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Bucky’s Animal House: Academic Animals

We know that things at UW-Madison can get a little wild… both on the weekends, and in the classroom.

Photo from UW-Archives of entymoligists at work.

Badger Insider readers share their wildest stories

More on Bucky's Animal House

We know that things at UW-Madison can get a little wild… like horses-running-around-residence-halls-wild. From dairy cows on the agriculture campus to sewer-dwelling garbage bandits, campus is crawling, literally, with animal activity. For this issue, we asked readers to share their most memorable animal-interaction stories.

Joanne Coon Johnson ’58

Beloit, WI

I've never forgotten the terror of my physiology lab at the UW nearly 60 years ago, when we had to dissect frogs. I couldn't even watch an inoculation needle going into my arm or that of any one else, let alone cut into a live animal. The eeriest part was that before actually cutting it apart, we were to snip right behind the frog's head, in order to see that it still able to move around on its legs without the brain attached! Morbid!! Then, how lucky could I get? To my surprise, I was assigned a partner — a female, no less — who was very happy to hurt that little frog, but didn't want to have to describe it on paper. I have been forever grateful and have never forgotten that experience.

Dean Fochios ’77, MS’81

Fitchburg, WI

The last lab in my Entomolgy class many yrs ago was titled — Insects as a source of protein in the 3rd world. We had 'work' stations around the lab but they consisted of insects that had been prepared many different ways. We had to sample them (this was all optional of course — but no one declined) and rank then on how they tasted. The salted ants and sweetened crunchy honey bees were my favorites.Our lab TAs actually made these up and served them at their parties, but never told their guests, who just snarfed them down happily, ignorant to what they were eating.

Erik Petrovskis ’83

Grand Rapids, MI

I lived at 6 N. Charter next to the Primate Lab. Shrieking monkeys certainly enhanced my undergraduate experience!

Marybeth Heydt ’86

Pasadena, CA

A friend of mine from Middleton High School [and I] were both living in Sellery Hall Tower A in the spring semester of the 1982-83 school year. My friend was in the pre-vet club. She volunteered to bring a baby farm animal from the agriculture campus to a preschool near campus and provide an educational presentation to the children. Her father (a professor on campus at the time) loaned her a car for the transport. She needed someone to ride "shotgun" in the hatchback with the animal to keep it from wandering around in the car and distracting her driving. I happened to have a break from classes at the time she needed to go to the preschool. We went to the appointed pick up spot to be provided with a male kid goat. He was not fond of the ride in the car, and I had to [do] some work on my hands to keep him in the back of the small hatchback! The children loved meeting him, and we all learned a little something about baby goats!

Scott Memmel ’15

Brookfield, WI

One of the first times I ever walked into the Humanities building (as a freshman in 2011), I entered the northwest staircase and started going down to the first floor. When I reached the bottom of the stairs, I was met by a large bat sitting near the door. Only the Humanities building could pull that off. On, Wisconsin!

Surprised by the Syllabi

For the Spring 2016 issue, we’re wondering which UW-Madison courses threw you for a loop. Did you register for Nutrition Today as an easy way to fulfill a general-education requirement, only to find it was easily the hardest class you’d ever take? Or maybe it was Biochem 612: Prokaryotic Molecular Biology that made you realize, “You know, I’ve always wanted to be an English major.”

Let us know what was the most surprising class you took at the UW and why. Send your stories to, or share them with us on social media at @WisAlumni, using #Badger Insider.

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