Dedicated to making the world a
better place one squirrel at a time
Figure 1. An overall good design, but....
This could be a great home for a squirrel in hot regions, but here in the pacific northwest, we call this a box of water hanging on a tree.
Pro(s): The back board makes this house easy to install. Roof slope is angled to allow rain to run off but gentle enough for comfortable perching on roof. Squirrels will enjoy sitting on the bottom ledge as well. Cedar discourages ectoparasites like fleas.
Con(s): The box is not designed for inclement weather and is not deep enough to protect the squirrel within from a raccoon. The lack of overhang over opening allows the elements (cold, rain, snow) to easily enter inside. The placement of the roof against the backboard (blue line) allows water to seep inside the box through the seam where the roof meets the backboard. Aromatic cedar is toxic for up to two years as it ‘airs out.’ Not the best choice for cold or wet climates, for nesting moms, or for young or debilitated squirrels sensitive to cedar fumes.
Fix(es): Affix a larger board to the top to overhang the opening and keep rain out and build a predator guard in front of the hole that will also serve to block wind or rain. Run waterproof sealant across the seam or even better, install flashing. Air out until cedar small is gone.
Figure 2. The baby squirrel ejector box
This box is ideal for the mother with teenage squirrels... or maybe as a squirrel ‘rest stop’
Pro(s): Multiple entry and exit points make it easy for a squirrel to make a quick
escape. This box is really only appropriate for indoor use or in a protected area,
like a pre-
Cons: The roof slope is too steep for squirrels to comfortably perch upon. The box is not deep enough to prevent predation (either length or depth (as indicated with red lines) must allow for 18 inches from door to squirrel, or a door guard or inner shelf must be present making the angle of reach impossible to grasp inhabitants). The positioning of the entrances allows babies to easily fall out of the box. The small overhang offers little protection from wind or rain.
Fix(es): Cover or screen the bottom (1/4 inch welded mesh would allow drainage) & place predator door guards at the front and side entrances.
Figure 3. Almost... But an odd Place for a door
Aka... The raccoon lunchbox.
Pros: Drainage on the bottom is important as many boxes fill with water during heavy
rains and you want to ensure that the bedding can dry. The back opening facilitates
cleaning the box periodically. The back board permits the box to be nailed to the
tree. You would need additional hardware to attach the box at the top. The ventilation
slot at the top makes this box a good choice for hotter climates where the box must
be designed to allow heat to dissipate quickly. Squirrels will chew on the
box, so select boxes with untreated wood to prevent ingestion of toxins. If you
must paint, select a non-
Con(s): The placement of the opening makes much of the space unusable (yellow
area). The mid-
Fix(es) Cover or screen the bottom (1/4 inch welded mesh would allow drainage) & place a predator guard over front opening. Better yet, cover the ill placed door and drill one higher up.
2. The Predator Guard
A barrier in front of the
door makes it difficult
for predators to get in a
position to reach inside,
Inhibits squatters from
Moving in, and protects
the interior from weather
3. The Clean Out door
to clean out
of the house
will add years
of useful life.
Abandon a house
With a heavy parasite load, this allows you to ensure the house is always fresh. Another key feature is the screw to secure the door.
1. The inner Ledge.
An inner shelf makes it
much harder for a
predator to reach in,
it shields the occupant
from rain and wind, and
provides a nice ledge
to watch from before
exiting the box.
Features to consider
We’ve built A LOT of squirrel houses, learning what works and what definitely doesn't. This page describes what we have learned that can be applied to designing or selecting the most appropriate squirrel box for your climate, species of tree squirrel; along with suggestions for retrofitting an existing box to make it appropriate to your conditions.
Do you have information or lessons learned about squirrel houses that you want to share? Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Our design for building a squirrel house; as well as, links to other designs and information to help you build the best box for your squirrel(s)
Know of other great squirrel houses? Let us know so we can share them! Send information to info@SquirrelRefuge.org
Planning is vital to giving ensuring each squirrel gets the best shot at survival. Planning starts early in the rehabilitation process, from raising the squirrel in an appropriately sized release group, building a house, selecting a site, and taking into consideration factors and time of year.