University of Wisconsin–Madison

Dragons and turkeys and insects, oh my!

A day in the life of FP&M’s animal control specialist…

When a foot-long bearded dragon appears on a rock near Bascom Hill, or a turkey flies through a stained-glass window in Science Hall, who do you call? It turns out, the answer is almost always Richard Ness, an animal control specialist for UW–Madison’s Facilities Planning and Management.

To find out what a day in the life of a campus animal control specialist looks like, I talked to Ness about some of his more unusual encounters. Later, I joined him as he responded to calls.

An alumnus of the university, Ness has both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in entomology, and these days, insect calls make up much of his work around campus. However, he occasionally gets oddities like the sun-basking bearded dragon, spotted just after students left for summer.

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