“I created a place outside and put up the scene with the nuts,” said Geert Weggen, 52, who staged the nutty photo op in the forest near his home in Bispgården, Sweden.
Weggen told Caters News Agency that he would often feed the red squirrels in his garden, but clearly wanted to raise the bar.
In order to entice the animals to "lift weights", the photog explained that he fastened the "nuts together with a pin and hung them in the air".
He then placed some food above it — so the ripped rodents would have to climb the improvised barbells like a rope ladder in order to access the food — and snapped them mid-scramble, so they looked like they were lifting them.
The ingenious setup took Weggen days to shoot. He snapped the scene from only nine feet away. And while some of the more gregarious squirrels would let the photog touch them, other “very shy” ones would run away when he approached.
Naturally, some might criticize the photog for feeding wild animals, no matter how uproarious the setup. However, Weggen claims that they "mostly take care of themselves and do not need my food to survive".