Squirrels Nests: Everything You Need To Know!

Saif Ali

Squirrels Nests: Everything You Need To Know!

Squirrels are familiar to everyone as bushy tailed rodents running all over trees and ground. Let us discuss some lesser known facts about squirrels nesting behavior.

Squirrels, such as, tree squirrels and ground squirrels build nests for mating and shelter. There are generally two types of nest build by squirrels and they are:

1. Tree cavity nests

Natural processes produce tree cavity nests, or sometimes nests abandoned by woodpeckers are frequently used by squirrels. Squirrels prefer such type of locations which offers them with great protection against wind, snow and rain.

2. Leaf nests

Leaf nests are typically built at a height of at least 20 feet. In order to maintain stability, leaf nests are generally built on between the two limbs of the tree. The nest is constructed from twigs, shredded bark, and dry grass, frequently with the leaves still on them.

In this article, we will discuss the types of squirrels’ nests, how they construct it, how many can live in a single nest, if they reuse nests and many other related facts.

Do squirrels build nests?

Squirrels build nests by themselves. The fall season witnesses a spike in squirrel nest development. Squirrels put in a lot of effort to gather materials and construct strong, secure nests that can withstand cold temperatures in winter, while many other wild birds and animals migrate to avoid the colder months.

Where do squirrels build nests?

Squirrels usually build nests in long trees, either between two strong limbs or close to the trunk. In order to build nests, squirrels primarily choose elm, oak, beech, and maple trees.

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If squirrels enter into human property, they will make the nests in the chimneys or basement. Squirrels are considered as a threat to the property because they usually found to damage house articles and electrical wiring.

How do squirrels build nests?

There are multiple layers to a squirrel nest. Let us figure out how they build tough and insulated nest which protect them from wind and cold.

Below are some facts that goes behind the strong nests made by squirrels:

  1. Base
  2. Insulated Core
  3. Dry Leaves
  4. Fullness

1. Base is important for nests.

In the beginning, squirrels prepare the base of the nest by weaving green twigs and leaves together.

2. Making an Insulated Core

The base is then topped with soft and compressible materials like moss and moist leaves. Cotton can also be used if they are found somewhere.

3. Dry leaves are added

The insulated core is then covered again by dry twigs and vines.

4. Filling the empty space

Lastly, squirrels fill the outer cover with more and more materials like piece of cloth, cotton and wool to make it strong.

How many squirrels live in a nest?

The nest is occupied by only one squirrel. Squirrels are not particularly social creatures. They typically lives alone. Male and female squirrels share their nest during mating season. They were also seen to share the nest during winters to overcome the cold temperature.

Why do squirrels build nests high in trees?

Tree squirrels prefer building nests high in trees because they receive plentiful food from these trees, including fruits and nuts. Another reason for constructing their nests high in trees is to avoid many ground predators like snakes and lizards.

Image Credit : Eastern gray squirrel drey by Palmiped is licensed under (CC BY 3.0)

Do squirrels make nests in the ground?

Ground squirrel make nests in the ground by burrowing. While they are capable of digging extremely deep, the typical burrow is often no deeper than three feet. In order to protect themselves from predators, ground squirrels like to burrow beneath rocks, logs, or other solid objects.

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Their burrows are frequently seen on sloped land where flooding is less prevalent and visibility is good.  

Do squirrels steal other squirrels nests?

Squirrel nests are not stolen by other squirrels. They prefer to build nest on their own. They usually construct nests for sleeping or mating. Squirrels might use the abandoned nest but they do not steal others nests.

They construct several nests so they can relocate their young if the primary nest is endangered or becomes contaminated with fleas. This ensures that squirrels do not steal other nests.

Do squirrels get wet in their nests? 

Squirrels do not get wet in their nests usually. Squirrels usually build nests in such a way that they are protected from high storms, wind and rain. A squirrel can cover its body by flipping its bushy tail up over it in the event of light rain. Even if the tail becomes wet, the squirrel’s body does not.

Do squirrels reuse their nests ?

Squirrels believe in reusing their nest. Due to their habitual nature, squirrels do not believe in destroying a nest that has previously been carefully built. They are very hard workers and build nest with lot of efforts, so they do not completely ban their nests.

Mother squirrels may consistently use the same nest every year if it is secure and undamaged. Other species may reuse abandoned squirrel nests, especially those that are located in tree cavities.


As a conclusion to this piece, squirrels are intelligent rodents with a expertise for building a nest layer by layer that is insulated and shields them from rain, wind, storms and predators.

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