I started looking at Squirrel Houses for my backyard friends and wanted to share the information that I had found. This guide will cover the following topics:
- What is the Best Squirrel House?
- Will Squirrels Really Use a Man Made House?
- Why Should You Put Up a Squirrel House?
- How to Install a Squirrel House
Let’s get started!
The Best Squirrel House for Sale
The absolute best squirrel house available is The Ultimate Nut House by JC Wildlife.
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There are several things you need to look for in a squirrel house and the Ultimate Nut House has them all covered.
Squirrel Safety is Priority Number One
The primary reason squirrels will use this house is as a nest to raise their babies.
It turns out that raccoons think baby squirrels are a pretty tasty meal.
The Nut House is designed with two layers of protection against raccoons. The first layer or protection is a baffle inside the house, directly below the entrance hole, that prevents a raccoon from getting its arm into the bottom of the box. The second layer of protection is that the outside access to the entrance hole is restricted by decorative windows.
It is easy for squirrels to get in and out of this house but a raccoon will find the task nearly impossible.
If you decide to buy another product other than the Nut House please make sure it at least has a predator baffle on the inside of the house!
Keep the Squirrels Warm and Dry
The Nut House has cross ventilation holes drilled on the opposite side of the opening to help keep air moving.
The house also has drainage holes in the base to help get rid of any rain that manages to get past the sloped roof.
Between the ventilation and drainage considerations this house is well designed will keep the baby squirrels warm and dry.
Long Lasting Construction
You are going to want to mount this house in an elevated location and it is a job that you will only want to do once.
The Nut House is made from recycled poly-lumber which will last much longer than any wood box and by purchasing this box you are encouraging recycling and keeping material out of landfills.
Nest boxes that are made from wood are tempting but will only last a few years.
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Will Squirrels Use a Squirrel House?
Squirrels are perfectly capable of building nests in trees so the idea of a putting up a house for them might seem silly. However, there is actually a pretty large demand for housing and this is especially true in urban areas where there is a large population of squirrels.
The Missouri Department of Conservation published an interesting review that indicated that a pair of squirrels actually has three nests. The male and female have their own individual nests and they use a third nest to raise their young.
The male and female share a nest up until the babies are born at which time the Daddy gets kicked out of the house. He has to go make another nest to hang out in while Momma is doing the hard work of raising babies.
When the babies grow up and leave Momma’s nest then Daddy gets to come back home. The young squirrels that just moved out now have to find nests of their own and the cycle repeats.
So, yes, squirrels will use a squirrel house and they will be glad to have a safe and warm place to hunker down.
Squirrel Houses Act as Dreys and Dens
In nature tree squirrels have two types of nests: dreys and dens.
Dreys are large collections of twigs and leaves that are found in the forks of large trees (source). A completed drey has a spherical interior with a diameter of at least 12 inches. The interior of the dry is usually lined with soft materials such as moss or pine needles.
A squirrel den is a nest that is made inside a cavity of a tree. These cavities are often abandoned woodpecker nests.
When given a choice, squirrels prefer nesting in dens instead of dreys because dens do not have to be built and offer a greater level of security.
These nest boxes are on the exterior of the tree like a drey but offer all of the enhanced protection of a den.
Squirrel Nesting Boxes Can Help Protect Your House
Squirrels breed and have litters twice per year. One breeding season is in the early spring while the other is typically mid summer. The open nests that squirrels live in for most of the year are exposed to predators and a mother squirrel will often tear her way into houses to find a more secure area to raise her babies.
By putting up a box that can be used as a squirrel den you can encourage Momma squirrels to stay outside instead of gnawing their way into your attic.
Squirrels will also try to invade your home in the late fall to early winter if they cannot find an enclosed cavity to protect themselves from cold, winter weather. Your squirrels need a safe place to nest and sleep.
Putting Up A Squirrel House is Fun!
It is a blast to watch squirrels scurry around their new home and raise a litter of babies. When you see the baby squirrel stick its head out of the nest box hole for the first time you will be hooked and want to put up more!
The youngsters will begin to chase each other as they develop their strength and coordination. If you have a keen eye then you learn to tell the babies apart as they scamper and play.
How to Install a Squirrel House
You should place the squirrel house as high as possible in a tree (at LEAST 10 feet, 20 feet is preferable). The entry hole should face either East or South…basically you want the hole to NOT face the prevailing wind direction.
You should not install a nest box on a fence post where is could be easily accessed by predators or on a flat surface such as the side of a barn/garage where the squirrels would struggle to reach it.
Squirrels use the boxes the most in the winter so early fall is an excellent time to buy and install the house.
It is not necessary to clean the box between litters but it can be a fun excuse to check the box and see how it is holding up.
You can also make life a little easier for the squirrels by mounting the house on the same tree that has your squirrel feeders. If you don’t have a feeder yet or just want a cuter one then check out these squirrel feeders for sale.