Is That A Squirrel Nest in Your Backyard?

Have you ever asked yourself where do tree squirrels sleep? Do they build a nest? And what does a squirrel nest look like? Well, you are in the right place to get the answers to those questions.

squirrel nest featured image

So Let’s get into a little more detail about where a tree squirrel sleeps.

squirrel nest-drey leaft nest high up in tree

What is the Best Time of Year to See a Squirrel Nest?

I have seen a nest high up in the trees and also one that had fallen to the ground. Don’t worry the fallen nest had a happy ending. A post coming about that experience very soon. These intricate squirrel homes are crafted from twigs, dry leaves, grasses, and also borrowed stuffing from the inside of my patio furniture pillows. Who can relate?

Autumn is a great time of year to catch a glimpse of their constructed masterpieces. The reason why Autumn is ideal is that the leaves have fallen off the trees exposing the nests built last summer or earlier in the year.

Tree Nest (Drey)

Tree nests or dreys are not just a pile of leaves, as a matter of fact, they are quite intricate, detailed, and quite sturdy. Squirrels use twigs, mosses, and other materials like the stuffing inside my patio furniture cushions to construct their nest.

squirrel nest - drey
nest/drey photo courtesy of @sandy_grant777 on IG

Tree Cavity (Den)

tree cavity - baby squirrel looking out of tree nest

A tree cavity or den is a hole in a tree often created by a woodpecker, but then abandoned and claimed later by squirrels. Squirrels tend to prefer tree cavity dens because they provide exceptional protection from wind, rain, and snow.

The Most Common Types of Nests for Squirrels

A squirrel knows the importance of choosing a safe and secure nesting site. The best option for the survival of young in the wild is a tree cavity.

Squirrel nests, also called dreys, are also built high up in the forks or nooks of trees. These “drey nests” may not be as desirable as tree cavities or nesting boxes which can be more durable and offer better protection from the elements, like the weather.

squirrel nest - drey
nest/drey photo courtesy of @sandy_grant777 on IG
Bart, a Fox Squirrel and a resident here at Kitty City Squirrels lives at the very top of the pine tree in front of my house.

Tree Cavities/Den

A tree cavity or den is often first created by a woodpecker, but then abandoned and claimed later by squirrels. The hole is also formed by natural processes by how the tree is affected by the weather, fire, floods, storms (AKA Mother Nature), available nutrients, and water. Squirrels tend to prefer tree cavities or dens because they provide exceptional protection from wind, rain, and snow.

Tree Nests/Dreys

drey
Squirrel nest/drey courtesy of Theory_of_Jen on IG

Tree nests are not just a pile of leaves, as a matter of fact, they are quite intricate! They use twigs, mosses, and other materials like the stuffing inside my patio furniture cushions. They spend lots of time making sure that it will be strong enough to withstand the elements, like weather and protect them from dangerous predators.

The nest of a squirrel is called drey and it’s made up of twigs, leaves, bark strips, mosses, and grasses. A squirrel will gather some materials and then start to pile them all together with its mouth or paws. The squirrel creates a bed-like area that is big enough for itself or bigger if needed for a growing family to curl up in. Squirrel nests are usually high up in the forks of trees which gives a solid base so they are safe and secure while sleeping.

Nesting Boxes

A solution to the squirrel housing crisis is the nesting box. A nesting box is custom-built from wood. I have a nesting box that was a gift to me, made for a corner on my balcony. The box will be hung shortly and hoping to have a momma use it for her babies. A nesting box is best placed at least 10-12 feet high, ideally facing away from prevailing winds in a living tree. Because dead trees are more likely to blow down.

Would you like a nesting box of your very own to offer a momma squirrel a safe and secure place to give birth and raise her babies? Back2NatureWood Creations on Etsy delivers high-quality craftsmanship accessories for all your squirrel/bird housing and feeding needs.

squirrel nesting box
Back2NatureWood Creations on Etsy
squirrel nesting box
Back2NatureWood Creations on Etsy
nesting box
Back2NatureWood Creations on Etsy

What Makes a Great Squirrel Home?

Squirrels are very particular about the location. You could think of a squirrel searching for tree real estate is like you searching for the best piece of land in the most desirable location to build your dream home. What do squirrels do in the winter? They build their nests to be warm and cozy.

Bart, a Fox Squirrel and resident here at Kitty City Squirrels has the cushiest nest in town.

Nest building is tedious work. First, the squirrels will build the floor by weaving sticks and twigs limiting gaps to ensure stability. Next, the addition of damp leaves and moss makes the floor soft for the babies. Then the outer shell is made up of several different layers using a combination of all the building materials.

The nest shape is similar to a globe and is about one foot in diameter (30 cm).

Do Squirrels Have More than One Nest?

A squirrel is very fast, 20 mph fast, and always moving and scurrying about. They are busy searching for food, water, and needed materials for their nest.

Squirrels will usually have 4-5 multiple nests in addition to their “main residence.” Their ” squirrel timeshares” can be thought of as having a couple extra “she-sheds” or “man caves” on your property.

These backup nests are built in case they need to store extra food, as a rest stop throughout the day, or to escape from a predator.

Thor a Fox Squirrel

Thor, A Fox squirrel enjoys modeling, nut burying, and drinking ice water in his spare time. Photo courtesy of @Omakoda on IG.

Final Thoughts

For more squirrel facts, check out the Kitty City Squirrels blog. You can also subscribe to become a FREE VIP and be the first in line to access member-only exclusive content! I will not sell your private information. I consistently post new and exciting content with my own videos and photos along with media from rehabbers and friends who have a passion for squirrels. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please contact Kitty City Squirrels.

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9 Comments

  1. I love reading your pieces about squirrels!! I love finding out new information about those cute little guys!!!!!

  2. This is just super impressive n finally accurate information! The education mixed w the whimsical lil personalities recorded is abt as good as it gets! Thank you!!

    “Stud” or “hoops” ooo I like “hoops”! for the name btw

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