Sleeping Habits of Squirrels

Have you ever seen squirrels sleeping? No, right? Never. Whenever you see them, they are always running around. Squirrels have particular sleeping hours and they sleep in their nests.

You suspect a squirrel infestation. But you cannot get hold of them. In that case, it becomes a bit easier to trap them, if you know their sleeping patterns.

In this article, I am going to discuss the different sleeping patterns of different squirrels in different seasons.

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Where do most Squirrels sleep

Most squirrels sleep in their nests, which are usually built in the forks of trees. Some squirrels, however, will build their nests underground. These ground-dwelling squirrels are more likely to be preyed upon by predators, so they must be extra careful when choosing a site for their nest.

Types of Squirrels and Their Sleeping Habits

The sleeping habits of squirrels differ with their species. Primarily, there are three species of squirrels:

Tree Squirrels

They generally sleep on the trees. But during winters they might invade your house in search of warmth. And thus these furry cuties become pests and nuisances.

Ground Squirrels

They find some shelter in the ground for resting. In winter they dig deep burrows in the ground and sleep there. These squirrels might be responsible for destroying your garden and yards.

Flying Squirrels

The name “flying squirrel” is a misnomer, as these animals do not actually fly. Instead, they glide through the air using a patagium, a furry membrane that extends from their wrists to their ankles. flying squirrel sleeping on a tree branch or a hollowed-out hole in a tree

The Daily Sleeping Pattern of Squirrels

Squirrels sleep longer compared to other rodents like mice. They sleep even more than humans. In extreme temperatures, they sleep even longer than usual.

Squirrels work and collect food during the day and sleep at night.

They are crepuscular, which means they are mostly up during dawn and dusk.

Flying squirrels are the only ones who are nocturnal creatures and sleep the entire daylight hours.

Baby squirrels spend almost 22 hours of the day sleeping. When squirrels are born they are hairless and blind. They can only see after 4-6 weeks. During these times, proper rest is necessary to aid in physical development.

How Do Squirrels Sleep?

Squirrels sleep with their bodies curled inwards.

The male sleeps alone in a different nest. The females sleep with the young.

Squirrels sleep with their eyes closed. This prevents the drying up of their eyes. They have small eyes so closing them during sleep protects them from insects or other irritants.

sleeping habits of squirrels
Sleeping Squirrel

Squirrels usually sleep in their nests, which they build in trees. These nests are made of leaves, twigs, and other materials, and provide a warm and safe place for squirrels to sleep. Squirrels will also sometimes sleep in cavities in trees or logs.

During the winter months, when food is scarce, squirrels may enter into a state of torpor. This is similar to hibernation, but not as extreme. In this state, squirrels lower their body temperature and heart rate to conserve energy. They will only emerge from their den when it is necessary to search for food.

While we may not give much thought to how squirrels sleep, it is interesting to note that these little creatures have different sleeping habits than we do!

What are the sleeping hours of Squirrels?

It depends on the species, but generally speaking, squirrels will sleep for around 12-15 hours every 24-hour period. This doesn’t mean that they are always asleep during this time – they may take a few naps throughout the day – but it does mean that they spend a large proportion of their day resting.

During the winter months, when food is scarce and the nights are longer, squirrels may reduce their sleeping hours slightly in order to conserve energy. However, they will still need to spend a significant amount of time resting in order to survive the cold weather.

Do Squirrels run around at night or do they sleep

There are many misconceptions about squirrels and their sleeping habits. Some people believe that squirrels are nocturnal animals that only come out at night to run around and play. However, this is not the case. Squirrels are actually diurnal animals, meaning that they are active during the day and sleep at night.

While there are some exceptions, generally speaking, squirrels will begin to wind down for the night around dusk and will sleep through the night until dawn. During this time, they will usually curl up in a ball in their nest or burrow to stay warm and protect themselves from predators.

How Do Squirrels Sleep During Bad Weather?

Squirrels are not seen scurrying around much in the monsoons. They tend to avoid rain and do not come out of their nests during the storm.

Squirrels are small creatures and so their core temperature drops rapidly. If they get wet, the water makes it difficult for them to control their body temperature.

So they hate getting wet and might spend the entire day sleeping in case of incessant rains.

How Do Squirrels Sleep in Winter?

Ground squirrels and tree squirrels have different sleeping habits during winter.

Ground squirrels dig deep burrows and hibernate for the entirety of the cold season. This hibernation is a long restful sleep. The squirrel’s body temperature is lowered during this time and its heart rate slows down.

They remain inactive for the major part. They might wake up for 15-20 hours a week if necessary. Otherwise, all their food collection and storage are done before the onset of the cold.

Tree squirrels do not hibernate. They curl up in their nest in the trees to avoid the cold. Their rate of activity is more compared to ground squirrels.

How Do Squirrels Sleep During Summer?

Squirrels found in places that record higher temperatures engage in aestivation. Aestivation is the process where the squirrels, to avoid the intense heat, go into a sleep-like phase.

They create burrows deep into the ground away from the scorching sun. This ensures a quiet, cool peaceful sleep for them.

Why Do Squirrels Sleep So Much?

The squirrels’ biggest liability is their size. Their small size prevents them from having a handle over their body temperature and so they hibernate and aestivate to avoid the extremities of climate.

Their size also makes them vulnerable to almost all the creatures around. They might be playful and seem always merrily jumping from one place to another. But they live in constant fear.

So when squirrels are not collecting food or chasing their mates they spend their time getting their precious beauty sleep and energy naps.

Perhaps this is the reason, they always seem so upbeat and energetic!

Do Squirrels sleep with their eyes open?

Although squirrels are most active during the day, they do sleep at night. They usually sleep in their nests, which are made of leaves and twigs. Sometimes, they will also sleep in tree cavities or in the hollows of trees.

Squirrels generally sleep with their eyes closed, but they can also sleep with their eyes open. When they do so, it is usually because they are afraid of predators. By keeping their eyes open, they can keep watching for any potential danger.

sleeping habits of squirrels
Squirrel Sleeps With Eyes Open


If you are planning to catch the squirrel when they are sleeping you need to be careful. They tend to get aggressive if they feel that their young or their territory is threatened.

Aggressive squirrels can claw and bite you, which leads to dangerous infections and diseases.

So wear some thick gloves to tackle them, even if they are sleeping.

Final words

Apart from trees, squirrels also nest and rest in hollows and corners of attics and terraces.

Squirrels resemble humans in their daily sleep cycles, on days with good weather. So if you suspect a squirrel infestation, the best time to catch them off guard is at night. At this time they are all asleep.

During winter it is difficult to find them because they make nests in hidden places to stay warm. In that case, even knowing their sleeping patterns will not help you and thus you should call professional pest control.

Photo of author


Daniel White
I'm Daniel White, and I live in Jacksonville, Florida. The warm and humid climate of Florida gives an ideal habitat for many different kinds of pests. So, if I had to live in Florida, I had to learn how to deal with these pests. Now, I have 7 years of experience in Pest Control.

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