Watch: A-MAZE-ing squirrels | @GrrlScientist

A “Mission Impossible” squirrel assault course is an entertaining project for the entire family!

by GrrlScientist for The Guardian | @GrrlScientist

Melanistic eastern gray squirrel, (Sciurus carolinensis), carrying a peanut in Ottawa, Ontario. (Credit: D. Gordon E. Robertson / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Watching videos reveals that it’s not news to learn that people love creating obstacle courses (or “assault” courses) for “their” squirrels. A fair number of people design and build a variety of imaginative squirrel obstacle courses, apparently when the kids are home for the holidays. These obstacle courses generally consists of a variety of suspended, dangling or spinning obstacles that the squirrels must get past to gain a reward of a few nuts. But one man, Alfeo Bari, who was inspired by the so-called “Mission Impossible squirrels”, decided to test his father’s garden squirrels’ mad robbery skills by going one step further: he designed and built a giant cage-maze that has 12 possible distinct combinations for the squirrels to solve. He baited it with peanuts, focused a video camera on it and … sat back and waited. This amusing video is the result:

Interesting — to me, at least — is Mr Bari’s report that although “his” grey squirrels loved his cage-maze, he never once saw any red squirrels entering this contraption.

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Originally published at The Guardian on 25 December 2014.

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