Day and Night: When Are Squirrels Most Active?

Squirrels are interesting creatures; you can always see them running around getting their food and sometimes chasing each other.

When we do see them, they always seem super active. Then, there is their hibernation period when they aren’t active at all.

Is there a time when squirrels are the most active? Is there a reason for them being super active seemingly all the time? Let’s take a dive into the activity of squirrels. 

When Are Squirrels the Most Active?

Squirrels have patterns in how they act, like many other animals out there. They have times when they have the most energy and are therefore the most active.

There are also parts of the year when squirrels are more active compared to other parts of the year.

Squirrels Are the Most Active Early in The Day

Squirrels Are the Most Active Early in The Day

The prime time for squirrels to be out and running around is in the morning and early day. This is when they wake up and have the most amount of energy. 

The morning has cooler temperatures and predators haven’t all woken up yet. This allows squirrels plenty of time to get food and chase after each other.

We commonly will hear and see squirrels the most in the early parts of the day before the hot sun fully rises. 

At that point, squirrels will want to stay out of the heat and be hidden by nearby predators by going back to their homes. 

Different types of squirrels will have different preferences for being active during the day.

Fox squirrels prefer bright and sunny days when it is warmer, and they can easily get food. Grey squirrels, on the other hand, prefer cooler and cloudier days as they deem those days as safer. 

Squirrels are active in the times that are the most comfortable for them and the safest for them. This means that they will be out at times so that they can better avoid their predators. 

Squirrels Are Most Active During the Fall

The time of year that squirrels are the most active in the fall time. It makes sense for many kinds of squirrels that this is when they are the most active. The weather has cooled down and it isn’t as hot all the time outside.

Fall is also when squirrels will prepare for going into hibernation. This is the prime time for finding all the food and other resources that they are going to need for the Winter.

Once the acorns start to fall from the trees, you are likely to see so many more squirrels out on the hunt for food. 

During the fall, more and more animals are trying to prepare for the Winter. That, and more animals are already going into hibernation.

This allows squirrels more safety as they won’t be the target of as many predators. However, Fall is also hunting season, so squirrels face a new predator during this time of the year: humans. 

The season that ranks second in the activity levels of squirrels is Springtime. Spring is when all the hibernating animals begin to wake up once again, including squirrels. 

When squirrels wake up from hibernation, they can be pretty hungry and are ready to feel the sunshine once again. They will start to appear everywhere outside, getting back into the cycle of getting food for their everyday living. 

Spring is also mating season for squirrels. You will really see them be super active during the Spring as many of them are looking for good mates.

Finding mates tends to look like squirrels chasing each other, so if you see squirrels dash out in front of you while walking outside, that might be a reason why. 

Spring is the time for life to bloom once again, and this includes squirrels. It’s the time when they are finding mates and getting food for their squirrel families. They may not be as active as they are in the Fall, but the Spring makes them very active too. 

Squirrels Like to Be Active During Light Rains

This isn’t true for every single kind of squirrel, but for the squirrels that prefer cooler temperatures and cloudy skies, light rains are the perfect time for going out.

When it is lightly raining in your area, you may see some squirrels out and collecting some food. While they do this because squirrels tend to enjoy cooler temperatures, they also go out in the rain because there are less likely to be as many predators around. 

Many predators prefer to not be in the rain, so this gives squirrels a safe opportunity to collect a few more resources to stay alive. 

Can You Still See Squirrels Be Active During the Winter?

Squirrel in winter time
Photo by Justin Brinkhoff

Hibernation doesn’t mean that an animal will be asleep for all of the Winter months. Instead, you will still see a few animals here and there collecting more food to get them through the Winter. 

If you see a squirrel during the Winter, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t hibernating.

During the Winter, a squirrel will come out in the late morning or the middle of the day. These times are when the sun is shining its brightest and it is the warmest.

A squirrel will go out during the Winter months to collect more food and other resources to take back to their shelter. 

As you get deeper into the Winter months, you will see fewer and fewer squirrels collecting food. There is less food to be collected and squirrels will be going into deeper hibernation. 

You will see squirrels start to come out again at the tail end of Winter when there is less snow and more food resources have become available. 

Each kind of squirrel has its own activity level. Grey squirrels, which you can learn more about in this video, prefer way different environments to fox squirrels and other kinds of squirrels.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Squirrels Active in The Summer?

You will often see squirrels around in the Summer. This season is the prime time for getting resources and food. However, squirrels aren’t as active in the Summer as they are in the Spring or Winter.

It can get too hot for squirrels during the Summer. Instead of seeing them in the afternoon when the temperature is at its highest, you will see squirrels in the early morning while it is still cooler. 

You might also see squirrels during dusk as the ground is cooling off from the midday sun. Two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset is when you’ll see the most squirrels during the Summer months.

What Are Squirrels Attracted To?

Squirrels are creatures of getting as much food as possible so that they don’t have to worry about going hungry. The way that these creatures have their mouths and teeth structured makes things like nuts and seeds appealing to them.

Squirrels are fans of acorns and sunflower seeds. In fact, sunflower seeds are one of their favorite foods. They like many of the ingredients that are in bird seed because they are also fans of eating seeds. 

If you want to attract squirrels, put out things like sunflower seeds, unroasted peanuts, and non-damaged acorns.

What Causes Squirrels to Suddenly Disappear?

If you are out at a park or on a trail watching squirrels and they suddenly disappear, that is a good indicator that there is a predator nearby. 

Squirrels will disappear when they perceive a threat nearby. They obviously don’t want to be around when there is a creature that could easily kill them super close by. 

These creatures will also disappear if they get spooked by anything. This can include loud and sudden sounds like a sudden thunderstorm or playing instruments. Anything that can be perceived as a threat is something that can make them suddenly disappear.

Do Squirrels Roam Around at Night?

It would seem to make sense if squirrels roamed around at night. Many predators are asleep, and the temperatures are cooler. However, squirrels don’t tend to go out at night. Instead, squirrels will settle down in their dens and go to sleep.

Squirrels would rather spend the night fast asleep and get up early in the morning for food. It is harder to see at night which can put them in danger of any night-roaming predators out there. 

If a squirrel does go out at night, they are probably just getting a drink of water or something small to eat.

Final Thoughts

Squirrels have to have a schedule that allows them to get plenty of food while also staying far away from any predators. They are the most active during the early morning, but their activity levels will rise again right before nightfall.

Fall is the season that squirrels are most active as they are preparing to go into hibernation. Though, Spring is a pretty active time for them as well. 

Do you ever see squirrels out and active at weird times of the day? Let us know in the comments!

About Justin Stewart

With a deep knowledge of plants, landscaping, and sustainable gardening practices, his engaging content offers practical tips, creative ideas to help you transform your backyards into thriving green havens. Get ready to unlock your backyard's full potential!

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