What do Squirrels eat

What Time Do Squirrels Wake Up (When Are Squirrels Active)

Are you a squirrel lover looking to own a squirrel for a pet, and you are wondering what life for these little critters is, so you can know how to better take care of them?

Or are you a homeowner who has these pesky rodents in your yard and is looking to get more info about them so you can run them out of your home?

Or are you just someone who wants to know something about those ‘cute’ animals which many believe are misunderstood… You are all in the right place.

When squirrels wake up depends on if it’s the diurnal kind that wakes up with the sun or nocturnal that are active at night, and like most animals, they are most active in fall and summer when the weather is great. Come along and learn about this animal that has over 200 known species.

About Squirrels

  • Common Name: Squirrels
  • Scientific Name: Sciuridae
  • Number of Known Species: 289
  • Location Found: Almost everywhere on the planet except in Australia and Antarctica.
  • Habitat: Wooded areas for tree squirrels and underground burrows for ground squirrels.
  • When They Are Most Active: When it’s dark, warm, at low atmospheric pressure,
  • Best Season for Squirrels: Fall
  • Best Foods: Nuts, leaves, roots, seeds, berries, other plants, small insects, and even baby birds.

What Time Do Squirrels Wake Up

Squirrels are very agile animals who can be so active when they are awake: with a lot of running up and down away from predators and to prey, foraging for food, mating, burying nuts, and raising their young, with all these laborious activities, it didn’t come as a surprise that squirrels sleep for a long time.

Since nocturnal squirrels sleep during the day, we will be dealing with diurnal, which sleep when the night falls and wake up in the morning.

For some squirrels, there is no specific time in the morning that squirrels wake up, the brightness of the day is one thing that gets them up, so if the sun rises early, you will see squirrels awake quite early.

Do Squirrels Sleep For Long

What Time Do Squirrels Wake Up (When Are Squirrels Active)


Squirrels can sleep for a very long depending on certain conditions; an adult squirrel can sleep more than half of their day, while baby squirrels can sleep even longer in the right environmental condition.

That is why they are called ‘Crepuscular,’ which is used to define a mammal that is active for just a few hours when the day is bright, like between early mornings and late afternoons, and will sleep away the other hours of the day.

Some factors will affect how long a squirrel will sleep and their general sleep pattern, and they include:

1. Age Of The Squirrel

The age of a squirrel determines to a large extent how much sleep they get per day. Baby squirrels, like our babies who can sleep for long because they require a lot of sleep for their physical and mental development, sometimes tend to sleep for long, maxing 22 hours a day.

On the other hand, older squirrels need 18 to 20 hours of sleep every day to keep up with the hustle and bustle of their lives.

2. Availability Of Food

A hungry squirrel is likely to sleep less than one with a full stomach because it will have to spend more time scrounging for food than usual.

For proper growth, squirrels should be fed every 3 to 5 hours, especially baby squirrels. But this might not be feasible for those in the wild, but if you own one as a pet, you can feed it that often.

3. The Season Of The Year

Fall and summer are the seasons that squirrels love, and you will find many of them jumping around during such seasons in search of food and breeding partners, and at these times, they are usually too busy and get less sleep because the weather is great for them.

When the chills come in, you will find both the flying and ground squirrels sleeping most of the time in their den or burrow to keep warm.

4. Health

Insomnia and loss of appetite clearly show that a squirrel might be sick. It is easier for a squirrel who is Hale and hearty to doze off whenever it wants than an ailing one. Discomfort and restlessness associated with illnesses can cause insomnia for a squirrel.

Fun Facts About Squirrels

With the number of species of squirrels, it is little wonder that there is so much known about these animals. Here is info about them we find interesting:

1. Squirrels can smell food buried under a foot of snow, and they will dig a tunnel to get to it by following the scent.

2. Squirrel is a rodent; like most rodents, its front never stops growing.

3. Squirrels are known as scattering hoarders because they bury a lot of food and can lose up to a quarter of them to thieves, which are usually birds or other squirrels

4. Squirrels run in a zig-zag pattern when escaping predators like hawks.

5. Squirrels engage in “deceptive caching” when they pretend to bury a nut to throw off potential thieves.

6. A newborn squirrel is tiny and sometimes just an inch long.

7. Squirrels are so intelligent that they can perform so many acrobatic moves.

8. They put on more weight in winter to keep warm.

9. Squirrels help in reforestation because some of the buried nuts that squirrels forget in the ground grow into trees.

10. Ground squirrels can stay in their den for close to 5 months during the winter, keeping them cozy and sleeping away from the cold.

11. Squirrel’s who live in extremely hot weather sometimes get away from the heat for months sleeping in their burrow away from the heat. This is known as aestivation.

12. Unlike other rodents, squirrels, like humans, sleep with their eyes closed.

What Time Does Squirrel leave Their Den?

It is common to see squirrels moving around early in the morning. If you suspect you have some on your property, you might hear their sounds or even spot them.

Different factors affect when a squirrel wakes up; one of them is when it is raining in the morning.

If it is a light shower, the squirrel will wake up and even come out to start foraging for food, and it will use its tail like an umbrella to keep it from getting drenched.

If there is a heavy downpour, squirrels will sleep in or stay in their den because they can’t risk their fur getting soaked, making it impossible to control their body temperature.

Only the nocturnal squirrels come out of their den during winter because the diurnal ones are busy keeping warm and will never come out of their den early in the morning for almost any reason.

Different squirrel species have different sleeping pattern and hence affects when they wake up. For instance, the grey squirrels wake up and one out of their den during autumn, even before Dawn, while the red squirrels usually about 15 to 30 minutes after sunrise.

The case is different for nursing squirrels, who can come out from their nest as early as 2 am in search of food, even if the other squirrels of their species are still sleeping.

Some other squirrel species, like the red squirrel, are very active about 3 hours after sunset, which is when their activity level is the highest bidder, meaning they wake up later than most species. Three hours before sunset, they become extremely active, like in the morning.

When Are Squirrels Most Active?

There are different classes of squirrels; the most common are gray squirrels, red squirrels, fox squirrels, tree squirrels, ground squirrels, swimming squirrels, and flying squirrels, which are nocturnal.

Aside from the flying squirrels, almost all diurnal others have the same activity pattern. Fox squirrels are very active during the day, especially when the weather is warm, with bright sunlight and less windy, while the gray squirrels love cloudy days and are most active on days when the sun is not in full blast.

The ground squirrel has a similar activity pattern as the fox squirrels, and they are hyperactive from midmorning to the later afternoon. These species of squirrel hibernate in winter, but their young ones can stay awake and even move around when the winter days are not too chilly.

The same way these squirrels hate winter, they also hate very hot temperatures, and at this time, they become in time as they bury themselves in their burrows away from the scorching sun.

Lastly, all squirrels are considered diurnal animals because they are active during the day. During spring and fall, all kinds of squirrels follow the same behavior: they are active the whole day with increased activity in the early evening and sometimes in the late afternoon.

Also, all Squirrels have the peculiar characteristics of being more active in the daytime (from around 8.00 am to 5.00 pm) during the seasons of light rain. Scientists say it is unusual behavior.

How Long Do Squirrels Live?

In the same way, some factors will determine how much sleep a squirrel gets. Some factors will determine how long a squirrel is.

The environment is the most influential factor in a squirrel’s life span. 

For instance, squirrels who are cared for in captivity, like the ones that are people’s pets and the ones that stay in the zoo, can live up to 24 years, all things being equal, this is because they never have to run around so much in search of food, shelter or away from predators.

They are protected from harsh weather conditions, are properly taken care of when they fall sick, and get enough TLC. For them, it is old age that takes them out.

For squirrels in the wild, with all the perks that come with living with us humans, their normal life expectancy is a maximum of 8 years; a high percentage of squirrels in the wild do not live long enough to celebrate their first birthday before predators eat them.


Most species of squirrels, like humans, sleep while it’s dark and is very active when it’s bright as they go about in search of their basic needs or just trying to stay alive because they are critters with lots of predators. Only a few are nocturnal, like the flying squirrel, and are active at night.

Hence, most squirrels will wake up with the sun after a long sleep which they need because of their high level of activities, and sleep allows them to rejuvenate.

Helpful Links:

We trust this article helped you find out what time squirrels wake up. You may also want to check out What to Feed Squirrels in Your Backyard.

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