How to Build Homes for Gray Squirrels

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In some areas, such as Washington, native western gray squirrels are a threatened species. Giving them safe places to shelter from the cold encourages them to breed and helps protect the ones already living in the area. Squirrel houses are available for purchase, but you can also make your own from a single 10-inch wide, 9-foot long board.

Step 1

Cut a 24-inch long section of a 9-foot long, 10-by-1-inch board with a circular saw. This is the back piece of the squirrel house.

Step 2

Make three additional cuts in the board to create three 18-inch-long sections. These make the front and both sides of the squirrel house.

Step 3

Cut a single piece 14 inches long for the top and divide the remaining section in half to make two 8-inch pieces. One of these is for the bottom and one is not needed for the basic house design.

Step 4

Cut with a jigsaw to remove a 4-by-4-inch section from one corner of one of the side pieces to make a door.

Step 5

Place the two side pieces at right angles to the back section, one along each edge. Put the door opening at the top, against the back piece. Arrange the side boards so that the bottom edges of both pieces are 3 inches up from the bottom edge of the back board. This should also leave a couple of free inches at the top of the back board. Hammer 1 1/2-inch nails through the back section into the side section to hold the them in place.

Step 6

Fit the bottom section between the two side pieces, aligning it with their lower edges. Hammer in 1 1/2-inch nails to hold it to both sides and the back piece.

Step 7

Lay the front piece on the edges of both sides and the bottom piece. Place it so that the bottom of the front piece lines up with the bottom section and the lower edges of both sides. Nail it to all three pieces.

Step 8

Cover the top of the squirrel house with the top board and nail it in place.

Step 9

Hang the squirrel house at least 30 feet up in a tree that has a trunk with a minimum 10-inch diameter. Hammer at least two 3-inch galvanized nails into the trunk through the back board above the living space and two below it. If the tree has thick bark, use 4-inch nails to ensure a secure fit. Make sure they reach into solid wood so the house can’t fall.

Items you will need

  • 10-by-1-inch board, 9 feet long
  • Circular saw with wood-cutting blade
  • 1 1/2-inch nails
  • Hammer
  • Jigsaw with wood-cutting blade
  • 3- to 4-inch nails
  • Extension ladder, 30-foot

Tip

  • If you want to add a resting bench or inside step, cut the leftover piece of board in half and install one section inside the squirrel house about 6 inches below the top near the doorway.

Warning

  • Cats can get into the squirrel homes no matter where you put them. Either keep cats in the house or hang a bell on the kitty’s collar to warn the squirrels of danger.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images