Do squirrels come out at night? Can they see at night?


We get quite a few readers writing to us something along the lines, “I saw a squirrel at night” which leads them to wonder “are squirrels nocturnal?” Even if you haven’t seen squirrels out at night though, you’ve likely observed squirrels working hard during the day to store food (often nuts) for winter.

This might make you wonder, do squirrels in nature work hard during all hours of the day collecting nuts and nesting materials for winter? Do squirrels even sleep?

The answer to the question is it depends on the type of squirrel. We will explain what kinds of squirrels are nocturnal, a bit about squirrels’ sleeping habits, and why you might sometimes see squirrels at night.

What types of squirrels come out at nighttime?

The breeds of squirrels that come out after dusk are the “Northern Flying Squirrels” and the “Southern Flying Squirrels.” There is also a tiny breed of squirrels known as Sugar Gliders that are nocturnal as well and you can find them up playing underneath the starry skies of the Amazon Forest.

Other than that, all other squirrels sleep during the night, and work hard and play underneath the warm sunny skies of the day. However, there are a few exceptions.

Video showing flying squirrels at night

What are the few exceptions?

Some squirrels such as grey squirrels are attracted to warmth and light. If these squirrels have warmth and light at nighttime, they will come out and explore. This is especially true if you have squirrels living within the walls of your home or inside your garage or attic.

One sure way of keeping these creatures away from attics, garages, crawlspaces, and buildings inside the walls of your home is by sealing off any cracks or craves that are visible. Making sure cracked windows and doors are replaced and fixed as well can keep the squirrels out of your home and sleeping fast away in a hollow tree or burrow beneath the ground where they belong during the nighttime hours.

Reasons non-flying squirrels might be out at night

If you see squirrels exploring the nighttime, it is most likely a flying squirrel breed. However, if you do catch other breeds exploring the nighttime it is mainly because there is some warmth or light or both attracting them. Sometimes even warmer temperatures can awaken squirrels from their nighttime slumber and cause them to want to go out and forage for food, water, and nesting materials.

It all depends upon the atmosphere, and what the squirrels are feeling from their surroundings. Otherwise, the only time you will see squirrels out playing, hunting for food, drinking water, and building homes is during the day when they can see all that is upon the earth.

What are squirrels’ sleeping habits

During the day, most squirrels tend to sleep in trees. You can sometimes see them temporarily sunning themselves on the ground or perched on a wall, roof, or another high object. It is rare, however, to see them in a deep sleep on the ground like in the below video.

Video showing a squirrel sleeping on the ground in daylight

Additional Nocturnal Squirrel Resources

  1. Flying squirrels’ flight evolved at night – Daily Collegian by Penn State
  2. Tree Squirrels by Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management
  3. Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans) by the Kansas Mammal Atlas
  4. Tree Squirrels by Kansas State Extension of Wildlife Management
Categorized as Squirrels

By David Jackson

I enjoy learning about new pest control strategies and sharing what I learn at I aim to create a reliable resource for people dealing with all sorts of pest issues.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.