This is what happens when an engineer gets bored during the coronavirus lockdown. Check out this 8-part squirrel-proof bird feeder to keep the nut-munching scoundrels from eating the spoils.
YouTuber, Mark Rober, is famous for a lot of things, but this video is pure gold. During the coronavirus lockdown, Mark decided to install a birdfeeder in his garden. Soon, though, he realised that the squirrels in the neighbourhood were master thieves, and could break into every type of birdfeeder he purchased.
Tired of the daily thievery by these furry critters, and bored from being locked in his home, Mark set about at a new project. He decided to create an obstacle course to see if he could outsmart these fuzzy rodents and allow the local bird population to eat in peace.
The course consisted of 8-parts, raised in the air on steel posts. Only a single pole isn't coated in "slippery stuff", and that's the only way to get to the first platform. The first challenge is The Bridge Of Instability, a rope ladder tied between platforms at a single point on each side. This causes the bridge to flip over when pressure is placed on it. Think about videos of people failing at getting into a hammock, and you'll get the idea.
Once they've mastered the first obstacle, the squirrels are faced with The Maze Of A Thousand Corridors. This is simply a maze box that they have to find their way through.
Next up is the Pitchfork Tumblers, inspired by the show, Wipeout. The difference is that, unlike the enormous ones used on the show, these ones are animal-friendly and will stop spinning if the squirrels push back on them.
If they manage to get this far, the next obstacle is a test of temptation. It's called The Home-wrecker, and any red-blooded rodent would surely be dazzled by its spell. Perched at the end of a pressure-sensitive pad sits a bikini-clad stuffed toy squirrel with a walnut surprise in its paw. If the live squirrel sits on the mat for too long... bam! The floor drops out, and the unlucky contestant falls to the grass below.
The Slinky Bridge Of Deception is just that, a bridge made of slinkies that should be impossible to cross. It's got a walnut in the middle for extra inspiration, but will it be enough?
If they do make it across to the Tourist Trap, a treat awaits in the form of peanut butter and walnuts. It also acts as a photo opportunity as, when they stick their head through the hole to retrieve the reward, their little faces act as the head of a painted squirrel cowboy. It's the "Aww... cute!" obstacle of the challenge.
The Quad-Steps Of Great Elevation takes their inspiration from the show Ninja Warrior. They're wooden pads place a few feet apart and are angled at 45-degrees to make landing on them challenging.
If they get all the way through, the furry little ninjas are in for the most demanding challenge of them all, The Orbital Assist Platform. This platform is also pressurised, but this time, it's different. Instead of the floor dropping away after a few seconds, The Orbital Assist Platform launches the unsuspecting challenger into the air, over the walnut reward, and into a net at the back.
It may sound dangerous for our contestants, but it's set up to be totally safe. Each time they fail one of the obstacles, they have to start from the beginning again. With that being said, it's time to meet the contestants.
First up is Rick, a 500g bundle of nerves that is really smart. Then, there's Marty, who could be Rick's twin brother. They're partners in crime and are inseparable.
Frank is the third contestant but, although he also weighs in at 500g, he's brave, but not so smart. Last up is Phat Gus, he's charming and loves the cameras, but he also likes to eat a lot, and isn't picky either. Maybe that's why he weighs 800g...
Now that you've met the furry contestants, how do you think they'll do in the squirrel-proof bird feeder obstacle course? Well, click the play button below to find out if they can tame the beast and earn the reward!