People acting squirrelly


So the other day, my sister and brother in-law were visiting from California, and at one point got talking about these people who were dressing in “squirrel suits” and jumping off buildings and some of the cliffs out there.

So, I imagined what I would think most people imagined. Crazy people dressing up as giant squirrels (maybe some of them dressed up as chipmunks or rabbits or whatever) and climbing around and jumping off things. Like squirrels do.

But apparently they were talking about something else. Something that you have to be a bit squirrelly to do, but not exactly squirrel-looking. They were talking about this:


  1. #1 Lilian Nattel
    January 11, 2009

    How do they land?

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    January 11, 2009

    Good question! I imagine the first dozen or so times this was invented it was a dead end!

    Actually, they are wearing little parachutes and they deploy them before they hit the ground. They can slow down with a squirrel suit but not enough to make a safe landing.

    Or so I’m told.

  3. #3 Kevin Anthoney
    January 11, 2009

    Saw one of those squirrel suits on Top Gear (Brit TV programme) a few years ago. No cliffs around, though – he was just racing one of the presenters who was driving a Porsche Cayenne.

    How do they land?

    With a parachute. You can just see it open right at the end of the clip.

  4. #4 Romeo Vitelli
    January 11, 2009

    Maybe these flying squirrels are hoping to hook up with a moose…

  5. #5 george.w
    January 11, 2009

    Holy schnitt that looks like a lot of fun. How long until someone tries it off a really tall mountain?

  6. #6 David Lee
    January 11, 2009

    I don’t. terminal velocity, a 45 degree angle and rocks doesn’t leave much room for a mistake. Must be getting old…

  7. #7 Mike V
    January 11, 2009

    Those make an appearance in one of the Tomb Raider movies (don’t recall which one). A daring escape ™ is made by putting those on and leaping from an under-construction skyscraper.

  8. #8 Doug Alder
    January 11, 2009

    It’s the “evolution” of BASE jumping and is becoming quite popular. The clip posted is from an action DVD called Seven Sunny Days by Matchstick Production. Checkout some of their other films at

  9. #9 Carlie
    January 11, 2009

    Ha! My first thought was also “Hm, but they’re not showing any landings…”

    Put me in mind of this video. (Kiwi!, for the click-averse)

  10. #10 Pyre
    January 11, 2009

    Mike V: it was the second Tomb Raider, “The Cradle of Life”. That shows the switch to parachutes in order to land. Great scene. Real stunt, not CGI.

  11. #11 Pyre
    January 11, 2009

    Something that you have to be a bit squirrelly to do, but not exactly squirrel-looking.

    Greg, I’m surprised at you. Haven’t you ever seen a flying squirrel? They use the webbing between “arms”/”legs” and body to glide and thus extend their jumps from tree to tree. These suits very strongly resemble flying squirrels.

  12. #12 Greg Laden
    January 11, 2009

    I have seen flying squirrels in both North America and Africa, and the difference is if you drop even a regular squirrel about 40 times its body height it (usually) is uninjured, but if you do that to a person they (usually) don’t survive!

    Now, that video … I don’t know about that video …

    I prefer this one

  13. #13 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    January 11, 2009

    That really looks like fun, and I would try it if I were younger and in better shape and had life insurance for my kids. I can’t think of any better way to die than flying like that.

  14. #14 Romeo Vitelli
    January 12, 2009

    “I can’t think of any better way to die than flying like that.”

    Really? Dying of extreme old age would be my preference.