Squirrels are well known for their bushy tails and nut-gathering habits, but they also spend much of the day sleeping. In fact, they sleep about 60% of the time! Despite being active during the day, squirrels need a place to rest and sleep at night. So, where do they go to catch some zzz’s?
Most squirrels build nests, called drays, with leaves, twigs and branches. These are typically located in the forks of tree branches or in crooks of tree trunks. They can also choose dens, which are usually underground and provide more protection from weather and predators.
Ground squirrels, on the other hand, dig burrows and may live in these all year round. They can even hibernate in winter! Hibernation is similar to estivation, where the squirrel hunkers down for the cold months and stores up energy that they need to survive.
In most cases, squirrels are solitary and only come together to breed or defend their territory. But, they will share drays and dens with other squirrels if necessary, especially during the winter season.
Squirrels tend to sleep alone during the day, but at night they curl up in their nest or dray to stay warm and protect themselves from predators. They close their eyes while they sleep, which is also typical of most mammals, including humans. The reason is that it helps to keep the eyes moist and prevents them from drying out or becoming irritated.