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Squirrel Obstacle Course: How Far Can Squirrels Jump?

Summary

Areas of Science
Difficulty
 
Time Required
Long (2-4 weeks)
Credits
Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies
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Abstract

This project idea is inspired by former NASA engineer Mark Rober's "Squirrel Ninja Obstacle Course":

Video: Squirrel Ninja Obstacle Course

You do not need to build a full obstacle course as intricate as Mark's (although you certainly can if you want to!) to make this into a fun science project. For example, how far can squirrels jump? You could test this question by building a mobile post and placing it next to a bird feeder. The bird feeder in Figure 1 is mounted on a metal pole. The pole is protected by a squirrel baffle, a device designed to prevent squirrels from climbing the pole directly. In order to reach the feeder, squirrels must jump from the wooden post. By gradually moving the post farther away, you could measure how far the squirrels can jump.

 A wooden post next to a bird feeder.
Figure 1. A post made from scrap wood placed next to a bird feeder.

Depending on the number of squirrels in your area and how shy they are, you may need a quiet, hidden place to observe your feeder so you do not scare them away. You could also set up a wildlife camera or a "trail cam"—a motion-activated camera that only records photos or video when it detects movement.

You could also make a more advanced obstacle course to test squirrels' ability to climb, navigate a maze, or solve puzzles. Whatever you do, make sure your obstacles are safe and will not harm the squirrels or other wildlife.

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General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.

MLA Style

Finio, Ben. "Squirrel Obstacle Course: How Far Can Squirrels Jump?" Science Buddies, 8 July 2021, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/CE_p026/civil-engineering/squirrel-obstacle-course. Accessed 24 June 2022.

APA Style

Finio, B. (2021, July 8). Squirrel Obstacle Course: How Far Can Squirrels Jump? Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/CE_p026/civil-engineering/squirrel-obstacle-course


Last edit date: 2021-07-08
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