Robot Squirrel: $325,000
Researchers at San Diego State University and the University of California, Davis spent part of a $325,000 National Science Foundation grant to make “RoboSquirrel,” a taxidermied rodent that can wag its tail. The purpose: to help study interactions between squirrels and rattlesnakes. "During these difficult fiscal times of massive deficits, paying $325,000 for a robot squirrel seems a bit squirrelly," the report says. But other robot mammals are in the works, including RoboSquirrel 2.0 and RoboKangarooRat.