Do Squirrels Have Nests?

squirrel in a tree hollow

Squirrels are a common sight in most yards and parks. They’re cute, they’re fun to watch, and sometimes they’ll come right up to you for a handout. But have you ever stopped to think about how squirrels live? Do they build nests? Where do squirrel babies sleep when it’s cold out? In this post, we will explore the fascinating world of squirrel nesting behavior!

So, Do They Have Nests?

Yes! Squirrels do have nests and they are called dreys. These are circular, fluffy, and loosely woven nests made of twigs, leaves, moss, bark, and plant stems. They are usually built in the forks of large branches or at the end of tree limbs and tree cavities but they can also be found on rocky ledges, inside hollow trees, and even under bridges!

What Do Squirrel Nests Look Like?

From afar they look like a ball of leaves, but up close you can see that they are a compressed pile of materials, with a hollow center. A drey has good insulation for the winter and is typically dry on the inside (especially if it rains), so squirrels can hide their nuts in there to keep them from getting wet!

These are usually built in the fork at the end of a branch high up off the ground. But squirrels will build their dreys almost anywhere they can find an elevated spot to build on. Dreys are not waterproof, so squirrels need to be clever about where they build them! They do their best to choose a place that will stay dry during rain or snowfall.

Why Do Squirrels Build Nests?

Well, there are a few reasons why squirrels build nests. One reason is to keep their offspring safe. A mother squirrel typically has two or three babies at a time, and they need a place to raise them where predators can’t get to them. Nests provide safety and insulation from the cold weather.

Another reason squirrels build nests is to store food in. A drey is a perfect place to stash away acorns, walnuts, and other nuts so that they can be retrieved later. This is especially important during the winter when food is scarce!

Squirrels also build nests to conserve heat during colder times of the year. They like to spend all winter eating out of their nut stash and sleeping close to their family members to preserve body heat.

Types of Squirrel Nests

Squirrels build two different types of nests: leaf nests and Tree cavity nests.

Leaf Nests

Leaf nests are what you find in most backyards. These are usually on top of trees they look like a big pile of leaves, but they have a hollow center for sheltering the squirrels and their babies! These nests are typically tucked in a fork in the branch of a tree to make it stable and safe. These nests look almost like a typical bird nest, but they are much larger and fluffier!

Tree Cavity Nests

Tree cavity dens are typically created in the natural hollows of trees, but squirrels will also use abandoned bird nests, buildings, and other man-made objects. Squirrels just love these as they are typically warmer and drier than leaf nests!

How Is A Squirrel Leaf Nest Constructed?

Building a drey is not as easy as it looks! First, they start by gathering a lot of twigs. They break these branches into small pieces and then start weaving them together to create a sturdy, circular nest.

If they need to fill it out more they will gather leaves and mosses for added insulation. They then make the nest more stable by packing in moss and damp leaves on the twig frame reinforcing it with pieces of bark.

They will then weave a spherical frame to reinforce the shape of the nest and then line it with a soft material like grass, moss, fur from animals they have eaten, or even shredded pieces of plastic bags!

When the drey is finally finished, they will test it out by jumping in and out of it to make sure that their babies are safe! When building tree cavity nests many squirrels collect more mosses than usual because these nests tend to dry up quickly.

These nests typically have a diameter of around 7 inches but some species like the gray squirrels can build much larger nests up to 2 feet wide in diameter.

What Do Squirrels Use Their Nest For?

Like many other animals, squirrels create nests to provide a safe place for their young to live in, but sometimes they also use them as a storage space. A squirrel nest serves many purposes to the squirrel species, including :

  • Nesting: This is where female squirrels will have their young and keep them safe from predators.
  • Sleeping: A lot of times you will see a squirrel sleeping in their nest during the day.
  • Hiding food: Squirrels will hide nuts, acorns, and other food items in their nests to keep them from being eaten or getting wet.
  • Resting: After a long day of foraging and playing, squirrels will retire to their nests to rest.

When Do Squirrels Build Nests?

Squirrels build nests year-round, but they are most active in the spring and summer when they’re raising their young. They will start looking for a good spot to build them when it’s starting to get warm out.

They will look for a large sturdy branch that they can easily access, but not so close to the ground where it might be too easy for predators to find them. Once they have found their spot, it’s time to start building!

How Do Squirrels Choose Where to Build Their Nests?

There are a few things that squirrels look for when choosing where to build their nests:

  • Safety: They want to choose a spot that is safe from predators like hawks, owls, and cats.
  • Protection from the elements: They want to make sure that their nest is in a spot that is sheltered from the wind and rain.
  • Good visibility: They want to be able to see what is going on around them so they can watch for predators.
  • Accessibility: They want a spot that is easy for them to get too, so they can keep an eye on their food stores!

Why Are Squirrels Creating Their Nest In My Property?

Squirrels usually build their nests where there is easy access to food and water sources. If they are on your property, it is likely because they are finding a lot of food there.

Tree cavity nests and leaf nests are becoming less common for squirrels because many places don’t have the right environment to create them. As a result, squirrels can become very territorial of their nesting spots and will make homes anywhere they find the perfect spot! This is why you may see one trying to build its nest in your property; they are just trying to find a place to call home!

What to Do With Squirrels in Your Property?

If you see a squirrel trying to make its home on your property, there are some things that you can do:

Start by removing the food sources for them. This means keeping all of your fruits picked up and away from ground level! You should also trim back bushes so they don’t provide many shelters for these little guys. If you have bird feeders in your yard, take it down and stop feeding the squirrels so they don’t associate your property with food.

If you still see them trying to build their nests in your trees or on the side of your house, then you can try blocking them off using mesh wire or galvanized steel wool, just be sure that there aren’t any young squirrels inside the nest when you do this! If all of these measures fail, you can always call a professional to remove the squirrel from your property.

Who Do I Call to Remove Squirrels from My Property?

You should never attempt to remove a squirrel from your property on your own! They may seem like cute, furry creatures but they are wild animals that can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Squirrels can bite and scratch, and they can also carry diseases.

If you need help removing a squirrel from your property, please call a professional wildlife removal company. They will be able to humanely remove the squirrel and make sure they don’t come back!

Squirrel Removal Near Me

AAAC Wildlife Removal is a full-service wildlife removal company that can handle any squirrel pest control problem. We are licensed and fully insured to get the job done right! We have a team of experienced professionals that know squirrels very well and will be able to get them out of your property quickly and safely.

If you are having a problem with squirrels on your property, please call us today! We would be happy to help!


Squirrels do have nests and they will go to great lengths to make sure their dreys are in a good spot so that their babies are kept safe and warm. It’s fascinating to watch these little creatures go about their lives, so be sure to keep an eye out for squirrel nests the next time you’re outside!

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