Why Do Squirrels Come Out At Night [Reasons To Know]

Spread the love

You often come across squirrels during the day. In broad daylight, you see squirrels scurrying across the surface of the garden. They get everything that they need during the day. Then, why do squirrels come out at night?

Not every type of squirrel comes out at night. It is mainly the flying squirrels that step out in the darkness to gather food and gather their nesting materials. They also carry out other activities.

In this article, you will read about all the reasons why different types of squirrels come out at night. Moreover, what they do during this time is also intriguing. If you know what kind of squirrels come out at night, you can figure out how to do something about it.

Why Do Squirrels Go Out At Night
Why Do Squirrels Go Out At Night

What Do Squirrels Do At Night?

YouTube video

Most of the squirrels lay low and settle down in their resting dens. But this in no way means that squirrels are inactive at night. They may leave their shelter to drink water, eat or fulfill their other needs.

However, at night they are very silent and take care not to produce constant sounds. The squirrels mostly sleep in underground burrows or trees after a long day’s effort to find food and store it for hard times.

The tree squirrels climb up to their nests and sleep soundly. Many squirrels go to bed right when sunset starts.

On average, a squirrel sleeps for around 15 hours a day. In areas where the weather is cold, the squirrels go into hibernation mode and preserve their energy.

At night, the squirrels cannot see as well as they do during the day. That is why most squirrels avoid getting up at night. They make the most of what they have during the long hours of the night.

Do Rock Squirrels Come Out At Night?


The rock squirrels reside in arid canyons, boulder piles, and rocky cliff areas. They can also occupy suburban areas as well as urban areas. The rock squirrels avoid the open flats as well as mountain forest areas.

Even the rock squirrels can come out at night to escape a predator that has found their hideout. Though it is unlikely, snakes slither the landscape during the night and search for small rodents in such areas.

Moreover, the rock squirrels are most active in the early morning and late afternoon when it is warm. During extreme weather conditions, they may consider aestivation.

Usually, the male squirrel is responsible for the protection of the group. Other males are in charge of keeping an eye on the boundary.

Still, squirrels can get attacked by desert animals. Though they fight to protect themselves, they are still vulnerable to attacks.

Why Do Flying Squirrels Come Out At Night?

Flying squirrels are the opposite of day squirrels. They sleep during the day and at a place 15 feet above the ground. The flying squirrels build their nests in large tree trunks or branches, but they have also been spotted living on rooftops.

As the sun sets, flying squirrels spring into action. That is their prime time to leave in search of food, water, and nesting materials, and to take care of their young ones. They often teach their little ones how to glide through the air at night.

One can see flying squirrels when the moon is not complete, or the clouds completely hide it.

The following features help flying squirrels thrive in the dark:

  • They have a strong sense of smell that helps them find food at night.
  • They have large eyes to have better vision at night.
  • Their wings help them to escape the night predators.

Why Do Squirrels Not Come Out At Night

Most of the squirrels cannot see correctly during the night. Like humans, squirrels also get up at night to take care of their little ones or pee. Squirrels have been classified as crepuscular, meaning their optimum activity is during the twilight hours and the early dusk hours of the day.

Moreover, a squirrel tries to gather all its food during the day by picking up seeds and nuts.

Furthermore, a squirrel loves to collect and store food for later usage. So, even if a squirrel gets hungry during the night, it has enough food in storage to feed its little ones and itself.

Another possible reason for squirrels not to come out during the night is the presence of predators. The predators hunt down squirrels and have them for dinner. This happens mainly in the forests. In urban areas, the squirrels can safely get up and roam around during the nighttime.

It is only the flying squirrels who are equipped with wings so that they can fly away from their predators. They also prefer living on top of trees, which automatically saves them from landing in the grips of their enemies.

Do Grey Squirrels Come Out At Night?

Do Grey Squirrels Come Out At Night

No, the gray squirrels are not active at night. This is due to the fact that they are utilizing this time to sleep and restore their energy levels. The gray squirrels, like most other squirrels, become active after 2-3 hours after dawn.

They can also be found here and there just a few hours before dusk. The gray squirrels like spending most of their day in the nest. They also spend it mating or taking care of the little baby squirrels. Gray squirrels have been classified as tree squirrels and are therefore diurnal mammals.

Their activity time is less than most squirrels. It is limited to 4 to 5 hours of the day. These squirrels find this time to be sufficient for gathering food and maintaining their nesting areas.

Do Fox Squirrels Come Out At Night?

Do Fox Squirrels Come Out At Night

The fox squirrel falls under the category of tree squirrels. Such squirrels are not nocturnal. After spending a day in the sunlight looking for food, they will gladly head back to their dreys and dens.

These squirrels are efficient as they create their dens and prepare for the long winter ahead of them. They do this to survive the cold of the winter season. The fox squirrels prepare well for the long winter by sprucing up their dens with lots of leaves and moss.

The fox squirrels spend most of their time up in the trees. Whenever they come across nuts and seeds, they gather them and take them up to their nests. They store some of it and give some of it to their babies.

When Do Squirrels Come Out To Eat?

The squirrels are typically active throughout the day, especially in seasons like spring and autumn. This is their time to gather all the food they might need for the upcoming cold season. However, if you want to hunt squirrels down, you should target the time slots for dusk and dawn.

As the night approaches, the squirrels return to their homes and like to spend it sleeping. This is the pattern followed by all animals who are not nocturnal. They do this to increase their chances of survival.

The daylight gives them an advantage of exposing their predators to them. The nighttime is challenging, as they cannot see who might attack them.

To keep themselves and their young ones safe, the best protection is laying low during the night and sleeping during the time off. The squirrels in the wild are in more danger of attack as they do not know what might attack them.

Do Squirrels Like Light Or Dark?

For searching for food, the squirrels prefer the light of the day. As they are not nocturnal (only the flying squirrels can see well at night), the rest utilize the early hours of the day to gather their food for storage and survival.

However, the squirrels that have made their way into our daily lives and are commonly found in the attics prefer darkness. Why so? Because such squirrels are afraid of the constant light or the flashing lights.

Moreover, they are shy and do not like to be discovered by humans. If they are found, they start running away to find another place where they cannot be found easily.

The rest of the squirrels are attracted to the warmth and light of the day, which is the prime reason they spend most of their day looking for food. It is only the flying squirrels that prefer the darkness of the night to flying and finding their sustenance.

What Do Squirrels Do In The Middle Of The Day?

As most squirrels are diurnal, they spend most of their day searching for fruits, berries, nuts, and seeds. Rarely does a squirrel attack any other animal for food. The squirrels are small, timid creatures and fulfill their appetite with anything they find on the ground.

Squirrels do not prefer eating meat at all. According to the Journal of Mammology, squirrels spend most of their time, about 84%, sleeping. That means that whenever they wake up, they are on a food search.

However, they specifically avoid the nighttime as they cannot see very well during this time. That is why the squirrels depict extreme agility when it comes to gathering food during a limited time span of the day.

What Time In The Morning Do Squirrels Come Out?

Squirrels are early to rise and set their activity profiles according to the rise in the sun. The squirrels prefer this time as their body clock is most active during this part of the day. Usually, the squirrels come out in the morning and gather their desired food items proficiently.

The squirrels are most active during dawn and dusk. Most of them return home with a significant amount of food. This sustains their lifestyle. Trees and ground squirrels follow this routine except for the flying squirrels.

They do not come out during the day at all. They prefer the night for carrying out all of their activities. Moreover, they are the only squirrels that are nocturnal and can hunt down other small animals with their visual prowess.

Why Do Squirrels Make Noise At Night?

Like other animals, a squirrel makes a noise at night to drive the intruders away. Squirrels usually make a screeching sound, and that is done to threaten the predators away. The squirrels also give a warning call as an alarm to alert the neighboring squirrels.

Mostly the squirrels wag their tails to warn their fellow squirrels. Furthermore, the squirrels use its tail to scare away their predators. However, this is mainly observed during the day.

At night the squirrels do not have many options, and that is why they scream in a manner to alert the squirrels against any danger. The alarm call acts as a warning call, it. A squirrel waves its tail to be visible to the other squirrels.

The frequency of warning call increases as the predator approaches near. They have been described as a series of barking calls. They are emitted through the nostrils and are low and almost inaudible.

The ‘Kuk’ sound is a short bark. The eastern gray squirrels make this type of noise. The North American Red Squirrel makes the sound of the ‘bark and seet.’ These barks have a high amplitude, while seets, on the other hand, have a high frequency. This seet and bark combination is a sign of a warning against aerial predators.

Why Squirrels Are Active At Night?

Squirrels are also known as crepuscular rodents. This means that they show most activity as the evening approaches or at dawn timing. After sunset, like most of the other animals, squirrels return to their dens, but this doesn’t mean in any way that they become inactive during the night.

There can be several reasons why squirrels are active at night. It is a necessity that drives them out of their den at night. A squirrel goes from being inactive to active to get water for itself or to have some food. Also, if they begin to sense danger, they will immediately become vigilant and try to escape.

Do Squirrels Eat At Night?

No, usually, the squirrels do not come out at night to look for food. They are most active right after sunrise till sunset. That is their prime time to search for food to sustain themselves. However, this is not a hard and fast rule.

As per the need of the hour, the squirrels may explore the darkness of the night to look for food. Some squirrels, like flying squirrels-they, are known for being most active during the night and go hunting. They tend to look for small animals to hunt down or search out seeds and nuts they can take back to their den.

Squirrels Sleeping Places at night

Squirrels are known for sleeping in their underground burrows, also called dens or at the top of the trees. Squirrels are highly active rodents that like to jump here and there looking for food. After a long day’s work, they return to their abodes with food to sleep and be prepared for the next day.

Generally, the red and grey squirrels sleep inside nests called dreys. They ensure that their nests are well hidden from predators to ensure the safety of their little ones. It is in the innate nature of a squirrel to keep their hide-outs well-hidden so that they are undiscoverable.

Where Tree Squirrels Sleep At Night?

The tree squirrels prefer sleeping in the leaf nests they work so hard to build. Often, these squirrels are lucky as they naturally find a bark hole in the trees. These leaf nests are also called dreys, as they are made up of twigs, dried leaves, and grass. These dreys are preferably built in tall trees. They are most commonly seen before the fall season approaches.

Where Ground Squirrels Sleep At Night?

Where Ground Squirrels Sleep At Night

As the name indicates, the ground squirrels prefer staying on the ground areas and digging a burrow for themselves. They dig these holes to keep themselves warm and perhaps hibernate in the regions where the cold weather conditions are harsh. These burrows are also used for storing food throughout the winter season. Ground squirrels are the best when it comes to having a survival strategy.

Where Do Squirrels Go in Rains?

YouTube video

Like every animal instinct, the squirrels also seek shelter during rainy weather conditions. As soon as it rains, the squirrels rush toward the hollowed trees to protect themselves from getting wet. If a squirrel cannot find this, it may look for leafy nests in the branches.

The squirrels get protection from the big and thick leaves. Another interesting point is that adult squirrels can be seen using their tails as umbrellas to prevent themselves from soaking wet in the rain. They have enough fur to control their body from dripping wet. As soon as the rain stops, squirrels may go out in the sun to dry themselves.

How To Keep Flying Squirrels Away From Your House?

YouTube video

You can keep a squirrel away from your house in many ways. You can do this by: 

  • Timely trimmings of the tree branches will help in keeping the squirrels at bay. 
  • Attics attract flying squirrels. One can keep them away by attaching strobe lights in the attics. 
  • Make sure that all the entrances are properly sealed and that there are no openings for squirrels to enter. 
  • One can make use of natural repellants like jalapeno, serrano and black peppers to keep the flying squirrels away. 
  • You can also make efforts to trap flying squirrels by placing baits at different points of your house. 
  • Look out for the chimney openings and cracks in windows. They must be repaired and sealed to prevent squirrels from entering homes. 
  • Pest control authorities can always be contacted to kill squirrels and reduce their population.


Generally, the squirrels do not come out at night. They prefer to sleep soundly on the top of trees or in their burrows and dens. There is a specie of squirrels like the flying squirrels who come out at night to look for food.

However, the rest of them utilize the time of the day to not only look for food but also store it for a long time. Moreover, the squirrels are most active between dawn and dusk. This is the time they come out and explore the earth for food.

The squirrels do not come out at night as most are not nocturnal. Plus, they cannot leave their young ones unprotected in the dark at the mercy of night crawlers.


Gail R. Michener, Seasonal Use of Subterranean Sleep and Hibernation Sites by Adult Female Richardson’s Ground SquirrelsJournal of Mammalogy, Volume 83, Issue 4, November 2002, Pages 999–1012