Harmful animals

An Obstacle Course for Squirrels

By Larry Hodgson

If you’re like me, squirrels are both friends, as you can have so much fun with their antics in the garden, watching them run from branch to branch, negotiate phone wires like tightrope walkers, chatter angrily at each other, etc., and ennemies, when they attack our vegetables, cut the flowers off our tulips and magnolias, strip tree branches of their bark and steal our tulip bulbs. 

Bird lovers who set up feeders to attract their feathered friends often find squirrels particularly annoying, as they steal the seeds they put out and scare off the birds who no longer dare to feed on them, ruining their pastime. They often come to consider squirrels as nothing more than bushy-tailed bandits.

But here’s a funny video made by a novice bird watcher, Mark Rober, who, frustrated with his inability to prevent squirrels from raiding his bird feeder, at least decided to give them a good run for their money before they got their share of the seeds by having them go through a complex obstacle course.

Here is Mark’s video, over 20 minutes long.

Video: Mark Rober

Is there is a lesson here for the home gardener? Sure! You might as well learn to share your garden with the local squirrel population, as they’re always going to win!

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, laidbackgardener.blog will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

11 comments on “An Obstacle Course for Squirrels

  1. Jessica Crawford

    Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I watched the whole thing! Too funny and very persistent builder & squirrels. I have new appreciation for the little @#$&?!

  2. Too funny, it’s like the game show Wipeout but for squirrels.

  3. Thanks so much, that was really enjoyable – I’ll check out his other videos (here’s a link to his channel, in case it’s useful to other readers
    Larry, if you prefer not to link to other people’s social media on your blog, delete link and please accept my apologies.)

    Maybe this’ll help me find a way to live more companionably with my local squirrels.

    Also, I might be wrong, but is your first sentence intended to be “if you’re like me, squirrels are both friends and enemies”? If yes, you’re missing “and enemies”. If no, I guess I’m projecting my attitude to squirrels onto you!

    Either way, thanks again.

  4. Thankfully we only have a couple of squirrels who visit us once or twice a year but I do love watching their antics to get tiny seeds. Asks the question ‘who’s evolved?’ Obviously squirrels.

  5. marianwhit

    Rober is an amazing engineer, who is going a long way towards getting people interested in the profession. I love his work in booby-trapping package thieves during the holidays, lol! Google “glitter bomb” for hours of giggles.

  6. Nope. No like, no picnic table, no obstacle course, no welcoming mat. 🙂

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