Squirrels Nest: What You Should Know

Squirrels nesting in a tree hole

Photo by John Brighenti on Flickr


In the UK, we are accustomed to seeing squirrels pretty much everywhere. They are in parks, in gardens, in rural areas, and in your backyard or lawn. Kids and guests in your home are entertained by them and their cuteness. Many people in England make squirrel feeders as well as bird feeders so that the animals have food easily available. But have you ever wondered where exactly do squirrels live? No one makes squirrel houses to hang on a three-branch in the backyard.

Where do squirrels live

Squirrels are solitary animals and would spend most of their time on their own. They also nest on their own. However, when their mating season begins they couple up and lives in one nest. They also do so when the winter months get very cold. If they find a naturally occurred hole in a tree or one that was made by a woodpecker, or even in a building, they may claim it instead of building a home. Not to mention that the solid trunk of a tree or walls of a building provide much more safety from the winter and predators.

Read more about squirrels in the UK.

Where do squirrels nest

All squirrel species are largely opportunistic nest builders and would not pick and choose much before collecting various materials for their nest. They build their home near a food source. In fact, they may have more than one home in a certain range around their food. One main nest and several temporary ones to store food or hide from predators. Some individuals may even have seasonal homes. Squirrels do not hibernate, so they need a solid home in the winter to protect them from harsh weather and low temperatures. It is not rare that they build a summer nest and a winter one. There are a couple of different types of nests which we discuss below.

What is a squirrel's nest called?

Squirrels' nests are called “dreys”. They look the same regardless of the species that build them - grey or the red squirrel, or flying squirrel. Dreys are built in tree branches, usually from twigs and dry leaves, tree bark, plus grass.

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Types of Squirrels Nests

There are three common types of squirrel nests.

  • Tree dents - This may be the only squirrel home you can think of. You may have also seen them getting in and out of tree dents. That’s because cavity dents in trees make perfect homes for these animals in the winter. They provide better shelter against harsh weather conditions. Squirrels may also use the holes made by woodpeckers.
  • Dreys - As we said already, dreys are the nests that squirrels build on their own. Usually, they construct their nests at least six meters above the ground. They use tree branches for stability. Oftentimes, their nests can be confused with those of birds but squirrels’ ones are larger. To build their nests, squirrels use a combination of various rigid and soft materials so they can mould and shape them into a sturdy home.
  • Underground tunnels - Only Ground squirrels create such nests. They do so in loose soil, such can be found in pastures and fields. Also, they may live in parks and golf courses where they also make tunnels and nests underground. However, this type of squirrel isn’t native to the UK.

What time of year do squirrels build nests?

When spring arrives, the mothers spend most of their time taking care of their babies. The young ones are ready to leave the family nest between their tenth or twelfth week. Because of this, two nest-building periods can be noticed throughout the year, the first, in June or July. This is the time when the little ones are ready to leave home and the mother teaches their young how to build nests. The second time is at the beginning of autumn. That’s when they start preparing for winter. Naturally, they need a place to shelter them from the cold and a place to store their food which they collect in autumn. You may notice increased squirrel activity and visits to your property in late summer and throughout autumn.

Squirrels nest in the loft

We said above, squirrels can use holes in buildings as shelter. But if they can get inside your home and are undisturbed for some time, they may settle down there. For example, lofts and attics are the common human-inhabited places where squirrels can have access. However, these are rare cases because squirrels are not like rats and mice which predominantly nest indoors. Squirrels are more likely to nest on a tree near your home and if they have access to the inside of your home, they will come for food and leave. And that’s enough for them to do some damage on your property - insulation, walls, or cables. They are also likely to leave droppings on your property which is one of the signs of squirrels invading your loft.

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Are squirrels bothering you in your home? Then get in touch with us and hire a professional squirrel pest control service to take care of your problem. We humanely dispatch the animals, so you don’t need to worry about that.

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We distribute educational information according to the experience and professional knowledge of the pest technicians. However, we don't provide any medical advice.

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