Animal explorers traversing the Harvard University campus will encounter curious squirrels in the Yard, flocks of wild turkeys near the residences, and red-tailed hawks hopping from tower to tower.

More exotic creatures lurk everywhere. On building facades, gates, and shields, a closer look reveals a host of nature’s and mythic beasts, from lions to boars, from eagles to owls, a famous pair of rhinos, and even a Pegasus and a unicorn.

Most gather close to the Charles River, their source of water, along the perimeter gates, or surround the Bio Labs, near the scientists who study them. The Yard is largely unpopulated, save for the humans guarded under John Harvard’s close watch.

For the New England area, the variety of species is astounding. An inventory reveals such unusual stock as a jaguar, tapir, pelican, iguana, and a giant anteater.

Explore the campus wildlife, where animals are etched and cast in stone, brick, and metal.

An eagle decorates the exterior of Leverett House.

On DeWolfe Street, Leverett House’s eagle spreads its wings.

An owl decorates the gate surrounding Winthrop House.

Three cattle decorates the gate surrounding Winthrop House.

An owl clutches a mouse in its talons while cattle sit on a shield along the gate surrounding the Winthrop House courtyards.

Cattle skulls mark the entrance to Lowell House.

Cattle skulls mark the entrance to Lowell House.

A bull is carved in marble.

On Plympton Street, across from the Harvard Book Store, a bull takes charge.

A boar head protrudes above the archway of the Joseph McKean Gate.

A boar head protrudes above the archway of the Joseph McKean Gate along Massachusetts Avenue. Also known as the Porcellian or Boylston Gate, the entrance to Harvard Yard was named after the Porcellian Club’s founder, and celebrates the club’s symbol.

A lion head decorates the gate on Quincy Street.

A lion head decorate the entrance above Claverly Hall.

Lions, the most populous of the beasts roaming campus, decorate the gate on Quincy Street and the entrance above Claverly Hall.

Griffins abound along the Bow Street entrance to Westmorly Court at Adams House.

Griffins abound along the Bow Street entrance to Westmorly Court at Adams House.

A pair of lions flank the entrance to the Harvard-Yenching Library.

A pair of lions flank the entrance to the Harvard-Yenching Library.

A pair of lions flank the entrance to the Harvard-Yenching Library.

An eagle adorns Adolphus Busch Hall.

A pair of concerned lions adorns Adolphus Busch Hall.

An eagle and a pair of concerned lions adorn Adolphus Busch Hall.

A golden panther embellishes the Fly Club Gate.

A golden panther embellishes the Fly Club Gate marking the river side of Yellowwood Courtyard at Winthrop House. Built in 1914, the inscription in the ironwork reads “For Friendships Made in College the Fly Club in Gratitude has Built this Gate.”

Three golden lions gleam across the Mather House crest.

Three golden lions gleam across the Mather House crest.

A rabbit leaps over the lion crest on the wrought-iron gate.

A rabbit bravely leaps over the lion crest on the wrought-iron gate of Yellowwood Courtyard.

A pelican decorates the Harvard Lampoon building.

A feline decorates a weather vane.

A pelican keeps watch over the Harvard Lampoon building, while across Mount Auburn Street a feline embellishes a weathervane.

Two rhinos flank the main doors of the Biological Laboratory Building.

The world-famous rhinos Victoria and Elizabeth, who flank the main doors of the Biological Laboratory Building, were unveiled on May 12, 1937, by their award-winning sculptress Katharine Ward Lane Weems (1899‒1989). Nicknamed Vicky and Bess, the rhinos weigh three tons each and are modeled after of the largest known female rhino, the Rhinoceros unicornis, or Indian rhino. The artist took five years to create the bronze pair, who measure 13 feet.

An animalia of tapir, giant anteater, iguana, and jaguar decorate the hand-carved frieze atop the five-story Biological Laboratory Building.

An animalia of tapir, giant anteater, iguana, and jaguar decorate the hand-carved frieze atop the five-story Biological Laboratory Building. In 1930, Harvard President A. Lawrence Lowell commissioned Katharine Ward Lane Weems, then 30 years old, to “embellish” the building’s exterior.

A golden trilobite decorates the door to the Bio Labs.

A jellyfish decorates the door to the Bio Labs.

On the three doors to the Bio Labs, 24 organisms, insects, and fauna from sea, air, and land, including this trilobite and jellyfish, are magnified in bronze. Katharine Ward Lane Weems worked with scientists and craftsmen to design this celebration of the natural world.

A black rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, and ostrich peek through the trees along the rim of the Bio Labs.

A black rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, and ostrich peek through the trees along the rim of the Bio Labs. More than 30 animals from four zoogeographic regions — the Ethiopian (southern Africa), Indo-Asiatic, Neotropical (South American), and Holarctic (northern temperate zone and Arctic zones) — are carved 2½ inches deep in the brick.

The White Rabbit decorates a gate on Quincy Street.

The Cheshire Cat decorates a gate on Quincy Street.

The White Rabbit and Cheshire Cat perch on the newly designed gate near Houghton Library along Quincy Street. The Peter J. Solomon Gate took its inspiration from the first edition of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”

A hawk sculpture decorates the Nieman Foundation garden.

Nestled in the small garden outside the Lippmann House, “Santa Clara Hawk” by Doug Hyde of the Nez Percé tribe perches on a rock. Fashioned after the red-tailed hawks of New Mexico, the statue commemorates Howard Simons, the beloved Nieman Foundation curator from 1984 to 1989, who was a bird watcher as well as an advocate for Native American journalists.

A snail decorates a fence in Quincy Square.

A snail punctuates the spiral designs of the Quincy Square garden, a collaboration between sculptor David Phillips and landscape architect Craig Halvorson.

A gargoyle sheathed in copper decorates Memorial Hall’s Gothic Revival tower.

A gargoyle sheathed in copper decorates Memorial Hall’s Gothic Revival tower.

A blue horse decorates the gate surrounding Dunster House.

A Pegasus decorates the Harvard Advocate Building

A blue horse head tops the gate to Dunster House. A Pegasus lugs a literary tomb on the pediment of the Harvard Advocate building on South Street. Since its founding in 1886, the winged horse has been the symbol of the literary magazine, the oldest continuously published college art and literary magazine.

A golden unicorn bedecks the Dunster House gate.

A fantastical golden unicorn bedecks the Dunster House gate. Mihi Parta Tueri translates to “I will fight for what is mine.”