Where do squirrels nest?

Squirrels are virtually everywhere: in gardens, parks, rural areas and many more. Squirrels aren’t a gruesome animal rather they benefit and thrive from their interaction in human environments and gradually they lose their inherent fear of humans in an urban environment.

Squirrels are vigorously active and energetic. Their climbing skill and competence is one of a kind and they also possess an excellent vision which is especially important for tree dwelling species. Their intelligence and acrobatic skills are super amazing. Squirrels are cute animals and you can never see a squirrel unclean. These rodents have beautiful adaptive ability, they can live anywhere except few who only live in trees.

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A squirrel can smell food buried under snow especially during winter when food is scarce. They also contribute to tree-growing in the community. I know you’d wonder how?

Squirrels are fond of gathering or storing nuts and seeds on soil. This is a way of storing up food, but most times they forget their food and these nuts and seeds grow up to become trees.

Where Do You Find Squirrels?

While there are over 200 species of squirrel in the world, there are five common species of squirrels in the United States. They include: the gray squirrel, red squirrel, flying squirrel, fox squirrel, and ground squirrel.


The nesting habit of a squirrel depends on their environment, season and the availability of food. Squirrels are known to be present where there is food. In fact, squirrels are notoriously gluttonous. Squirrel build their nests in different types of trees but most of the time they stay in coniferous trees. Some other type of squirrel nests in the ground.

The Ground Squirrels

The Ground squirrels have shorter legs and less bushy fur. The Ground squirrel live by digging holes in loose soil for nesting. 

Where do squirrels nest

A ground squirrel likes to stay in warm areas which is why they build their homes with that in mind.

The Tree Squirrels

They have bushy tails, sharp claws and large eyes. The tree squirrels have two nests, especially for the red squirrels and gray squirrels, who nest on trees. They are specifically called this name because of their preference of using trees as their major habitat. The surroundings of your neighborhood can be used for nesting; they are also known as tree cavity dens.

Leaf Nests

The size of leaf nests made by a squirrel is different from the bird nest . The construction is usually at minimum 20 feet high in a tree. Leaf nests are also built in the fork of a major tree branch, which also strengthens it against natural elements.

Tree Cavity Den

They are nests built by woodpeckers and it can be as a result of a split in tree bark. Tree cavity den can be created as a result of a hollow in aged tree. 

Where do squirrels nest

Homes with this type of trees are a favourite nesting place for squirrels and it shields them against rough weather.

The Flying squirrels

They glide between trees; the furred membrane between their wrists and ankles make flying possible. Tree Squirrels are the most popular, often seen hoping and climbing from branch to branch. While the ground squirrels’ sustainability comes from the tunnel or burrow systems.

It is important to know that squirrels take shelter in tree cavities or build nests in tree branches,during the warmer months. But during fall and winter where to nest becomes an issue. Squirrels may live in tree holes or home, so as to survive the harsh weather.

Where do squirrels go at night?

Squirrels are known to be very active creatures. In fact, they do not hibernate. They are seen climbing, hopping or on the lookout for food. The night time is a very important period for the squirrels. Just like any living being, they look for a comfortable tree or spot for nesting.


Although the sleeping routine depends on the species, as some are known to be active from dawn to dusk while the tree squirrels need a comfortable place to spend the night. The fox squirrel, the red squirrel, and the gray squirrel, use the moss or leaves for bedding during the hot seasons but many nest in the den during cold seasons.

At night, if a squirrel is not nursing her child (at times,the male squirrel also helps to take care of the baby at night), or looking for food, then a squirrel is in the nest sleeping.

How do you find a squirrel nest?

If you have noticed a squirrel around you, then there’s a high probability there’s a squirrel nest nearby. The squirrel nest is also known as drey. After winter when the trees are bare, you will notice the rodents jumping around. They just survive the harsh weather.

Squirrels are closer to trees that bear nuts. They mostly live there. They can also be seen nesting in trees like maples, oaks, walnuts, elms or other trees that shed fruit annually. Also, a squirrel nest is noticeable during winter. It is a season they nest in the company of other squirrels in order to keep warm.

How do squirrels build their nest?

You might have been wondering how squirrels build their home (nest) and they’re comfortable through the night. The squirrels’ nest is also known as dreys. From an on-looker view, the squirrels nest is like a pile of abandoned leaves but in the real sense; a squirrel nest is carefully constructed with layers of different materials.


Some squirrels build nests in tree cavities rather than among the high branches. The building process begins by roughly weaving a platform of green twigs, another step in the building process is the adding of compressible materials like moss and damp leaves.

Another rigorous exercise of putting an outer skeleton of twigs and vines is built around the insulated core, and the whole process is completed by putting material to fill and strengthen the shell.


During winter, the cavity den or a den is the ideal place for squirrels to nest in winter. And as the weather gets colder, some stay in homes. However, some species among the squirrel go into hiding during winter and only come out after it has passed.

Most squirrels prefer to build their nest so high in the tree , so as to be secured from ground predators. Also, having a nest high up comes with height advantage. Such as monitoring activities of prey predators and other squirrels. The height puts them in the right position to get food that they need for both themselves and their babies.

However, the baby bird sometimes falls from that high platform and then sustains an injury or even dies. Those that survive far outweigh those that suffer the risk.

Yes. it is common for squirrels to return back to the same nest. They don’t have a problem using a previous nest. However, squirrels usually change their bird nests when they observe that humans or predators have tampered with the environment. This is mostly common among those with young squirrels, they try as much as possible to safeguard their little ones from attacks.

Squirrels are known to nest alone. There are also instances when two squirrels  nest together. The male and female are found together during the mating season and when the baby is born. Although the male squirrel later leaves these nests to go around their business, they manage to stay through certain moments of the child birth.

Later, the squirrels usually in a litter including the female squirrels live together in their nests. The number then approximates to about 6 although the squirrel start to live alone after they’ve grown up. Alos, suirrels come together for warmth during cold weather.


Because of their quick extinction, over the years, nature enthusiasts have engaged in keeping squirrels as pets. A squirrel is always cute, clean and playful. Though some see this species to be animals that create nuisance to them because they are rodents.

As a result of human tendency to hunt these poor rodents, some states have laws preventing removal of squirrel’s nest. If you are not a lover of squirrels and you’ve sported a squirrel’s nest in your neighbourhood, it’s advisable you engage the services of an expert squirrel removal specialist or pest control services. They are in the best positions to help you handle these creatures.

Nevertheless we cannot ignore the importance of ensuring that squirrels’ nests are in perfect condition. Forcefully discarding squirrels’ nests can lead to their extinction. And in a way, that’s like committing murder. In no distant time, it would be hard to come by any squirrel.

Since squirrels are very neat creatures, they tend to reuse their nest to nurture their young ones to maturity. So, taking out their nest will be a disservice to them and their young ones.

Author Profile

Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at Ballachy.com .

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