Squirrel winter rest

Eichhörnchen Winterruhe

Squirrel winter rest

In their natural habitat, squirrels hibernate, not hibernate as is often assumed. The hibernation is interrupted every day for about one to two hours. During this time, the animals occupy themselves with feeding. The omnivores have created various depots with nuts and seeds for this purpose in the fall.

When do squirrels hibernate?

During squirrel hibernation, the otherwise active creature retreats significantly. The small rodents can not shut down their bodies to the point of hibernation in the process.

As soon as the temperatures become frosty, this is usually from November, the hibernation of the animals begins. This usually lasts until the temperatures rise again permanently. This is usually the case in January or February. If it comes again to colder days, the rodents retreat again.

Where does the hibernation take place?

In the period of hibernation squirrels stay in their warm and waterproof hutch. They leave this for about 1-2 hours per day to organize food. To ensure that they have enough food during their hibernation, they have been busy gathering throughout the year. They have their treasures safely buried in the ground or hidden in tree crevices.

If there is unfavorable weather, such as a strong storm, then the small animals sometimes do not leave their goblet for days.

Activity during hibernation

The nimble rodents are active every day during hibernation. Thanks to a change of fur squirrels survive the cold months very well. The fur of the animals is denser and also darker in winter. Air pockets form between the bristly outer hairs and the soft woolly hairs, which protect the small body from the cold. In addition, the animals eat a kind of fat layer in the fall. This helps them better survive the winter, when food supplies become scarce. Incidentally, you can also use their tail as a kind of blanket.

Feed squirrels

Rodents find a very diverse food supply in their natural habitat. However, it can also not hurt if you provide them with additional food.

If the winter is extremely long or if the summer was very hot and dry, the animals were not able to build up sufficient stocks. In cities, too, the food supply is usually limited. For this reason, many squirrels depend on additional food during their hibernation. The following is suitable for feeding:

  • Walnuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Almonds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Dried corn
  • a bowl of water

How do squirrels find their food during hibernation?

They rely on their excellent sense of smell. The sense of smell also allows them to find food under a blanket of snow. If you think that their sense of direction helps them, you are sadly mistaken.

Can squirrel find all hiding places again?

Not at all, some of the hiding places remain undiscovered. In the spring, the buried seeds begin to germinate. New trees then grow from them. This is one reason why squirrels contribute to the spread of the tree population.

How long does the squirrels' hibernation last?

Squirrels need a cold period of 0.5 - 5 degrees for hibernation. On average, hibernation then lasts between 3 and 5 weeks. The more the temperatures deviate from the above values, the more the period changes upwards or downwards.

Winter rest is important for the animals, because during this time the inhibitors abscinsic acid are broken down.

You find an injured squirrel - what to do?

It is not uncommon during hibernation to find what you think is an injured squirrel. First observe the animal closely to see if it really needs help.

If it is no longer able to help itself, you can carefully pick it up with a cloth and place it in a box. Then contact the squirrel emergency, a wildlife center or the veterinarian. They will tell you what to do.


Garden animal
Garden animal - A life with nature

Welcome to my animal blog! My name is Dirk and I am happy to take you on my journey through the fascinating world of animals and gardening.

Born 54 years ago, I have had an insatiable curiosity for the animal world around me since childhood. Although I have moved professionally in other industries, my true passion has always been animals and nature. It is remarkable how a small garden has become such an important part of my life.

Many of my fondest memories are associated with the animals that share our home. Whether it's the curious squirrels that scurry across the trees in the morning, the colorful variety of birds that visit our feeders, or the busy bees and butterflies that pollinate our flowers, every moment with them is invaluable to me.

This blog is my contribution to share my experiences, discoveries and insights with like-minded people. Here I will share stories of unforgettable encounters with animals, give tips on gardening and creating wildlife-friendly habitats, and take you on my journeys through nature.

Thank you so much for being here!

Dirk aka garden animal
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