Friday, March 20, 2015

How to get squirrels to dance

I figured out a way to get the squirrels in my backyard to dance, and I'll show you how. They climb up on a platform painted like a disco dance floor, and reach inside a stuffed animal head to get some delicious organic peanut butter.

While they're reaching for the treat, they do some incredible breakdancing moves. Here's the link to a video showing some highlights.

I shot the clips from inside my house about four feet away. I didn't speed up the moves at the end. They just kept getting more and more excited about the peanut butter.

The head is a "Happy Bee" plush (4-inch diameter) from a dollar store. I used a glue gun to add the pompom nose, the google eyes, the smiley mouth, and the buck teeth. I made a stiff lining for the head using a plastic ball that I also found at the dollar store. I cut a 3-inch opening in the ball, big enough for the squirrels to move in and out with plenty of clearance.

The bottom of the head is suspended 8.5 inches above the platform from two metal picture-frame wires that keep it facing the camera.

I learned to use metal wire the hard way, because first I used monofilament fishline, and the little thieves nipped off my first head and ran away with it.


Steve said...

It is for moments such as these that the shorthand LOL was created. Was relieved to learn the peanut butter was organic. Also good to learn the etymological root of the term "ripped off." Thank you, James, for substantially lifting the mood of this morning.

Tom Hart said...

Hilarious! Particularly the last bit. One of the things I like most about your forays into such things is the reminder of how valuable play is. I hope I'm not reaching too much, or being presumptuous, but it seems clear that there's little or no line between your play and your work. All of us Gurney journeyers are better off because of that. I personally hope I can incorporate that more into my own life/work/play :^) Thanks for another valuable reminder!

Mitch said...

What a terrific idea! We watch the squirrels feeding daily in our backyard and we're going to make a couple of these platforms so we can join the fun.
Thanks, James

James Gurney said...

Steve, glad it lifted the mood. It's been fun having those squirrels do their antics in view of our breakfast table.

Tom, you got it! As G.K. Chesterton said, "The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground."

Steve said...

Love the Chesterton quotation. It reminds me of the last verse of Robert Frost's poem, Two Tramps in Mudtime. I had this verse at the top of my resume when applying for my first teaching job:

My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future's sakes.

Nathaniel Gold said...

Thanks that's a great way to start a weekend.

Jared Cullum said...

hahaha, oh my god, this made me happy :)

David Webb said...

I never realised squirrels had such rhythm.

Rich said...

ha ha, what a funny dancefloor.
Beats John Travolta and Saturday Night Fever:-)

(tomorrow is Saturday: Weekend starts here...:o)

Pyracantha said...

If you cross your eyes you get a stereoscopic 3-D moment when you have 2 views side by side on the screen.