When Do Squirrels Sleep? The Ultimate Guide


squirrel lying down on a tree

If you’re thinking about getting a pet squirrel, it is only natural to be curious about their sleeping habits. One of the questions that may come up on your mind is what time of the day they sleep. Knowing the answer to this can help you decide whether they’re a good fit for your lifestyle and personal circumstances.

Ground and tree squirrels species are diurnal meaning they’re active during the daytime and sleep at night although they may take extra naps during the day. However, flying squirrels that glide from tree to tree in a flying manner often sleep during the daytime and are more active at night in a bid to ward off predators and forage for food. 

Thus, it is important to find out the specific type of squirrels you’re dealing with to determine characteristics such as what time of day they sleep as well as when they’re more active and other important information.

How Many Hours A Day Does A Squirrel Sleep?

Adult squirrels can sleep for up to 20 hours a day depending on factors in the prevailing environment while baby squirrels could spend about 22 hours of their day sleeping.

Shall we take a look at factors that may determine the sleeping patterns of these animals?

1. Age

Age can play a huge role in the number of hours a squirrel sleeps during the day. While adult squirrels spend 18-20 hours a day snoozing, their babies may need considerably more shuteye.

This is because baby squirrels expend considerable amounts of energy to adjust to the new environment after birth. Besides, the physical and mental growth process also requires a lot of energy.

This means baby squirrels may sleep for approximately 22 hours a day with only 1-2 hours of physical activity. Do not be alarmed if baby squirrels that are only a few weeks old are struggling to keep their eyes open. It is only a matter of time before they get more physically active. Just respect their sleep schedule and watch as they grow into healthy and happy adult hedgehogs.

2. Access to Food

Squirrels eat multiple times a day and should be fed every 3-5 hours for optimal growth. Baby squirrels, in particular, need frequent food to be able to develop and adjust to the new surroundings while building the necessary physical and mental features to thrive.

For diurnal breeds such as the grey and fox squirrel, they typically run around during the day and get some rest once they tire out. Feeding them on schedule also gives them the ability to sleep through the night and look refreshed in the morning.

Baby squirrels that get the right formula should be able to sleep for up to 22 hours a day without problems.

My pet squirrels love the Volkman Seed Small Animal Squirrel Delight All Nut Mix Healthy Diet Food from Amazon. It features a great mix of different nuts that squirrels love to eat day and night.

3. Cold Weather

squirrel standing on tree branch in snow

Squirrels are biologically endowed with superior agility due to their natural habitat in trees and on the ground. Unlike other similarly sized animals that hibernate during the winter to conserve body heat and energy, squirrels do not hibernate.

Sure, they do spend more time in their dreys, burrows, and tree hollows during extremely cold periods of the year. But their agile natural bodies make it impossible for them to accumulate enough fat deposits to hibernate successfully.

Thus, squirrels typically sleep more during winter as they try to stay warm in their natural habitats. If you decide to raise pet squirrels, make sure they get the necessary warmth during those extremely chilly periods of the year.

Failure to do so can stifle their activity levels and ensure that even the most active ones become dull during winter. You’ll notice a surge in the number of hours they sleep and a resultant effect on their level of physical activity.

4. Hot Weather 

Squirrels love running around during the daytime in the summer and this is the period they’re more likely to be spotted. Their days are spent seeking and gathering seeds, nuts, flowers, bugs, and other sources of food.

These animals hide the food in different areas during the summer so they can get enough to eat when winter comes. Squirrels are endowed with a superior sense of smell that ensures the ability to locate hidden food in various areas.

In essence, squirrels sleep less during hot weather as they revel in the heat from the sun. Summer can also be a great period for seeking mating partners. No wonder many squirrel lovers raising the animals as pets report higher levels of physical activity during hot periods of the year.

5. Health Complications 

An ailing squirrel may find it difficult to sleep due to complications from diseases or infections. It is not uncommon for the animal in question to show signs such as restlessness even during regular sleeping hours.

A squirrel suffering from a disease may also suffer a loss of appetite which can make it harder for it to get some shuteye. If a pet squirrel that has always slept without problems begins to show signs of insomnia suddenly, that could be a clue that it is battling some health issues.

A quick visit to a veterinarian should sort out any problems for normal sleeping behavior to resume.

Do Squirrels Sleep During The Day?

The nocturnal species of squirrels popularly known as the flying squirrels sleep during the day and are more active at night. Sure, flying squirrels are more popular in the wild but there have been reports of successful domestication in many areas.

Even the diurnal species like grey and red squirrels may also nap during the day when there’s little physical activity to engage in. As previously stated, these breeds spend most of the day finding food.

This can lead to significant fatigue which may warrant daytime naps to restore energy levels so they can continue their foraging routines.

What Time Of The Day Are Squirrels More Active?

red squirrel standing in the woods

Squirrels are more active during the early hours of the morning and late evening when temperatures have cooled down and the sun is not so harsh. These creatures are also sensitive to light so they try to avoid as much of it as possible.

Squirrels hunters in the United States and other parts of the world report higher levels of success when they hunt these creatures from dusk to dawn. If you decide to raise one at home, it will be a good idea to make time to play with him during the late afternoons or early mornings.

Do Squirrels Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

Squirrels sleep with their eyes closed unlike rabbits and other rodents. If your pet squirrel’s eyes are open, that is an unmistakable clue that it is awake and active. On the other hand, a squirrel whose eyes have been closed for several minutes is either deeply asleep or trying to nod off.

Minimal disturbance can be essential to prevent any disruptions to his sleeping routine.

How Long Do Squirrels Live?

The lifespan of a squirrel can vary greatly depending on biological factors such as the breed as well as environmental factors like whether it is in the wild or captivity. The average lifespan of squirrels in the wild is 6-10 years although the majority succumb to predators before their first birthday.

Pet squirrels or those raised in captivity may live up to an incredible 24 years.

Conclusion 

The majority of squirrel species sleep at night and become more active during the daytime. They usually come out to play and look for food around dawn and dusk when temperatures typically take a plunge.

Since they thrive in low light conditions, the times around dawn and dusk can also be perfect for squirrels to engage in some physical activity.

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