There are few things more frightening than coming to the sudden realization that your property has a rodent problem. Seeing those little tufts of fur shoot across your kitchen floor or pop out of plants when you least expect it makes your heart skip a beat. Most people would immediately dial an exterminator.
However, most people aren’t wildlife photographer Simon Dell. When he noticed a large group of mice lingering around his United Kingdom home, he didn’t call an exterminator. Instead, he did something so unique it had people all over the globe wondering if he’d lost his mind.
Simon Dell is a wildlife photographer who lives in Sheffield, England. Ever since he was young, he loved capturing the beauty of the world through a camera lens, and he has the portfolio to prove it.
The diversity of life on Earth is a never-ending fountain of photographic opportunities, and Simon finds beauty in every species he captures. It’s no surprise that Simon’s two favorite genres of photography are humans and animals.
Although he doesn’t specialize in landscapes and scenery, Simon always has his camera with him and doesn’t miss an opportunity to snag a photo of a serene setting. Nothing, however, prepared Simon for the photographic adventure he eventually took right in his backyard.
As he was leaving his home one afternoon, Simon noticed a small mouse standing right outside his front door. The mouse immediately took off to the backyard where Simon found a large group of them scampering around. Simon, being a man who loved photography, had a wild idea…
He headed to his garage where he had woodcarving tools, and he started to cut, shave, sand before connecting small pieces of wood. Several hours later, Simon presented the mice with something incredible.
He built his tiny new neighbors a small village to welcome them! Most people would have dialed an exterminator, but Simon, who respected all animals no matter how pesky they might seem, wanted his new friends to know they had nothing to fear.
Simon fashioned miniature cottages complete with minuscule human tools, like saws and shovels, to add to the authenticity. He hung drapes on the windows and prepared himself for an adorable photo shoot.
Using some freshly picked berries and nuts, Simon lured the mice into the homes. Once the animals realized he wasn’t trying to harm them, they climbed in and made themselves comfortable. Then, the snapshot frenzy began!
Simon constructed some of the abodes using old fruit to give everything a colorful and natural look. Look at this cute little mouse peeking out from his inviting arch of apples. It looks like he’s patiently waiting for his company to arrive.
He didn’t stop there either! Eager to bring the scenes to life, he added all sorts of minute details, like this tiny “saw” being used to hack into a massive marischino cherry.
There was even a large gourd in Simon’s garage he was able to bore a hole inside to give his furry friends a nifty place to camp out while they watched over his backyard. It almost makes you wish you could shrink down and play in these homes yourself!
Creating such a magical world required a lot of little touches that Simon made himself mostly from plyboard and paint. Luckily, the mice even loved the bits of wood scrap that his project generated.
A small universe was forming. Simon wanted to give his photos a festive theme as well. He dug up his Christmas decor and put them to good use throughout his mouse-tropolis. This adorable little lady can’t wait for Santa Claus to visit!
Look at the festive meal this young chap is about to dig into! He’s got an appetizer plate teeming with gourmet nuts and berries. And for the entrée? Two succulent mealworms. Bon appétit!
Deck the mouse house with boughs of holly! All this little fellow needs to be more in the holiday spirit is a perfectly sized tiny little Santa’s hat, no?
If this lucky mouse ever feels too lazy to forage for food, he literally has to just peek his head out his front door for a sweet snack. Talk about having it made!
Simon’s awesome photo shoot with the mice caught the attention of the town quickly, and the local newspaper came to snap some pictures and chat with him about the creativity behind it all. Simon couldn’t believe his 15 minutes of fame came from his mouse village.
The work with the mice inspired Simon to try out silly photos with other animals. He thought it’d be funny to fill a miniature shopping cart with peanuts and wait for a squirrel to investigate.
Simon also snapped this amusing picture of a bird who looks like they’re standing outside of their home checking on the laundry they just hung out to dry on the clothesline.
Simon Dell had no idea his creativity would get him so much attention from all over the world. Of course, you can’t build a fancy mouse house without making some cats jealous… so this cat lady set out to do a little damage control.
Most cat trees are pretty ordinary. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. They’re basic structures, and they don’t exactly make your house look beautiful. So it can be frustrating if you love aesthetics as much as you love your cats.
Still, the idea of building one these all by yourself can be pretty daunting. Where do you even begin? Luckily, one woman found herself in the same position, and she can serve as a real inspiration to us all!
She started by cutting down a small tree from outside, removing the leaves, and trimming all the branches. She didn’t want to start off using processed wood since that looked too boring. She really wanted to captivate her cats, after all!
Next, she cut the trunk and removed too-heavy branches so the tree would stand even without a base. This thing was going to be the center of a lot of cat activity, so it needed to be very sturdy.
Using a circle jigsaw, she then cut two base discs out of plywood for weight and stability. It was good that the tree could stand all on its own, but adding the base discs would keep it from toppling over.
The base was attached using lag screws, which were more effective for this kind of project than any other simple nail or screw. These special screws would ensure that the tree would stay connected to the base.
The tree was looking good—but she wasn’t done yet! Now that the tree was able to stand on its own and it had a supportive base that would help balance any additional weight, it was time for the next step…
From there, she used a laser level to cut the tops of the branches smoothly and evenly. If you don’t have a laser level handy, that’s fine; a standard level should get you similar results.
Then it was time to start making the platforms that would sit on the tree. Rather than just cut into the wood, the woman carefully created shapes using stencils out of cardboard.
Once this was done, she used the stencils to trace the shapes onto plywood; she then used a jigsaw to cut those shapes. Using a free form saw, like a jigsaw, enabled her to more easily create naturally organic-looking designs.
Using a belt sander, she rounded the edges to make the platforms safe for her kitties to play on. While cats are tough creatures, they can still get cuts and splinters. The woman wanted to do everything that she could to make the platforms comfortable for her cats.
Once this part was done, she decided to add a nice lacquer coat to make the platforms more pleasing to the eye. While shiny and smooth platforms wouldn’t matter much to the cats, they would still make the whole project look finished.
The project was moving forward at a tremendous clip and the tree was almost ready to go! Now, she had to figure out a way to safely mount the completed platforms onto the prepared branches…
Everyone knows how much cats like a good piece of carpet to claw, which got her thinking: perhaps what her platforms really needed was a nice patch of carpet for them to really tear up? So she went to work on cutting carpet…
Finally, she added some rope so the cats would have plenty of texture to grip while they were climbing. Although the cats would probably have no trouble climbing the bare branches of the tree at all, the rope was an added measure that would also help preserve the tree trunk.
And presto! That’s one impressive kitty playground. While it might be indoors, there was no denying that this DIY cat tree managed to completely capture the beauty and wonder of the outside world. These were some seriously lucky kitties!
One of her cats even gave it a thorough inspection. You can tell that this cat was totally elated to start climbing up and exploring her new tree! Cats spend so much of their day lying around, and it’s nice to see they appreciate the new activity.
This DIY cat tree was clearly a hit! Just an hour after it was installed, the woman’s cats were making good use of it. At first, they just seemed curious about the new addition, but before too long they totally made it their own.
Now, the owner didn’t have to worry about her cats messing up her furniture! This kitty seemed to have accepted that this tree was his new happy home! Not a bad spot to lounge around, huh?
Hopefully, these cats didn’t start fighting over who claimed the top perch! Really, there isn’t a bad perch on the whole tree. These cats should know how lucky they are to have a mom who loves them so much.