Squirrels take refuge in dens and nests in the wintertime. Like humans and many other mammals, squirrels need protection from the harsh winds and elements of winter. Their wintertime shelters vary in size and composition depending on location, but all contain overhead roofs and warm linings to keep out the cold.Continue Reading
While many squirrels take up shelter in nests during spring and summer months, they sleep in dens during the winter. Dens and burrows offer more protection than nests, which are primarily used for raising young. Squirrels, like birds, typically build nests to accommodate parents and offspring: essentially, nests act like homes for immediate family. During the winter months, however, they change their social habits by congregating in large communities.
As groups, squirrels stake out territories and find prime locations for nesting. Winter dens may take the form of tree cavities or shelters previously occupied by other mammals such as foxes. Sometimes, however, squirrels must construct dens, which they accomplish using twigs, small branches and other organic materials such as leaves and stems. Squirrels generally build sturdy winter residences: the dens and drays they construct may withstand significant winds and storms and may remain in place for several years after construction.Learn more about Rodents
According to the West Virginia Wildlife Magazine, squirrels make tree cavity dens and leaf nests which are built inside trees or up on branches located very high off the ground. Tree dens offer greater protection from the rain and other elements, but leaf nests are most common in woods where there is a shortage of den trees such as oaks, elms and beech trees.Full Answer >
Most tree-dwelling squirrels, such as red and gray squirrels, do not hibernate during winter and stay active throughout the day as long as the temperature does not fall below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Ground squirrels, especially those that can be found in the Arctic, Alaska and Canada, do practice hibernation.Full Answer >
At night, squirrels conclude their activities by retreating to nests, which are primarily built in trees. Like birds, most squirrels build nests to serve as homes, which they use for raising young and resting. Many construct their dwellings on tree branches, although some take up shelter in tree cavities located high in tree trunks.Full Answer >
Squirrels adapt to their habitat by using their thick fur to keep warm, hiding in their nests for warmth, storing food and using their intelligence. Squirrels can survive in many environments, though they do best in wooded areas.Full Answer >