Mark Rober is no rookie when it comes to viral tech-savvy experiments. The former NASA engineer has made a name for himself as a YouTuber and a mastermind of entertaining and intricate projects. From turning sand into liquid soap and using glow powder to show how fast germs can spread, to testing if sharks can smell blood and building a glitter bomb, it’s fair to say the sky is the limit for this guy.
And this time, Mark is back as a problem solver. You see, every time he would put up a bird feeder in his backyard, the squirrels would come and throw themselves a feast. But Mark is a tough nut to crack and he built an epic obstacle course for them to sweat on. “If they walk through my 8-part ninja warrior obstacle course,” they are free to gorge on the walnuts right next to the birds.
So let’s see what these 22 minutes of squirrel parkour driven by a sheer craving for nuts look like. If you still think it’s a little niche for your liking, just keep in mind it’s the #26 trending Youtube video at the moment with almost 10M views since it went live two days ago.
This video documenting Mark’s epic ninja obstacle course designed for squirrels is going viral
Image credits: Mark Rober
Mark explains what squirrels have to go through to get their walnuts
Before becoming a full-blown YouTube star, Mark worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for about 9 years, seven of which he spent working on the Curiosity rover, which is now on Mars. He also started a company called Digital Dudz as a side project, which he later sold to the costume company Morphsuits.
According to the FAQ section, recently, he was presented with “an opportunity to return to my engineering roots to come do some ideation type of work for a tech company near San Francisco.” His YouTube channel has a whopping 1.27B total views and 11.7M subscribers.
And here’s how the hungry little ninjas coped with Mark’s challenge
Bored Panda contacted Amanda N. Robin, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California and co-creator at the Squirrel Gazer to find out what an expert has to say on Mark Rober’s ninja squirrel obstacle course. “It’s an awesome demonstration of what amazing acrobats and persistent problem-solvers arboreal squirrels are,” said Amanda. “His obstacles only begin to touch the surface of just how agile and intelligent these iconic backyard visitors really are.”
It turns out, one of the things that make squirrels such a successful species is their ability to flexibly solve novel problems. “In order to survive, squirrels still have to manage their squirrel business such as storing food for the winter, building nests, and taking care of young while also dealing with humans and our cars, buildings, and pet dogs,” explained Amanda.
Thus, squirrels have adopted a strategy to use these special talents and utilize humans, “as demonstrated by the squirrels breaking into Mark’s bird feeders and the notorious college campus squirrels that steal food right from the hands of students.”