Dormouse nestbox design

Dormouse nestbox Dormouse nestbox, side view (click to enlarge)

Click pictures to enlarge.

You can make this dormouse nestbox easily. My simple dormouse nestbox design avoids complicated joinery and can be made up by a novice box builder.

Use untreated timber – choose larch, cedar or oak if you want your box to last more than a few years. Rough-sawn timber is fine, but watch out for splinters.

  1. Start with a board just 1 metre long, measuring approximately 150mm X 25mm (6″ x 1″).
  2. Saw off 3 sections, each of 200mm length.
  3. Cut one of those sections in half diagonally – cut from corner to corner. These triangles are the side panels.
  4. One of the whole 200mm sections is your floor, the other is the front / door. The 400mm section remaining is the roof.
  5. The pictures above show you how the 5 pieces fit together. Simple!

The box offers plenty of room. The large roof keeps off the rain. If you’re concerned about the floor gathering rain from the tree-trunk, cut away the central two-thirds of the edge of the floor which sits against the tree. Make the box inspectable by having a hinge on one side, and use a screw for secure closure.

Face the dormouse box towards the surface where you mount it. Hiding the entrance hole discourages most birds from using it and keeps the cavity cosy. Mount the box wherever you think best – a tree, a thorny bush, a post within a hedge, a garden shed, an ivy-clad wall, or a fence post.

Fix the box in place by using wire, wrapped around one or two screws on the side of the box, and then around a branch. Don’t wrap wire around the whole tree trunk unless you’re sure somebody will adjust it each year, to allow for growth.
(Read a great book on dormice… )

To use this as a bat box, you don’t have to do anything. Actually this design started as a bat box, standing the other way up! Forget drilling a hole if you want a bat box. Instead, cut or leave a very small gap at the base of the ‘door’ panel. Ensure the entrance is 15mm-18mm deep by at least 50mm wide.

Please try out my design and improvise to suit your favourite wildlife…

Jason Ball at Natureheads

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