Instructables
Picture of Squirrel Nest Camera
 There are numerous "squirrel cams" on the internet.  The following is my rendition. 

I had access to all the things I needed - squirrels, tools, wood, web server, ... I looked around the web for design ideas, then set up the following. 

And, it only took me two years to get around to publishing this entry. Hope you like it.



 
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Step 1: Design

Picture of Design
build1.JPG
build-cam.JPG
I settled on this design as it had the features that squirrels told me they liked ( I conducted a short focus group), and it provided a place for the web camera.  The web camera was purchased on ebay for about $15.  It is a small SOC USB web cam surrounded by six infrared LEDs. Camera and LEDs use USB for both power and communication.

I went with USB as it was cheap, simple, and quick.  The biggest limitation is range.  USB-2 has a range of 5 meters.  I consider this build a "proof of concept".  See future improvements section for alternate camera ideas.  You can overcome the 5 meter USB limit with active USB cables or addition of a hub.  ( or go with a non usb camera - a wifi enabled camera would be ideal )

Actual house dimensions are pretty flexible as well. My target for the house area was roughly 1'x1' and 18" tall.    I used 11.5" pine shelving, and only cut pieces  to length.

Tools used - I used all my power and air tools - table saw, nail gun, etc - but this build could easily be done with a hand saw, glue, screws, a drill, and a screwdriver.

Materials - wood $20, lexan $5, camera $15, software $30, screws and stuff were whatever I had around.

see additional information is in image notes in yellow boxes on the pictures.


sjoobbani3 years ago
Love it. What's the URL?
Dr Qui4 years ago
Nice post, Sadly I had to say GAH! nasty grey squirrels when i saw this, In Ireland, the UK and also Europe greys are considered vermin as they carry a disease that wipes out the native red squirrel. Its a case of they are nice to see but I hate to see them. Andy.
gjm4 years ago
I hate to be a buzz kill but you really don't want to encourage squirrels (AKA cute rats with bushy tails) to climb on your house and roof.
They can cause a lot of damage if they decide they want to climb into your chimney or chew their way through a roof vent.
But on a positive note this is a neat idea and I would just mount it to a tree or something.
Agreed. I think this is a very cute idea, but for a tree a safe distance away from your house, and most definately not on the house itself.

Squirrels who become to familiar with humans will eventually try to make their way into your house. Not only can they chew large holes in your roof and walls, but they carry diseases--especially in their urine and fecal matter. The copious amounts of squirrel "wastes" can make you and your family very ill and will also wreak havoch on your home (think of a leaky pipe and what it can do to a ceiling, but with urine.)  Ick.
I'm not sure where you're getting your information on squirrels but they do not carry the same excrement diseases like rats do. Your comments sound like rats. I have friends with pet squirrels who were rescued and they are extremely clean animals. However having said that, I'm sure if urine and feces were left to ferment, that would not be good either, but fresh urine and feces are not a risk normally.
kenbob (author)  gjm4 years ago
Thanks for the concern.  Maybe I have just been lucky, but there are 100s of squirrels around the area, most of my neighbors have feeders, and none have had any damage or issues.  That said, I know it happens, and have heard the horror stories.  I specifically checked the squirrel house and surrounding area for damage or chewing - after two years, other than nesting material, there were no visible signs of squirrel use.
Asuraku kenbob4 years ago
 Wait until they burn your house down. A good family friend of mine had her house burned to the ground just because a squirrel had chewed threw the 220 line coming into the house. 
lalunette gjm4 years ago
I completely agree. Squirrels chewed through the chimney screen cap on our house a couple years ago and "colonized" the furnace chimney during the summer.

Autumn came around and we fired up the furnace. Wow, what a stench !!

The entire chimney liner had to be removed and replaced because squirrel urine had damaged it... and caused the smell.

A new (and stronger) chimney screen cap was also installed and the squirrel problem was solved !!

Despite all this I still find them to be cute little rodents and fed them every winter.
jimofoz gjm4 years ago
 I have to agree. The idea is pretty cool, but move the squirrel shack away from your shack. You really don't want the rodents in your attic.
Buskieboy4 years ago
Really cute looking babies!  How long did they live there and could you tell them apart?  Did you name them?  Great project. 

Another cool one would be to do a bat house.  Apparently they are very similar to your squirrel nest box; close to the wall, under the roof etc.  
kenbob (author)  Buskieboy4 years ago
the pictures i posted were among the best we got.  Most of the time the babies were burrowed in to the nesting material, so not really visible.  And, when mature enough, the next day they were gone and did not return.  no, no names.  feel free to assign them;)

macgrudder4 years ago
can you rig up a gun to the camera?
kenbob (author)  macgrudder4 years ago
Wouldn't be very sporting ;)
Kryptonite4 years ago
Oh wow that's really cool, this is useful on the software and hardware side of things, thanks so much!
At what time span (months in a year) do squirrels usually have babies, if there is any consistent specific time period? I'm not sure just when I should put the nest box up... Also, what's a general best place in the tree to put the box to guarantee that squirrels will nest there? I have 2 redwood trees in my backyard, and pretty tall... Tons of squirrels live in it. would just putting the box somewhere on the side of the tree, relatively low and in an area without branches work, or would I have to place it way up in the branches? Thanks... I've been waiting for something like this 'ible. :D
kenbob (author)  MadBricoleur4 years ago
I am really not a squirrel expert.  This actually started out to be the Bunny-cam, but morphed along the way into squirrel-cam.  The nesting and babies have always been early spring, though last year we had a fall set.  If you search on squirrel nests there are a number of sites with details on what habitats they like.

we have two recurring natural nests around my house as well, and they are not similar.  One is about 15' high in a hedge, the other about 75' high in a large alder.  Hence, i think they are pretty flexible on what they will use.
Okay thanks :D. I hope I'm not too late in building one and putting it up. As for a Bunny-cam, I'm pretty sure squirrels are cuter to watch...(that I'm sure of because I used to have pet bunnies reproducing out of control, about a batch every month or so of at least 8 bunnies, and they really just looked like little rats... The only cute part was at about  2 weeks of age. After that, they just hopped out of the nest and were all over :P)
 Squirrels breed during the fall and give birth during the spring. Nests are built during the fall by males. 
Obediah4 years ago
I want to do this with my son.
You want to put your son in a box with a mounted camera..? Man, that's just horrible.. =P 
ROFLMBO... That made my day. ;) you got a huge sense of humor... or misunderstanding??? haha lol
LOL
kenbob (author)  PlastBox4 years ago
Winner - funniest comment.  Though I suppose it is just a variation on the video baby monitors you can buy:)
jm18204 years ago

tyler51773, just wondering if you have any links or information,  on how to convert a usb camera, into a network camera, with dd-wrt and a router ?

There are adapters that can convert a usb cam into a network cam. I found a few on ebay once.
foobear4 years ago
one million percent cute.  Could you post some videos of them?
Klappstuhl4 years ago
Daaaawww, I wuv them widdle fwuffy cweatures  :3

Feed 'em every time before winter. We've got those endangered red ones at our place, try to get them through every year. I should think about making a box like that!
watson91944 years ago
very nice,but $30 for software?
dorgem is a free program that does motion detection,alerts and can stream live video.
please dont take this as a criticism,as i really like your idea.
kenbob (author)  watson91944 years ago
When i put the system together, a couple of years ago, I had some trouble with Dorgem.  I will look at it for version 2.  Thanks for the tip!
richms4 years ago
Considered sending it up to ustream rather than having people hitting your IP directly?
fultron894 years ago
How bout a link to your webcam?
I'm all ready for some voyeur squirrel action....
tyler517734 years ago

you can also make a usb camera into a network camera via projects like dd-wrt and a compatible router.
 How cute!
Plus, this looks like a really well designed system!
ChrysN4 years ago
The babies are so sweet.
lemonie4 years ago
Aww, cute...

L
This is awesome and precious!!!