West Lafayette, IN - Just when you thought it was safe to roam a college campus, some students at Purdue University may have you doing a double-take.
No, it's not a meeting of "Mascots Gone Wild," these folks are "Furries."
Sean McLane, a campus advisor for the group, explains that Furries are "people who wish to put on fur suits and explore more of the aspects of being an animal with human characteristics."
Yeah, for example, this girl is a real fox. Well, at least her alter "Fur-sona" is. But Furries don't speak in character. Apparently, they just put on a costume to explore their "animal instincts."
Jared Wulfe, a fervent Furry, says "for my character, it's almost an extension of my being."
But some people claim Furry fandom is only just a fetish. "While there are people who get into the adult fetishy things, that's not what it's all about," McLane insists.
Wow, is college getting more kinky these days or what? Sure sounds like it.
So, is this kind of behavior healthy?
Some pyschologists think so. Kimble Richardson, a mental health counselor, says it can have a positive effect when "you find that if other people like it, too, they're very accepting." He says then "you don't have to continue to explain it or feel strange or ostracized."
Furry fan Wulfe says the experience makes him come out of his shell: "I like to go out and meet new people."
So just remember, it's a jungle out there. And the Furries may be coming to a campus near you!