This hilarious video shows woodland creatures bouncing on a garden trampoline at night – in scenes just like the new John Lewis Christmas advert.
The wild stoats, or short-tailed weasels, were caught on camera playfully bouncing around in the middle of the night.
Artist Robert Fuller, 44, captured the wildlife activity on CCTV cameras placed in his garden and the stoats can be seen playing on a trampoline and cabbage netting stretched over a vegetable patch.
The footage has now been compared to the John Lewis Christmas advert which features foxes, a badger, a squirrel and a hedgehog bouncing on a trampoline.
The latest ad, which for many signals the start of the festive season, was a huge hit when it debuted on television last week.
Robert said: “I’m not sure whether the makers of the John Lewis advert realise that this can actually happen. But of course it is very difficult to capture animals at play like this in reality.
“One day I was going through the footage that had been collated overnight when I noticed one of the stoats bouncing on the trampoline.
“Shortly after that I discovered that these animals were also bouncing on the cabbage netting I had stretched over the vegetable patch.
“They were clearly enjoying themselves. Jumping and even doing flips. I think they preferred the buoyancy of the cabbage netting to the trampoline.”
After seeing the footage, which is currently on display alongside other funny animal photos and video clips at his gallery in Thixendale, North Yorks., Robert built an obstacle course to test their agility.
Robert said: “They really seemed to enjoy the challenge of balancing and reaching for objects. I even built them a maze which they completed with ease.”
The father-of-two goes to extraordinary lengths to photograph wildlife in its natural habitat to use as studies for his paintings.He said: “I use video so that I can see how the muscles of an animal move so that I get that right in my paintings.”
But their close proximity is no accident.
Robert’s garden, situated on a steep slope above the remote village of Thixendale, is a haven for wildlife.
He built nest boxes for the owls, planted a woodland for them to live in and leaves food out three times a day.
His entire garden is rigged with surveillance cameras linked to more than 30 TV monitors so that he can watch their every move.He has even built a seven-metre long underground tunnel out of drainage pipe that leads directly from his living room to a secret hideaway in the garden.
He uses a trolley and pulley system to manoeuvre down its length and inside there are more than 20 wildlife cameras linked to five TV monitors showing live images of all the wildlife activity in the garden at any one time.
Robert said: “I built the tunnel after becoming frustrated by the fact that every time I slipped outside to get a photograph of a creature it would see me coming.
“Then one day my father-in-law was watching me from the kitchen window trying to creep up on a stoat. There was a crust of snow on the ground and the stoat heard my footsteps crunching and slipped away before I could get to it.
“My father-in-law was joking when he said ‘what you need is a tunnel’ but I thought it was a really good idea.”