke to Violet about Nellie, the black cat who will mysteriously appear in the college: “Nellie brightens my day whenever I see her. Over the past year she’s become less nervous about me stroking her, and she’s been a wonderful companion when I’ve been stressed.”

Charley Barnard

Puppy love

Varsity Meets: Toby the Catz dogVarsity

Jed, the college border collie and assistant gardiner, provides the perfect cure for John’s students having a ruff day.

Wake me up before you Yoyo

Yoyo, the beloved basset hound of Selwyn’s master, has entirely revolutionised Cambridge’s good boi game. She made national headlines in 2014 when the BBC revealed that Yoyo’s owner, Roger Mosey, had convinced college authorities that the ‘banned’ basset hound was just a ‘very large cat’.

College Council approved for Mosey to keep Yoyo in College in its official minutes: “Council approved the Master’s request to adopt a Very Large Cat in the Master’s Lodge.”

YoYo’s response to the return of wintry weather.

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Over the years, rare visitors have also arrived and shocked the student body at large, including Violet favourites: the iconic Fitz peacock and snake