Squirrel Nests: What Does A Squirrel Nest Look Like?

You might have come across the large untidy, messy ball-like structure on the tree. It might look like a big nest. But it is tough to judge from the ground whether it’s a bird nest or squirrel nests. Squirrels’ nests are known as drey. Dreys are mostly built of dry leaves, twigs, barks and moss, and a combination of other materials.

Squirrel Nests
Squirrel Nests

Drey is a nest for every squirrel. Ground squirrel, tree squirrel, or ringtail possum. The drey usually looks like a small ball or bulb of leaves that are clumped together. A drey can also be of paper, wood, or garbage. If you found it very near to your home, it may mean the squirrel wonders in your backyard. Squirrels usually make different sites for making their habitat depending upon their region, but they usually prefer trees for their nests. Trees provide them better shelter than any other things. They got better protection from weather fluctuations and can easily access food. Usually, tree cavities are used for building nests. But in some cases, squirrels also make their nests on exposed tree branches but at a safe distance from the ground. The safe distance from the ground to the tree is considered to be 60 feet or more. However, the cavities opening 2 to 8 inches in diameter in trees offer an ideal location for building a nest. Squirrels usually prefer these hidden cavities for their habitat, so they feel safer and protected from their prey and weather changes. Although they made a variety of nests but usually squirrel nests are found on coniferous trees. Some squirrels also make underground nests where they found soft soil as another living option.

How Drey looks like:

Squirrels rush everywhere to build a cozy soft, warm, and dry nest. They scurry around to collect different things, whatever they find like leaves, paper, wood, bark, to make their heaven. The result is Round messy ball consisting of leafy twigs, barks that are lined by a soft material such as moss, feather, leaves, and pine needles.

The squirrel makes a nest, usually close to the trunk or fork branches where the tree is strong enough to provide their nest support. The nest is almost 6 m above the ground level, where the squirrels feel safe.

what does a squirrel nest look like

Suppose the squirrels came across a naturally occurring hole in a tree or a hole created by a woodpecker. There are chances they might adopt them as their nest. The squirrels may adjust its entrance by chewing it. After making it comfortable, they lined it with soft materials as discussed above.

Squirrels usually have two types of nests according to weather. In summer, the dry is flatter, lighter, and wide open as they need less protection from weather changes. While in winter or autumn, as the weather changes, they need a somewhat safer, comfortable, and warm place to live in. In cold weather, they remain in their nests for some days but do not hibernate as they have to go out to search for food for their survival.

Why Do Squirrels Build Nests?

Usually, squirrels built nests for their survival and for their children. In the windy winter, they need someplace to hide and protect themselves and their children from weather changes. For this reason, they built different types of nests in different locations. For example, in winter, they will build nests on trees. Trees will work as an insulator for them and protect them from wind chills. The squirrels typically built their nest near places where they can easily hunt food, and their children can remain safe from predators. They can quickly look after and raise their children. Usually, the squirrel built their nest alone, but they sometimes built it commonly when they raised their children.

When Do Squirrels Build A Nest :

Squirrels usually build nests when the winter arrives. From September to October, they start searching the palace for their nest. Usually, for winter, they search more protected and covered places. So that they can be protected from ice-cold winters, they usually build a nest where branches cross and close to trunks.

How Do Squirrel Choose Material To Build Their Nest:

The squirrel nest is more complex than it looks. Squirrels usually work whatever they get. From the leafy twigs, they make the basket which makes the base of the nests. Then they will collect soft materials like wet leaves, papers, moss, and any other compressible material available. Now they will weave twigs with these soft materials. In the end, they will fill the remaining gap with more leaves and other soft materials.

Squirrels keep on searching the soft materials constantly as they search for food. They want to make their nest a more comfortable place to live in. They will collect papers, leaves, moss, garbage, and any other soft material used in the future.

Where does a squirrel build a nest?

The squirrels are known to eat all the time. So they prefer to build a nest where they found good access to food .When squirrels are not eating or sleeping, they are still moving. So they tend to find a built nest where they can easily move and find their food. Squirrels usually make their home in a forest where they can cover more area from tree to tree and can protect them from predators. They are more likely quickly free to move and cover the ground area more like they will make their habitats.

Squirrels behavior :

Female squirrels usually build 4 to 5 nests per year and keep on changing them .Whenever she feels that her nest is no longer safer, she changes its nest with its young ones. Squirrels sometimes share their nest sites with others and sometimes do not .Squirrels usually have to litter twice a  year and their gestation period is 40 days. Whenever you see a squirrel near your area, try to find its nest also as squirrels prefer to live where they can easily approach food and shelter. Squirrels usually use nests to raise their children and protect them from cold air and weather changes in winter. They use their nest for resting in the winter months but don’t hibernate as they have to search for food. Squirrels usually shift their nests according to geographical conditions. In summer, they prefer lighter and wider nests, but in winters, squirrels prefer tree cavities referred to as den.

Removal of squirrels nest:

If you find a squirrel’s nest and plan to remove it, never do it .squirrels usually attack you and may bite you. Especially if the young ones are in the nest, they bite you on your hand. Squirrels carry specific bacterial diseases that can be transferred to humans if they contact them, especially through their feces. The squirrels also carry ticks and flakes, which are pathogenic and cause diseases. Allowing squirrels to built a nest in your garden or property also causes damages and destruction.

How To Distinguish Between Squirrels & Birds Nest:

It is really difficult to guess from the ground whether it is a bird’s nest or a squirrel’s nest .Squirrels sometimes build their nest in a bird’s nest, and sometimes birds make their nest on squirrels’ drey. Things get shuffled for so many reasons there.

One clue is that if you find leaves weaving in the nest, that is for sure a squirrel’s nest because birds usually don’t do that. Another clue is positioning of the nests. Birds’ nests are always on top of a tree while squirrels make their drey in hidden places. You can also find through chewed pined cones, stretched marks on barks, and chuk chuk sounds. However, the sure way is to sit, wait and watch to appear the squirrel from its den.

Frequently asked questions:

What time of year do the squirrels make a nest?

Squirrels usually make their nest from September to October. They usually make their nest to survive winters. Squirrels try to find a place that is more protected and covered so that they can insulate themselves from cold air.

What is a squirrel’s nest called?

Squirrels nest is known as drey. It is slightly larger than a food ball and round in shape. It is made up of twigs, leaves, barks, Papers, and garbage, anything that is available to them. The squirrel nest is more complexed than it looks.

Do squirrels remember humans?

Squirrels are known to be more intelligent than other animals regarding their memories. They tend to remember that this human is a trustworthy source for food or not.

Do squirrels return to their previous nests?

Like other rodents, which don’t return to their previous nests, squirrels have no problem like that. They return to previous nests they built and reuse them. The reason may be that they keep switching their nests according to season changes. Squirrels prefer to live in cavities in winter and the lighter and wider nests in summers.