Backyard Obstacle Courses Reward Clever Squirrels With Food

Elaine with Grey Cats/CC BY 2.0

For nature-loving suburbanites, laying out a buffet of seeds and nuts for visiting critters is a great way of transforming a sleepy old backyard into a bustling cafeteria for local wildlife -- but sometimes a free lunch just seems too easy.

Likely inspired by watching squirrels go to extraordinary lengths to feast on food offerings intended for birds, some folks decided to craft some rather elaborate obstacle courses that those generously-tailed animals would have to run if they wanted a meal. What results is an impressive and amusing reminder of the acrobatic prowess of squirrels.

The theme from Mission: Impossible is used in several of the videos below, and it's no wonder why. In addition to some slick climbing maneuvers and daring leaps, these squirrels display quite remarkable problem-solving skills -- particularly considering that they aren't likely to encounter anything like these obstacle courses in nature.


Here, a crafty grey squirrel overcomes a series of elaborate hurdles, including spinning platforms, a tightrope walk, and a mini-bobsled tunnel. The look of adorable determination on the squirrel's face is clearly visible as it sizes up each new challenge.


In this clip, another squirrel seems to tackle these harrowing rope bridges with the greatest of ease, all while dangling upside-down like pro. Add in one last great leap at the end, and this fluffy athlete certainly earns its nutty prize.


While this set-up probably wasn't designed as an obstacle course per se, but instead as an unconquerable deterrent, at least one persistant squirrel proved up for the challenge. The bird-feeder defenses proved no match for this skilled problem-solver.


This brazen black squirrel puts on a quite a show, deftly navigating a backyard assault course like it was a walk in the park. The clip's narrator is clearly impressed with the skillful animal's performance, telling the feasting squirrel "you deserve that."


Squirrels are certainly capable of some extraordinary things in pursuit of a free snack, though there are some challenges, like this greased bird-feeder post, that even these expert climbers haven't quite yet overcome -- but you can bet they're working on it.

Tags: Animals