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-release enclosure .


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-toxic finish.  


       Con(s): The placement of the opening makes much of the space unusable  (yellow area). The mid-      level door and makes it easy for predators to reach into the box .  The bottom drain holes appear large enough for a raccoon to reach in and pull  babies or limbs out - Yikes!   Once the nesting materials are in, the squirrel will be inches below the opening making it hard to keep those babies that haven’t been eaten by raccoons from blindly wriggling out.


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

          KNWoodworks.com



3. The Clean Out door

The ability

to clean out

the contents

of the house

will add years

of useful life.

Squirrels will

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 info@squirrelrefuge.org

Considerations buying a Squirrel box

Building a Squirrel House
Building a Squirrel House

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)


KNWoodworks Houses        Duncraft Squirrel House           Nuts About Squirrels Houses         A J’s Squirrel House (Recycled Tire) Squirrel Houses


Know of other great squirrel houses?  Let us know so we can share them!   Send information to info@SquirrelRefuge.org

Release Planning

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.