How to Build a Red Squirrel House Nest Box

Written by erin ringwald
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How to Build a Red Squirrel House Nest Box
Red squirrels are vocal animals. (red squirrel image by the h from

Red squirrels are small reddish squirrels found in most parts of Alaska and Canada and in the Rocky Mountain states and the north central and northeastern United States. They are similar to the more common grey squirrel. One physical difference, other than the colour, is that the red squirrel's tail is shorter and not as bushy. If you are a fan of red squirrels playing in your yard, you may want to consider installing a squirrel nest box in your yard to encourage them to nest there. You can purchase a nest box that is premade or if you prefer you can make your own at home for less money.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • 4 foot by 8 foot piece of 1/2 inch untreated exterior plywood
  • Wood saw
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Jigsaw or sabre saw and blades
  • 1 1/4 inch 18 gauge wire nails (brads)
  • Hammer
  • Tacks
  • Screening
  • Screws
  • Two 1 1/2 inch hinges and screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Hook and eye
  • Nontoxic wood sealer
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Two 3 inch heavy duty nails

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  1. 1

    Cut six separate pieces from the plywood. You will need one front piece that is 20 inches high by 9 inches wide. You will need one back piece that is 25 inches high by 10 inches wide.

    You will need two side pieces. Each of the side pieces will be 15 inches wide, cut straight across at the bottom but angled at the top--the height will be 20 inches on the front of the piece and 22 inches at the back.

    You will need one roof piece that is 18 inches long by 14 inches wide. You will need one bottom piece that is 15 1/2 inches long by 10 inches wide.

  2. 2

    Cut a hole 2 1/2 inches in diameter into one of the side pieces using a jigsaw or sabre saw. The hole should be 4 inches down from the top of the side piece and an inch in from the back of the piece (the 22 inch edge).

  3. 3

    Nail both side pieces, the back piece, and the front pieces to each other and to the bottom piece. Make sure the pieces are flush to one another. Nail through the back piece into the side pieces, and through the side pieces into the front piece. Nail through the bottom into the side, back and front pieces. Space nails roughly 3 inches apart. Once the pieces are secure you will have a box without a top.

  4. 4

    Create a ladder for the squirrels from the bottom of the nest box up to the entry hole by tacking a piece of screening in place.

  5. 5

    Place the roof onto the top of the box. The roof will overhang the front of the box by about 3 inches and overhang each side by 2 inches. Use the hinges and screws to attach the roof to the back.

  6. 6

    Attach the hook and eye in position to latch the roof closed. This protects against raccoons while allowing the nest box to be opened for cleaning.

  7. 7

    Use an outdoor wood sealer to protect your entire box. Make sure you choose a nontoxic sealant and allow it to dry completely.

  8. 8

    Fill your completed nest box with 3 to 4 inches of shredded newspaper or straw before hanging it.

  9. 9

    Use two 3 inch nails through the back of the box to hang it on the trunk of a tree or a large branch. It is best to hang it as high as you can to protect squirrels from predators, at least 10 feet off the ground.

Tips and warnings

  • You can use the same design for a red squirrel box to make a box for grey squirrels.

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