Using Backyard Critters (Humanely) for your Own Selfish Entertainment

Do you find your­self star­ing out your win­dow on rainy days, sigh­ing, and wish­ing for bet­ter weath­er con­di­tions? It’s easy to feel the malaise of the rainy sea­son set­tle in, but there are ways to enter­tain your­self when you’re stuck indoors. No, we’re not talk­ing about Net­flix marathons or any­thing that even requires electricity…we’re talk­ing about back­yard wildlife.

Wait! That’s bor­ing, you say? Lis­ten: we’re not sug­gest­ing the usu­al, run-of-the-mill bird­feed­ers and peanut-but­ter pinecones…what if you could attract crit­ters to your back­yard in new and more enter­tain­ing ways? Of course it’s nice of you to char­i­ta­bly pro­vide a con­stant sup­ply of snacks for local wildlife, but do they ever say ‘thank you’? Here are a few ways to get some laughs out of those per­pet­u­al back­yard ‘squat­ters’ while you wait for the clouds to blow away.


Rube-Gold­berg Obsta­cle Cours­es and Mazes
For the ‘engi-nerd’ types suf­fer­ing from cab­in fever: build a gaunt­let for your back­yard friends! We’re not sug­gest­ing any dan­ger­ous, pain-inflict­ing devices (what are you, a sociopath?) or any­thing like that so don’t let your imag­i­na­tion take any dark turns. Think wires, tubes, spin­ning discs, and weight­ed levers. You will have fun watch­ing a vari­ety of crit­ters (though squir­rels will like­ly be your most fre­quent acro­bats) solve these puz­zles with deter­mi­na­tion and acro­bat­ic grace. Don’t for­get to include a reward at the fin­ish. You can even make videos with Mis­sion Impos­si­ble music to go along with your creation!

If you want to go with some­thing more straight­for­ward, build a maze. Pan­els can be end­less­ly rearranged once the crit­ter solves the puzzle.


Twirl-a-Squir­rel
This prod­uct, intend­ed as a deter­rent for squir­rels and oth­er crit­ters weigh­ing more than a tiny bird, is noth­ing if not enter­tain­ing. Billed as a humane way to keep nui­sance ani­mals off of your pre­cious bird feed­ers, this mech­a­nism caus­es the feed­er to spin faster and faster until the squir­rel is cast off, dizzy as hell. Even if you don’t end up actu­al­ly pur­chas­ing this prod­uct, you should real­ly watch the video, which is quite fun­ny itself. See if you don’t get that Beach Boys song stuck in your head…


Odd, Giant Head-Shaped Feed­ers
Per­haps the weird­est and most hilar­i­ous thing to be found is this prod­uct, which you can buy for about $15. Plac­ing food stuffs inside the giant head means that squir­rels are tempt­ed to stand inside of it to eat. Though they real­ly should feel humil­i­at­ed, it doesn’t seem that they suf­fer any shame or self-esteem issues at all. An alter­nate ver­sion can be found in the form of the ubiq­ui­tous horse head. Cre­ative home­own­ers have fash­ioned feed­ers from grotesque Hal­loween masks, as well. If you’re look­ing for some­thing cuter than a dis­turb­ing zom­bie head, sim­ply cut a hole in a coconut or pump­kin and hang it upside down for a sim­i­lar effect.

If you’re not con­vinced yet, here’s enough rea­son to put those out­door crit­ters to use: