How to Build a Grey Squirrel Nesting Box
During the breeding season, grey squirrels will move closer to human homes, so you will need to build a wood-based box or a large den to attract them. They will use an older tree, preferably one that is not too close to humans, to build their nesting boxes. Wood is also preferred over painted wood because it will allow squirrels to climb out easily. Read on to learn how to build a grey squirrel nesting box.
During nesting season, squirrels will move closer to humans
Squirrels are highly territorial and vocal. Many species of squirrels claim as much as ten hectares of territory and breed twice a year. Because of their high population density, territories may overlap significantly. Squirrels mark their territories with urine and tail-waving displays and may bark warning calls at passing intruders. In urban environments, squirrels may become habituated to humans through repeated exposure.
During nesting season, grey squirrels are most likely to move close to human homes to raise their young. This means they may be around your home during nesting season, and you may notice a heightened level of activity. This may be because they are nesting in an area where they can reach your nest more easily. However, it is important to note that if you spot a nest, don’t attempt to catch the babies. If you do, you risk attracting unwanted visitors to your property.
They will build dens instead of dreys
A drey is a hollow sphere formed from a network of branches. Inside, it is lined with a mix of grass, moss, and leaves. The outer layer sheds water, while the inner layer provides insulation from cold. A drey typically contains only one entrance hole and is about a foot wide. Some dreys are incomplete, but they are the finest efforts of a young squirrel.
The building process typically takes at least 12 hours for each squirrel. However, multiple animals may share a drey. For example, two or more females may work together on the construction of the same drey. The process is typically more complex in wild squirrels, as they focus their energy on feeding. Therefore, a drey may take two to five days.
They prefer a wooden nesting box
When building a squirrel-friendly nest box, cedar is the best choice, but do not use lumber treated with a decay-prevention agent. Attach the box to the tree with two aluminum nails, preferably on the south or east side. When installing the box, make sure to leave about 18 to 20 feet between the box and the ground. If you are putting the box on a tree that is susceptible to cavity formation, position it at least six feet above the ground. For best results, install a gray squirrel nest box on the east or south side of the tree.
Depending on the location, nest boxes may influence occupancy, as red squirrels build dreys in anthropogenic habitats, such as buildings, street lamps, and wooden ornamental figures. Nest boxes that are placed at lower levels of the tree canopy were not used by breeding females. Despite these challenges, red squirrels often build a nest in a wooded box and have several clutches. Moreover, the presence of great tit clutches in the same box did not affect the red squirrel’s use of the boxes, although they did eat some of the eggs and chicks.
They need mature trees
It is common knowledge that squirrels require a large, mature tree to build a nest. However, you can build a nesting box for these creatures by affixing a plain wooden box to a young tree. Squirrels are attracted to the simple design, so do not be discouraged if yours isn’t. They will happily occupy it if it meets their basic requirements.
It is recommended that the tree is at least 12 feet high, and preferably more. Adding a pole will discourage the squirrels from using it, as they cannot retreat into a tree if it’s unstable. The best option is to plant the box in an area where there is plenty of trees and overlapped branches. Ground squirrels, on the other hand, are safer on the ground.
They prefer to build them in tree cavities
A grey squirrel nesting box is similar to a box built for humans. Squirrels build large nest cavities that can reach up to 2 feet in width. These dreys are built in hollow tree trunks or nooks and crannies. This is a convenient place for them to build a winter home. However, squirrels do chew on backyard trees and may decide to build their winter nest in a box instead.
To attract gray squirrels, build a nesting box near a tree. Choose a tree with a large tree canopy, and avoid building nest boxes near buildings. Similarly, female fox squirrels prefer nest boxes near the field edge. The wood in the nest box must be cedar or untreated lumber. For added protection, attach the nesting box to a healthy, non-cavity tree. It should be placed about 18 to 20 feet from the ground.
Cost of building one
The cost of building a grey squirrel nesting box is minimal and the benefit it offers is manyfold. Nest boxes are often used by gray squirrels during the winter months, when they will nest inside and avoid human predators. Unlike wood boxes, plastic ones will last for many years and will be easy to clean between litters. Building a squirrel box is easy and inexpensive, but you will need to consider several factors, such as location and nest box design.
The home range of gray squirrels varies from 1.5 to eight acres. In areas with high population density, the home ranges of dominant squirrels are smaller. These animals are social creatures and develop social hierarchies. Their home ranges are determined by their sex and age, and are often much larger than their competitors. In some areas, they are known to be destructive to landscaping and human structures. In addition to eating seed, squirrels can leave behind leftover food and damage plant blossoms. While this is not considered a health risk, it can be costly to feed birds in the area.
What is a nesting box?
A nesting box is a man-made structure that provides animals with a place to live mate and rear their young.
What is the purpose of a nesting box?
The purpose of a nesting box is to provide animals with a place to live mate and rear their young.
What is a grey squirrel?
A grey squirrel is a species of squirrel that is native to North America.
What is the scientific name for a grey squirrel?
The scientific name for a grey squirrel is Sciurus carolinensis.
Where do grey squirrels live?
Grey squirrels are found throughout North America in both rural and urban areas.
What do grey squirrels eat?
Grey squirrels are omnivorous and their diet consists of both plant and animal matter.
What is the average lifespan of a grey squirrel?
The average lifespan of a grey squirrel is 5-10 years in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity.
How big is a grey squirrel?
Grey squirrels range in size from 15-25 cm in length and weigh between 200-400 grams.
What is the gestation period for a grey squirrel?
The gestation period for a grey squirrel is approximately 44 days.
How many young does a grey squirrel typically have?
A grey squirrel typically has 2-5 young per litter.
When do grey squirrels have their young?
Grey squirrels have their young between February and May.
How long do grey squirrels stay with their mother?
Grey squirrels stay with their mother for approximately 3 months before they are independent.
What is the natural predators of a grey squirrel?
The natural predators of a grey squirrel include hawks owls snakes and coyotes.
What is the biggest threat to grey squirrels?
The biggest threat to grey squirrels is habitat loss due to human development.
Why build a grey squirrel nesting box?
Building a grey squirrel nesting box can help to provide these animals with a place to live and rear their young and can also help to offset the loss of their natural habitat.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.