At a rampen bar made out of Popsicle sticks, the squirrels can slurp down a bowl of homemade mushroom broth.

Squirrel tables have emerged as one of the quirkiest trends of the pandemic. Resembling miniature picnic tables, they're typically made from cedar or pine, and measure about 8 by 5 inches.

People affix them to fences or trees, or sometimes arrange them on the ground. Although called  ''squirrel tables'', people lay out a selection of nuts and seeds for any backyard creature, be it squirrel, chipmunk or groundhog.

The trend seems to have started in March, when Rick Kalinowski, an unemployed plumber in Bryn Mawr, Pa., posted a series of pictures of a squirrel feeder in the Facebook group ''All About Squirrels.''

In one widely shared picture, a squirrel sits on the table attached to a fence and grasps peanuts with its little hands.

The sight of the animal doing something so humanlike and peculiar captured the hearts of thousands. People who suddenly had more time on their hands were delighted with the prospect of having their own squirrel tables.

Among the squirrel table enthusiasts is Steph Moore, 40, a self-described maker in Walton. She and her three children had become fascinated with the squirrels that run along the fence. Inspired by the videos online, she made a table using a laser cutter and attached it to a tree.

Now, the family leaves snacks for the two squirrels that visit most often. ''They're very picky,'' she said. ''They know they're getting food, but they only like it when we put out the good nuts,'' namely walnuts.

This new hobby has surprised Ms.Moore. ''I didn't find them cute....... at least I didn't,'' she said. ''I grew up terrified by rodents,'' she said, adding that she now finds them adorable.   

And for this kind human Ms. Hansberger, the solace found making : ''I get these messages every day  from strangers that tell me all the things they've been going through all these months,'' she said. 

''Watching this little chipmunk makes them smile or brings them some comfort, or something to look forward to. That's enough.''

The World Students Society thanks author Lia Picard.


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