Sleeping Habits of The Squirrels and Their Common Nests

Have you ever caught yourself thinking about where do squirrels sleep? What the animals actually do for shelter? We are talking about those in the wilderness that are getting on their own.

Most of the animals search for some safe place that can be used as a shelter where they can raise their young.

Some of the animals use different shelters, like for example the squirrels mostly use the drays, the dens and the holes.

Some of them spend the time mostly on the trees, while the other types want to be on the ground.

The circumstances also determine the type of shelter of the animals, such as the weather conditions, the climate, the area and the population of the other animals in the area.

What types of squirrels exist?

Grey Squirrel

You need to remember that not all of the squirrels are the same and that different types nest differently, which means have different shelters. Most of the families of the squirrels are ground, flying, marmots, chipmunks and prairie dogs.

The flying and tree squirrels mostly live in the trees while the ground ones can be found in the burrows or in some rocks where they have done their nest.

The Eastern grays squirrel and the fox squirrel of North America, the red one from Eurasia are the most common ones.

The nesting

squirrel s home

All of the squirrels nest within something, whether it is ground or a tree. The type of nest depends on the location, the season, environment and the type of squirrel.

For the flying and tree squirrels, the nest is of drays and dens. The den is on the side of the tree and is created while using leaves and moss. These dens can be built into some holes in the woods that are abandoned or in the cavities of the trees that are naturally made.

The dens need only covering from the portion that is faced outwards, so the squirrels are offered good option of nesting as a protection from the precipitation and the wind. Most of the species tend to use the dens during the winter period.

The dray represents a nest that is built in the branches in the tree and is consisted of twigs and leaves that are arranged by the needs of the squirrels. The dray is the place where the squirrels stay during the summer period where they can raise their young.

The drays can also be used during the winter months in order to provide warm shelter during the cold period. The squirrels can thicken and harden the drays with adding more moss, twigs and layers.

What the nests of the ground squirrels look like?

Squirrels home

We have talked enough about the flying and tree squirrels and their shelter. Have you ever wondered where do squirrels sleep, those on the ground? It is commonly known that can be found underground, among some rocks or other areas.

The ground squirrels can also have underground dens that are created with digging a hole or can be in the form of a burrow. They create a lot of tunnels underground and dig a lot of small holes where they can put different things.

The holes underground can be very big, since the squirrels make the nest for many of their kind. They don’t dig one hole for one squirrel. Their nest is pretty big and sometimes can cover bigger underground area.

Where do Squirrels Sleep and How the construction of the sleeping homes goes?

where do squirrels sleep

It is not simple as we see it on some of the documentaries or on some of the movies. The squirrels are hardworking animals that want to have safe and comfortable home for living.

Most of the nests are built 20 feet in the air and the best locations for placing the nests can be strong limb, tree trunk, close to some grapevine or among the branches, if we are talking for the flying type. If we take into consideration the ground type, then the underground is the one and only choice.

The moss, leaves and twigs are put in certain way in order to provide durability to the nest. The leaves are placed on the base and on the top, while the woven twigs and moss are the foundation. The lining on the outside can be thicker or thinner depending on the season and the weather.

The ground types just dig holes and tunnels under some rocks, logs and other structures in the nature that are not danger for their habitat.

Yet the squirrels can have a lot of entrances and exits, which means they have different routes for escaping. This might be interesting to be seen in the underground nests where these animals make these tunnels and connections that can lead to different exits.

Do the squirrels rely on one nest?

squirrel walking

They don’t usually build only one nest. So where do squirrels sleep, you would ask again? The tree squirrels build second nest, or sometimes even third as a precaution for survival.

The additional nests can help these animals to retreat fast if being caught from predators or in some bad weather. These are very smart animals, smarter than you thought.

These additional nests are made of leaves, and twig platforms that are piled freely. Sometimes even the abandoned bird nests can be used as a shelter.

What are the sleeping patterns?

Squirrels sleeping
Squirrels sleep

Where do squirrels sleep? How do they sleep? It is commonly known that these animals are very active during the day and get their rest during the night.

They seek for water and food during the light hours and usually eat pinecones, nuts, seeds and acorns. When the dark comes and the day finishes, the animals go into the nests in order to take care of the young or to sleep.

How is the night in the life of these animals?

baby squirrels sleep

Sometimes when you walk in your area and see some of these animals, ask yourself “where do squirrels sleep?” You can see the top of the trees, or some natural cavities and find their nests there.

You can even find some small holes in the rocks or underground entrances and know that these are homes too.

They estivate or hibernate in the nest, which means that in the phase of hibernation they can have long period of inactivity and that happens during the winter period, and the estivation is also longer period of inactivity but during the summer period.

As a preparation for these periods, these animals gain on weight and stay in their nests in order for these seasons to finish.

What is the hibernation process?

Squirrels sleep

The hibernation process is a longer period of inactivity during the winter period where the squirrels stay in the nest for 5 months in the year. It allows the animals to lower the temperature of the body to few degrees.

They will have few degrees warmer temperature than the outside, and this is due the less consummation of energy.

The heart rate is slowing down and the animals are awake 12-20 hours every week.

The tree squirrels are known to not hibernate; instead they provide warm shelter that will keep them warm during the cold period. The den is more useful than the dray which is ticker, and can help these animals to keep appropriate temperature in the cold months.

What is the estivation process?

Where do squirrels sleep? Is the estivation part of their sleep? It is a way where these animals handle the extreme weather conditions. It occurs during the summer period when high temperatures are present and where they stay longer period in their nests being inactive.

The ground types are estivating for 2-3 months and are accumulating fat for the period when they will be inactive.

What are the types?


There are different types of this specie and the most common one is the gray USA squirrel and the red one from Eurasia. The red ones are smaller than the grey ones and they can be found in the northern hemisphere, dealing with the arctic zones and the temperatures in the forests.

The fox squirrels are among these species and they live in USA as the flying type, but they are not flying but using some flaps of skin in order to glide with the legs.

What is the time frame?

where do squirrels sleep

The squirrels like red, gray and fox seep in the nest, called dray since the day they were born. After 6 weeks period they can open the eyes and inspect the environment and the things that surround them.

Within 8 weeks they can eat some food and be more time away from the nest. At 10 months, most of these animals are fully grown and can crack a nut within this age. The flying type is completely mature at 18 months.

When these animals are fully grown and mature, they find their own nest for living.

The geography


The ground squirrels sleep into the ground in some nests and burrows or among rocks and they can spend the whole winter period there during the hibernation phase. As the temperature of their bodies decreases and the heart rate slows down. They can sleep for 5-6 months with some particular breaks in between.

Since most of these animals are found in North America. We can say that according to the geography and the location, the nests are different. The geography as a factor plays a great role in the life of the squirrels and where do squirrels sleep actually.

Some other factors like the percentage of predators, extreme weather conditions or supply of food can also influence the life of these animals.

Where do the red squirrels live?

cute red squirrel
Red squirel

The red squirrels live in the hardwood forests and in nests in fir tree. They seek for food during the day and spend the night hours in the nest.

You can see some chewed remains of pine cones or nuts, and you will know that these cute little animals are somewhere around. They can sleep together in order to keep the warmth in the nest.

Behavior and feeding

squirrels eating nuts

These animals breed twice or once a year and can give birth to more than one. The young are toothless, naked and blind and within few weeks they open their eyes. In 10 weeks they become sexually mature and can live in colonies with the other species.

The ground and tree types are crepuscular and diurnal and the flying ones are nocturnal.

You can see a squirrel in the area of Tanzania, Rajasthan or some other places.

How is the feeding process? They don’t eat cellulose and must eat food rich in proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

The spring period is the hardest one because the nuts that have been buried are no longer useful for eating, and the new generation of nuts is yet to come. So squirrels can often starve to death in this period.

They can also eat insects, young snakes, eggs, small birds and rodents.


These cute animals are worth inspecting and exploring since they are a real gift of the nature. Whenever you see some of them the next time, you will know be rich with more knowledge about their way of life.

3 thoughts on “Sleeping Habits of The Squirrels and Their Common Nests”

  1. Pingback: Animals - WeFondYou | WeFondYou
  2. One squirrel is coming to our backyard and got used to feed close to my garden door, nuts of all kinds but it loves above all avocados. Several months ago I saw it scratching madly and later had pulled lots of its fur off
    showing skin. I was sad to observe the struggle. The hair has slowly grown back, maybe it is the good food i provide, who knows. So I named the squirrel : ITCHY.


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