What time do squirrels wake up? Tree and ground squirrels are diurnal, which means they wake up when the sun rises and like to stay active throughout the day. These squirrels sleep when it’s dark and like to take extra naps throughout their day. However, flying squirrels are nocturnal, so they spend their days asleep. They become active at night to forage for food and watch out for predators.
If you’re considering getting a pet squirrel, it is all-natural to get curious about their sleeping habits. Squirrels can be very busy little fellas, living out their lives running around, collecting and storing food, mating, and upraising their adorable young ones. With all that struggling, sleep is an essential aspect of squirrels’ lives. Squirrels’ sleep habits vary among species, normally according to whether they’re tree or ground squirrels. The climate also determines what time do squirrels wake up as well as where they retreat to for getting a shut-eye. Knowing the answer to these queries can help you determine whether squirrels are a good fit for your lifestyle and household environment or not. So join us in this article to find out more about the sleeping patterns of these lovely little critters!
What time do squirrels wake up?
Squirrels are a lot like us. Most of their species wake up when the sun shines bright. They are active throughout the day and sleep when the night falls. This is the reason why you always see them hopping from tree to tree when you’re outside having fun with nature on a daytime adventure. They run about putting together their nests, dens and increasing food supplies throughout the day. They collect seeds, nuts, pinecones, mushrooms, berries, and acorns. As soon as the sun starts to go down, squirrels run to their safe and cosy dens so they can look after their little ones and hit the hay for the night.
How long does a squirrel sleep?
Depending on multiple environmental factors, it’s normal for adult squirrels to take a nap for up to 20 hours a day. On the other side, baby squirrels can sleep for about 22 hours a day.
Here we have listed some factors that may affect the sleeping patterns of these critters.
Age plays a critical role in the number of hours a squirrel spends while sleeping. Adult squirrels need around 18 to 20 hours of sleep every day to stay active. In contrast, babies need considerably more snoozing time because their mental and physical growth requires a significant amount of energy. Besides, they also require a lot of energy to adjust to their new environment.
This means baby squirrels only get one or two hours of physical activity every day. These lovely fur babies may sleep for around 22 hours a day. So don’t be scared if your few weeks-old baby squirrels are struggling to keep their eyes open. It’s just a matter of time before they start hopping and jumping around the trees to get more physical activity. Simply respect their natural squirrel sleep patterns and observe as they grow into happy and healthy squirrels.
- Access to food
Squirrels like to munch on goodies multiple times a day in their natural environment. Thus they should be fed every 3 to 5 hours for optimum growth. Especially baby squirrels need frequent access to food to grow and adjust to the new environment while developing the necessary mental and physical capabilities to thrive.
Diurnal breeds like fox and grey squirrels enjoy running around throughout the day and rest only when worn out. Feeding them on a proper schedule enables them to have a great night’s sleep and look refreshed the next morning.
- How cold the environment is
Squirrels are gifted with biologically superior agility. Unlike other similar mammals that hibernate during the freezing atmosphere to save their body heat and energy, squirrels don’t necessarily hibernate.
No doubt, they like to spend more time in their nests during the freezing periods of the year, but that doesn’t mean that they must hibernate. They pile up enough fat deposits to spend the cold weather while resting inside, thanks to their biologically agile bodies.
Squirrels don’t necessarily hibernate, but they sleep more during the winter to stay cosy and warm in their natural habitats. Thereby if you decide to raise a squirrel, make sure your pet gets the necessary warmth during the extremely chilly days of the year. Failure to do so can reduce their activity levels and make them dull. You may also notice a sudden increase in the number of hours they sleep and a negative effect on their overall physical activity.
- Hot weather
Squirrels just love running around during the summer days, and it’s the time when they are most likely to be spotted. Their summer days are normally spent eyeing and gathering nuts, bugs, fruits, flowers, seeds, and other food items.
These critters hide and bury their food in different areas during the summertime so they can have enough to eat when the winter arrives. Squirrels are bestowed with an amazing sense of smell, enabling them to locate food in different areas.
In a nutshell, the sleeping hours of a squirrel significantly reduce during the hot weather as they prepare food for the chilly atmosphere. Summer is also a great time for seeking breeding partners.
- Health complications
If your pet squirrel is dealing with physical complications, diseases, or infections, the fella may find it difficult to sleep. It is very common for the mammal in question to show symptoms, such as discomfort and restlessness, even during normal sleeping hours.
An ailing squirrel may experience a loss of appetite, making it is challenging for the pet to get some nap. Also, if a pet squirrel who never had any problems with his sleep suddenly starts showing the symptoms of insomnia, it could be a clue that the furball is battling some health concerns. A quick visit to the nearest vet can help sort out such problems.
What time do squirrels wake up
- Where do squirrels sleep?
Well, some squirrel species like to rest in their dens on the side of trees, while others prefer sleeping in drays and underground burrows. Below we have listed some of the favourite sleeping spots of different squirrel species.
- Cozy and comfy dens
Most tree squirrels, including fox, red, and grey squirrels, like to get some shut-eye in their cosy dens. They normally create their holes in trees and spruce up their place with moss and leaf bedding.
Though squirrels normally prefer dens for long winters, they head to drays during warmer months. A dray is an arrangement of twigs and leaves tucked away in bushes.
- Underground burrows
Many squirrel species go about their business throughout the day and like to catch up on sleep at night in their underground burrows.
Ground squirrels normally protect themselves from the freezing atmosphere by heading to their dens for a hibernation period which lasts for about 5 months. Tree squirrels, on the other side, do not engage in hibernation and try to stay warm by remaining active.
Squirrels living in extremely hot environments get away from the heat for some time in hibernation-like periods, known as estivation. This period can last for about seven months. Squirrels usually spend this time while sleeping in burrows, away from the hot sunlight and closer to the cooler grounds.
- Where do squirrels sleep at night?
The answer to this question mainly depends on the type of squirrel, time of year, and the region where the squirrel lives. Generally, red and grey squirrels nap in their tree nests known as drays. Meanwhile, ground squirrels spend their nights in cosy underground burrows comprising of tunnels up to 30f in length.
- Where do squirrels sleep when it rains?
While squirrel admirers wish for their fluffy pet to enjoy a little down pouring every once in a while, that’s definitely not healthy. Squirrels are relatively small mammals. The tiny bodies have a minimum body to surface area ratio, making them lose their body temperature quite swiftly. Thereby, it is essential for them to find a place where they can rest without soaking their bodies in heavy pouring.
Usually, squirrels escape the rain by hiding in their nests. Their nests are positioned in a way that offers utmost protection against rain and snow. This way, squirrels survive thunderstorms and heavy downpours.
- Do squirrels sleep during the day?
Yes, they do!
Flying squirrels or the nocturnal species of squirrels are active at night and like to spend their days while snoozing. Even some diurnal species such as red and grey squirrels may also sleep during the day when there is little to no physical activity to engage in. They use these daytime kips to restore their energy levels so they can continue their normal activities.
- What time of day are squirrels most active?
Squirrels seem pretty busy during the early hours of the day and in the late evening when the sun starts to cool down, and the temperature is not so harsh. These critters are also light-sensitive, so they try to avoid it as much as possible. Thereby if you decide to raise pet squirrels at home, it would be great to make time to have fun with them during the early mornings or late afternoons.
- Do squirrels sleep with their eyes open?
Unlike some rodents such as rabbits, squirrels do not sleep with their eyes open. These critters sleep with their eyes closed. If you find that your beloved squirrel’s eyes are open, that’s a hint that the fellow is awake and energetic.
- Do squirrels hibernate?
Although many newbie squirrel admirers think that all species of squirrels hibernate during the chilly weather, that’s not the case. It might surprise you, but not all squirrels hibernate!
Our favourite furry red and grey squirrels don’t turn into sleepy heads in winter. However, the adorable ground squirrel can win a medal for winter snoozing!
Similarly, the energetic little California ground squirrels also hibernate. Nevertheless, some California grounds squirrels may not sleep due to the mild climate during winter.
The Belding’s ground squirrels also spend a majority of their time hibernating. They almost double up their body weight before their long sleep in hibernation. This excess weight helps them have a sound sleep.
- Where do baby squirrels sleep?
After birth, the young trees squirrels don’t leave their nests immediately. It’s because they are born blind and deaf, and it can take around 4 weeks before they can open their eyes.
Baby squirrels are normally weaned by their mothers when they are 8 weeks old. When they are around 10 weeks old, they leave their mothers and establish new territories with a new sleeping spot.
- How long do squirrels live?
The average lifespan of a squirrel can differ significantly depending on some biological aspects, for instance, the breed and environmental factors like whether it is in the wild or in captivity. Nonetheless, the average lifespan of squirrels in their natural habitat is around 6-10 years, though the majority become a victim of wild predators before their first birthday. Pet squirrels or those cared for in captivity may live an incredible 20 to 24 years.
Final words on what time do squirrels wake up.
These small and adorable mammals are ‘Crepuscular,’ which means they are especially active for a few hours in the early mornings and late afternoons but can sleep for as much as 19 to 21 hours during a sunny day.
Most squirrels rest during the night and become more active during the daytime. They generally come out to play and to search for food when the temperatures aren’t that high.
Ground squirrels can be found in their underground burrows at night when they want to catch up on beauty sleep! They are even less active during the day than tree squirrels and, as we found out earlier, can sleep for several months at a time!