[Mark Rober] has a bird feeder in his back yard. Also, squirrels who eat the seed. So, as one does, he built a nine part squirrel obstacle course with a reward of walnuts at the end, and filmed them beating the course.
(Spoiler – this is all much better in the video, which we’ve placed below the break).
His four backyard squirrels enter a ‘Casino’ and avoid the plushie ‘security’. From there it’s across a rod mounted on bearings, leap into a crate under a helicopter, which zip-lines to a brick wall with randomly moving bricks, and into their hideout.
The hideout elevator shaft leads to a sewer, which leads to the famous room from Mission Impossible where [Tom Cruise] has to avoid the floor, but to get to the hatch in the top they have to lower a ladder by ‘hacking into’ the control system (by pushing a keyboard shaped button) and lowering a rope ladder.
Next they go through a tube maze to a room full of laser beams (3D printer filament) and finally they can jump onto the platform with Fort Knutz. If they get the vault door open, they’re rewarded with a shower of walnuts.
Yes, this is completely bonkers.
It’s a fantastic build, mostly done with pneumatic actuators. It’s beautiful craftsmanship in places. The obstacles are well proportioned and pleasing to the eye. He’s applied principles of cuteness. It’s also squirrel safe. For example, every enclosed space has an easy one way emergency exit. And the video is a wonderful bit of film making. There’s adorable characters, a plot, and ultimately an engaging story about conflict turned to a relationship of fun and giving.
This is a rebuild of his earlier squirrel maze, the Ninja Warrior Course.
We write about animal hacks occasionally. From toilet training cows to Virtual Hamster Vacations.
21 thoughts on “Fort Knutz – Squirrels Go All Mission Impossible”
Two squirrels had minimal problems with the roof maze. One got on the roof and examined the whole maze from the outside. Then when he entered it, he went through it without error. The 4th squirrel could not find its way through until the one that took an exterior look first coached it from outside the tubes. So one extra intelligent squirrel, two average, and one dunce.
Typical bell curve.
Well that’s nineteen minutes and twelve seconds of my life I will never get back. Was it worth it? Yeah, I guess so ;-)
The computer monitor and keyboard near the escape tower was worth it.
I need to interact with my squirrels that live under the roof outside. They are on 3 camerae and stereo sound pickup but I need to put up a small monitor up there so they can watch Backyard Adventures and this channel. Hawk and eagle warning system for them is another need to do, even saw a bald eagle check out the yard last week.
Next level: bio-mechanical computer based on squirrel logic gates.
I’ll take ‘year-old youtube videos with 58M views that everyone visiting this site has seen before’ for 200, Alex
Exactly I thought this was V3 maybe
I thought it was the third one too at first. Oh well.
Euh, yeah, that is cool …. but you’re almost a year late to the party
Well *someone* needs to mention the Carling advert from the 1990’s…
Please don’t link to or watch that ^^ stupid copy (1:37) of the same clip (but without self promotion and subscription badgering) from 15 years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aY9GBl7UmVs (0:50)
That’s nearly 50% unnecessary BS around the actual clip.
Well, heck, if we’re going through squirrel ad history, we do need to give a nod to EDS’s entry: https://adage.com/videos/eds-running-with-squirrels/877
Gee, I don’t know, if we make them too intelligent they may start running us through mazes! Cute though.
I’m sure there’s a reason some call them tree rats.
Wait a sec, we used to hang out in trees and eat food off the nearest branch, now we’re all in little concrete boxes doing weird complex tasks for food and they’re up in the trees…
If you want more to feed your squirrel obstacle course fix, with a side-serving of biology and ecology, check out the 80’s BBC two-parter Daylight Robbery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOzAfTBVtX8
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