Is that a squirrel nest in my tree?

squirrels nest

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine if you have squirrels nesting in your trees instead of birds or something else. During nesting season, it is important to not try to get rid of squirrels, because the babies cannot survive without their mother.

Types of squirrel nests

There are two different types of squirrel nests, tree cavity dens and leaf nests. A tree cavity den is typically the product of a woodpecker making a hole in a tree and then abandoning the tree for another site. The squirrel will take over the hole and claim it as their own and begin constructing their tree cavity den in it. Squirrels like these nests because they offer them protection from the wind, snow, rain and cold.

The second type of squirrel nest is a leaf nest. Leaf nests are usually found at least 20 feet up a tree and can be seen on a large tree branch, because the branch adds support and offers stability. They are traditionally smaller than a bird nest.

How is a squirrel leaf nest constructed?

squirrels nest baby

 Leaf nests are made up of various twigs, leaves, moss and other material. The twigs they collect are loosely woven together to make up the floor of the den. Squirrels will then add moss to add more stability and reinforcement to their nest. Then, they make a frame around the base, which creates the outer shell. The final touches include stuffing in leaves, moss, twigs and sometimes even paper to build up the outer shell of the new home. The inside of the leaf nest is about six to eight inches big and lined with shredded tree bark, grass, and leaves. While most nests are that size, some nests are larger, depending on the type of squirrel nesting in it. For example gray squirrels make their tree nests two feet wide.

Squirrel vacation homes

Squirrels are constantly moving, looking for food, so they will typically have more than one nest on their way to the other, so they can take breaks. These other nests are often called vacation homes because they offer the squirrels temporary refuge when they are tired or are trying to escape a predator. Most often, squirrels will have their main nest and then have two to three vacation homes varying distances from their main nest. It is important to note, squirrels will not bring their babies with them when they are off looking for food or resting in their vacation home. This is another reason why removing squirrel nesting is not done during certain times of the year.

From time to time, squirrels will choose attic spaces for their primary nest or vacation home. This can cause frustration because the squirrels will cause costly damage to insulation, roofs, wires and other parts of the attic space. The best thing to do to prevent squirrels from nesting in your home is to make sure there aren’t openings in the home where the squirrels can gain access through and there are no food sources drawing them to the property.

A squirrel nest timeline

Squirrels usually nest alone unless it's during mating season or they have just had a litter of squirrel babies. During the winter, if it’s especially cold, squirrels might nest together to keep warm but for the most part, squirrels will nest on their own. In the spring, the main job of the female squirrels is to nurse and care for their young. The babies will begin to venture out of the nest when they are six-weeks-old and at 10-12 weeks old they will leave their nest for good. In the weeks leading up to their departure, the mother squirrel will teach her babies important survival skills such as how to gather food, how to build a nest for themselves and how to avoid predators. Occasionally a litter will stay with their mother until the second litter arrives in the late summer.

Squirrels typically build their nests in June and July. During this time, the baby squirrels that were born in the spring will learn how to build alongside their mothers. Nest building is an important skill that is useful for the babies to learn when they go off on their own and live independently. Squirrels are most busy with their nest building in the late fall, when birds are starting to migrate south for the winter. Squirrels will use parts of nests from birds for their own nesting.

Squirrel benefits

Squirrels are not just nuisance creatures, they offer people enjoyment and can even help our environment. It is however important to remember that squirrels are wild animals and are unpredictable in their nature and actions. Here are some ways that squirrels can benefit your life: For one, squirrels can be very entertaining to watch and can provide a source of joy to some people. When squirrels dig in the ground in search of food, they are helping to aerate the soil which in turn helps with vegetation that may grow there. Squirrels are natural forms of pest control and will eat the pests in your yard that may be biting you, causing damage or causing stress. Seeing a squirrel nest can make you feel a flurry of different emotions, from intrigued to worried.

Your squirrel nests

With this information, you’ll better understand how squirrel nests are made and what purpose they serve. You might not have noticed them before, but now you will most likely  see them more often. If you have a squirrel nest in your trees, consider yourself lucky that they aren’t nesting inside your home. If squirrels begin to make a home in the soffit of your house, attic, or chimney, call Summit Environmental Solutions, and a professional, licensed technician will provide a free inspection and estimate to evict them right away. Summit will also repair any damages they caused to ensure the squirrels are not able to get back in. Contact us today for more information about our animal removal services such as squirrel removal and repairs.

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