Where Do Squirrels Sleep?

Squirrels belong to the rodent family and are medium-sized creatures. Squirrels are found everywhere worldwide except in Antarctica and Australia. You can see squirrels running and climbing trees everywhere during the day. They sprint over power lines and yards. But, you may be wondering, after they are drained at night and need some rest to recover, “Where Do Squirrels Sleep?.”

Squirrels are diurnal, meaning that they mostly sleep at night and like being active during the day. Different squirrel species have different habitats and sleep cycles depending on the climate. Squirrels make for wonderful pets but are also very notorious, and that’s why it’s crucial to be familiar with their sleeping habits.

Of course, like most animals, squirrels also sleepIn fact, they sleep for longer durations than compared to other creatures of similar species, such as mice and rats. Squirrels love sleeping a lot. They even sleep longer than us. During winters and the summers, their sleep duration is longer than usual.

Do Squirrels Have Nests in Trees?

Yes, all squirrels have their nests in trees which are called a drey. They look like a small, round collection of leaves. A drey or a nest comprises grass, small twigs, moss lining, and leaves. You can find them in cavities of a tall tree or tree branches, but only in trees that are 20ft or higher than 20 ft. Trees are the second-favorite spot of squirrels to make their nests in. Squirrels also build their nests in house attics, which is the second most common place for a squirrel’s nest.

Dreys come in different shapes and sizes, but the usual size is around six to nine inches in diameter. They’re mostly constructed of leaves, but squirrels can make them out of wood, paper, or garbage. During winter, squirrels sleep together in these nests to keep each other warm.

The primary reasons or purposes squirrels build nests are:

  • Surviving winter
  • Marking and surveying territories
  • Providing a safe shelter for their children.

Squirrels mostly build different kinds of multiple dreys in their territories. These dreys are in places with food or a nearby food source available. Different types of nests have their own different purposes. 

These nests provide insulation to squirrels during cold winds and weather and aid them in surviving winters. Most nests are reinforced because squirrels use them for their hibernation.

Are Tree Squirrels Different From Wild Squirrels?

Yes, tree squirrels are indeed different from wild squirrels. Wild squirrels are usually called ground squirrels. These squirrels mostly live underground – in ‘burrows.’ They use their burrows or tunnels to store food, protect and raise their children, and protection from preying animals. Burrows range from six to forty feet in length and are three to five feet deep. They can also become colonies that link multiple wild squirrels underground through an interconnected network of tunnels.

On the other hand, tree squirrels live in nests called dreys made of leaves, twigs, and barks.

To the eyes, wild and tree squirrels are identical, but not the same. Wild squirrels are striped on their back and possess a white-colored ring marked around their eyes. But they don’t have stripes over their head like a chipmunk. On the other hand, tree squirrels have zero markings or stripes on their body.

Another distinguishing feature of tree squirrels is their tails. Tree squirrels have large, thick, and hairy tails which keep their body balanced while doing activities like climbing or jumping here and there. The average length of tree squirrels is anywhere between 10 and 22 inches, while wild squirrels are about 7-14 inches.

How Do Squirrels Sleep?

Squirrels sleep by curling their body because this keeps their body warm during winters. In summers, squirrels sleep during the whole night and also during afternoons. Generally, male squirrels sleep alone, whereas female squirrels sleep with their offspring. Still, the male and female nests are close to each other and not far away. Here are some lesser-known facts about squirrels:

  • Squirrels do not sleep with their eyes wide open. Yes, squirrels have eyelids, but they don’t sleep with their eyes open, and like most mammals, squirrels also close their eyelids and sleep. Squirrels always blink and are known for their superb eyesight.
  • Tree squirrels don’t sleep together. They sleep together only during the winter season to stay warm from each other’s body heat. But mostly, male and female squirrels sleep separately. This is because female squirrels prefer sleeping with their children to keep them safe and look after them.

What Time Do Squirrels Go to Sleep at Night?

Squirrels get an astounding 15-hours of sleep in a day. But how?

Gray squirrels being crepuscular, are active only during dawn and dusk. Tree squirrels adore the sun and love to roam outside their nests all day long in the summers.

Squirrels love to stay in their nests and sleep when they are not searching for food, running around, or mating. As most squirrel predators are nocturnal, it is an obvious move by squirrels that they protect themselves from their prey by staying in their nests at night.

Where Do Squirrels Sleep?

The sleeping habits of squirrels are different according to the type of squirrel, season, and the geographical location in which they belong. Squirrels mostly sleep in trees or burrows built underground. After getting exhausted by playing, running, and searching for food, squirrels rest in their respective nests.

You will find red squirrels and tree squirrels sleeping in their drey or dens at night. Red squirrels sleep a lot. On the other hand, ground squirrels are excellent at digging underground tunnels or burrows. Burrows are their sleeping places where they like to go to at night.

Gray squirrels are crepuscular, and that’s precisely why they sleep mostly during the day but take a few short naps during the night. But, these short naps keep them alert and awake and help prevent predator attacks.

Are Squirrels Nocturnal?

No, squirrels are not nocturnal because they stay active throughout the daytime. But, most of them go into their nests when temperatures are very cold or hot, and they cannot bear the temperature conditions. Instead, squirrels are diurnal, meaning that they are active during the day like human beings.

Does a Squirrel Hibernate?

Squirrels are such creatures that are ideal for extreme habitats and can survive almost effortlessly. But, they do tend to avoid arid and polar areas. But, not all squirrels hibernate. Ground squirrels are the only squirrels that can be found hibernating. Other squirrels like the fox squirrel and gray squirrel lay in their nests and sleep. Ground squirrels sleep in their burrows throughout the whole winter season. Also, ground squirrels hibernate only in the winter months.

Ground squirrels don’t leave their homes while they are hibernating. Instead, they only get out of their burrow when they need to urinate and search for food.

Where Do Squirrels Go in the Winter?

Squirrels generally sleep in their nests or burrows in the winters. But, a common but essential detail in squirrels is that tree squirrels use holes inside trees or tree trunks in place of their usual drey. But squirrels move to houses and sleep inside chimneys, vacant attics, or any other dark place if the temperature is too cold for them. Baby tree squirrels stick with their mothers during winters.

Ground squirrels take shelter inside their burrows or underground dens or burrows during winters. Squirrels sleep together to keep themselves warm during the winters. Squirrels store large amounts of food before winter arrives.

Where Do Squirrels Go When it Rains?

During the rainy season or rain, flying and tree squirrels sleep in tall, hollow trees rather than their dreys. Squirrels also use their tail as a shelter or cover during rain to prevent them from getting wet. They do this if their nests have been destroyed in the storms that come with rain. This is the case with a flying squirrel also. Fox squirrels take shelter inside tree trunks.

A ground squirrel stays inside his burrow during rain and likes to stay grounded. They dig their burrows very deep in rigid soil so that they do not drown during floods. Most burrows have interconnected tunnels.

Final Words – Where Do Squirrels Sleep?

Squirrels are adorable creatures that you can usually spot anywhere. But, they can also cause so much nuisance in the place that they are around. While flying squirrels may not, a tree squirrel can invade your homes at any time. But, you should handle them very patiently.

The key to keeping them out of the house is finding where they live and clearing that. But, you should be very careful while doing so because it may have baby squirrels.