If you’ve seen a little squirrel in the park begging for treats or browsing through picnic leftovers, you’ll probably agree that they’re one of the cutest things ever. Perhaps the incessantly curious and hyperactive nature of squirrels is exactly what inspired British photographer Max Ellis to start shooting these cool pics of everyone’s favorite woodland rodent.

Ellis is a professional freelance illustrator and photographer from the U.K. who caught our eye with the beautiful wildlife photography on his 500px page. Although he has tons of awesome photos on his account (which everyone should check out, by the way), his photos of squirrels with everyday objects were by far the cutest.

It seems like there’s quite a bit of work behind these perfect shots: he lures squirrels with sunflower seeds, cookies and toys to keep them interested and to get them to pose the way he wants in front of the camera. He even constructs tiny gadgets for his models, like cannons, barbells or wizard’s box.

Ellis studied photography at University of Brighton and has been working as a professional photographer for 15 years, moving between photo-illustration and pure photography. Ellis uses Nikon equipment for all of his work and shot these adorable images using the Nikon D4 and a 70-200 2.8 Nikon lens.

Read on for Ellis’ interview with Bored Panda, and be sure to check out his website!

Source: maxphotographic.com | 500px.com | blipfoto.com

“The fact that they’re really intelligent is both the biggest plus and minus to working with the tree rats. They very quickly work out ways to get to the treats I leave for them,” Ellis told Bored Panda.

 “The Squirrels are an ongoing project. I publish a daily photo on blipfoto.com/maxellis and have done so for over 4 years now.”

“I’m experimenting with more elaborate props and new ideas come to me daily. They constantly surprise me with their intelligence and dexterity so its great fun coming up with new ideas!”

“I try to use very little retouching in the shots. My other day job is as one of the world’s most successful digital illustrators, I’ve headed up hundreds of ad campaigns over the 30 years I’ve been professional and it would be too easy to fake it.”

“The only time I edit is to get rid of the fishing line on the skull one and the dumbbell one. I felt it spoiled the image.”

“Probably worth mentioning that the squirrels have never been harmed and are much better fed than any other wild squirrels on the planet!”

“Also squirrels do eat almost anything and in the case of the wooden blocks they actually ate the entire set!”

“I’ve got quite an extensive library and they’re very popular. I’m putting a Calendar and book together this year.”

We’d like to thank Max Ellis for giving us his time and answering our questions!