Thursday, June 28, 2007

NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 1): Squirrel Prevention

NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 1): Squirrel Prevention:
Q: Will has a problem. For a long time squirrels have been jumping from trees near his house onto his roof. His house has an attic fan, and the squirrels can enter the attic thru a hole cut in the roof for the fan. Will had the tree branches cut back from the house to prevent the squirrels from getting into the attic. Now the squirrels have started running up his front steps, jumping up on the railing at the top, jumping six feet onto the telephone wires leading into the house — and from there, jumping to the roof. As Will cannot get rid of the railing, the telephone wires or the front steps, how can Will prevent the squirrels from getting onto his roof?
The most obvious solution is to prevent them from entering the fan opening by adding a wire grate. But that doesn't really prevent them from getting on the roof. The other obvious solution would be to add a large disc-shaped baffle to the telephone line. As long as they can't see through the baffle, the squirrels will be deterred from jumping over because they can't judge their landing spot. The drawback is that it is a rather ugly addition to the telephone line. However, my submitted solution is something else that I think is creative, amusing and practical. I'll tell you what I came up with after the deadline.

Edit: Here's my solution which may or may not match with what Will picks on Sunday...
A: I suggest adding a section of PVC pipe around the telephone line, slightly bigger than the wire so that it will easily spin. Imagine the fun you'll have watching the squirrels try to either land on it (flying off into space) or trying to cross it (and being spun back toward the ground). In my mind it meets the criteria of being practical, creative and amusing. If Will implements this solution I hope he films it so we can all have fun watching the results.


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