As scientists learn more about how squirrels sleep, they’ve also learned that each pet has its own unique sleeping habits. In the past few years, researchers have developed a guide for identifying what your specific type of squirrel does when it’s time to rest in peace.

The “where do squirrels live in the winter” is a question that has been asked for years. The answer to this question is not as easy as one might think. Squirrels are nocturnal animals and they sleep during the day. Some people believe that they hibernate, while others say that they build nests.

When we think of squirrels, we think of a little furry, energetic mammal that dashes back and forth between our yards’ trees! These ubiquitous backyard visits may stimulate our curiosity, prompting us to wonder, “When and where do squirrels sleep?”

According to National Geographic, there are over 200 species of squirrels known across the globe, which are divided into three primary groups. Depending on the species, most of these squirrels may sleep in tree nests or ground burrows.

If you’re wondering about the answer, you’re in luck because we’ll give you a whole rundown of squirrel sleeping patterns today!


Factors Affecting Squirrels’ Sleeping Habits


The first thing to understand about squirrels is that not all of them are made equal. As previously said, squirrels come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each with its own sleeping patterns.

So, here’s a quick rundown of the elements that may influence where squirrels sleep in the wild.

Location Geographically

There are hundreds of squirrel species all throughout the world, as we’ve previously established. Except for a few differences, many of these squirrels are quite similar in practically every aspect of their lives.

We may divide all of these species into three categories based on their normal geographical environment.

  • Ground squirrels: They are primarily found on the ground and have short, slender tails. They’re highly agile and speedy on the ground, but they’re not as rapid while ascending. The nests of ground squirrels are frequently dug into the earth.
  • Squirrels that live between trees, particularly in coniferous woods rich in acorns and nuts, are known as Tree Squirrels. The bodies of these squirrels are often bigger, and their tails are bushier. The majority of tree squirrels will find a suitable location in a tree and construct a nest in which to sleep.
  • Squirrels That Can’t Fly: Despite their moniker, these squirrels can’t really fly. Instead, they leap utilizing skin flaps between their legs to help them glide. Because they are members of the tree squirrel family, they usually make their nests in trees.


Because there are so many distinct squirrel species across the globe, it’s tempting to believe that some of them sleep in various ways. In North America, there are five common squirrel species.

The eastern grey squirrel is the most common squirrel species in the United States, and it may be found from the East to the Midwest, as well as in Canada.

On the opposite side of the continent, the western grey squirrel is rather prevalent, and they both have the same whitish-grey hair.

Black squirrels are smaller than other squirrel species and have distinctive black hair. They live and sleep separately due to their rarity and antagonistic attitude toward other squirrels.

Red squirrels are significantly smaller and have reddish hair, whereas fox squirrels and brownish squirrels with a bushy tail prefer open places with huge wooden trees.

The three species listed above are the most common in North America and are all classified as tree squirrels. Another American squirrel, the California Ground Squirrel, is the most prevalent ground dweller.


For many weeks after birth, squirrels remain blind and unable to walk. These squirrels will spend all of their time in their nest, whether it is a tree nest or a ground nest, throughout that period.

When they achieve adulthood, which usually occurs around the age of 18 months, they will depart to find a new home where they will construct their new nest.

Season of the Year

Hibernation and Estivation are two unique sleeping habits seen in animals all around the globe. To cope with weather extremes, many squirrels use these strategies.

Hibernation and Estivation patterns will influence where the squirrels sleep since they need a relatively secure location where they can store enough food to last the season.

Squirrel Nest Detection


Now that you’ve learned more about squirrels and their nests, here’s a quick rundown of the most frequent squirrel shelters and how to find one.

Nests of Tree Squirrels

Squirrels that live in trees make up the bulk of common squirrels in North America. Squirrels make drays or dens in trees to establish their nests. Squirrels look for pre-existing cavities in trees and establish their nest within.

These cavities are usually abandoned woodpecker holes, although they may also be caused by rot or other factors.

Squirrels use moss and leaves to line their nests as bedding. The squirrel caves are designed to provide shelter and protection from the wind and rain.

If squirrels are unable to locate suitable cavities in which to construct their dens, plan B is to construct a dray, which is a nest constructed of leaves and small tree branches.

In certain circumstances, squirrels may switch between dens and drays depending on the weather, thus in the winter, you’ll largely see dens in surrounding trees and drays on tree branches, and in the summer, you’ll mostly see drays on tree branches.

Because newborn squirrels may be located within the dens and drays, you should try to avoid disturbing the nest. Observe from a safe distance.

Nest of a Ground Squirrel

Ground squirrels do not construct drays or low-profile tree dens. Instead, these squirrels will dig a hole and live in it, which may range from a simple burrow to a complex subterranean system.

Ground squirrels are often smaller and more agile than tree squirrels, allowing them to move about the tunnels with ease and withdraw to their burrows when frightened.

The little dirt pile left close to the exit hole is one of the factors that makes a ground squirrel hole easy to notice.

In suitable regions, ground squirrels may share many burrows. You’ll see a lot of holes adjacent to each other, each with a little amount of dirt beside it.

What Time of Day Do Squirrels Sleep?

The majority of squirrels follow a sleep routine that is comparable to that of humans. They’re most active during the day and sleep at night, so you’ll often see them out and about in the mornings and afternoons.

Squirrels spend the majority of their time either digging tunnels and dens or gathering food. As the sun sets, they usually return home to nurse their young and sleep for the night.

In order to survive, several varieties of squirrels may use energy-saving strategies during various seasons.

Hibernation and Estivation are two different types of Hibernation and Estivation that occur in response to meteorological circumstances. Ground squirrels are more typically connected with Hibernation and Estivation than tree squirrels.


Hibernation happens in the winter when the temperature in the northern hemisphere drops. Earth squirrels will dig tunnels into the ground to sleep through the winter in this condition. During that moment, their pulse rate and breathing both slow down.


Ground squirrels will also go into estivation in warmer regions. This is more typical in arid areas, when the squirrel enters a condition of low activity similar to that of hibernation, which lasts a few months.

Final Thoughts


This concludes today’s tour, which addresses the intriguing issue of “where do squirrels sleep?” As you can see, squirrels sleep in nests that they make by excavating tunnels underground or creating dens in hollowed-out tree holes.

In both circumstances, they prefer to construct their nests near regions where there is a plentiful supply of food so that they may return to their nest as soon as possible when the time comes.

Squirrels are rodents that typically live in trees. They are most often found in the northern hemisphere, but can also be found in southern areas of North America and Eurasia. There is a lot of confusion about where grey squirrels sleep during the winter months. Some people believe they hibernate, while others think that they go to bed at night and then wake up in the morning. Reference: where do grey squirrels live.

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