Dave Stipe

 Tags: Home Inspection

Do squirrels run around at night? They certainly do not. If you’ve been hearing strange noises in your home during the night, you can rule out this animal. Unfortunately, it’s definitely a different species keeping you up at night. Keep reading and learn why squirrels are not the culprit and how to determine what animals you are dealing with. There are only a few common urban pests that are nocturnal, therefore through a simple elimination process we should be able to figure out what we are up against. 

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Night Sleepers

wildlife technician feeding squirrelUnlike other critters susceptible to home invasion, squirrels are not nocturnal creatures. Actually, they keep very similar hours to humans. You are most likely to notice them at dawn or at dusk. Those are the times they typically come and go. These diurnal critters aren’t likely to cause a mess while it’s dark. They spend all day doing things, such as running around looking for nuts and scampering up and down trees. Nighttime is for catching up on sleep, and they can be found underground, bunkered down in a burrow, or up high, nestled in a tree. 

Scratching is a common noise associated with squirrels and you’re likely to hear it on materials ranging from a home’s wooden beams to trees on the property. But expect to hear this sound during the day. Squirrels are quiet at night because they’re sleeping—just like humans. Homeowners who suspect they have squirrels in the home are more likely to hear them in the early morning when squirrels wake up, ready to begin their new day and forage for food. 

Squirrels conclude their daily activities by retreating to nests. They work hard and play harder under sunny skies. Their day is busy and is spent digging away, either looking for food or burying it. 

Do squirrels run around at night? Not a chance. The only exception to this species is the flying squirrel. Other than that, these creatures are attracted to warmth and light, likely to be found during the day.


Hibernating Critters?

Contrary to popular belief, squirrels do not hibernate during the winter months. However, they do reduce their activity levels drastically, further reducing the chance of hearing them at nighttime running around your home. Squirrels actually cannot physically hibernate due to the fact they cannot put on enough fat to sustain them through the long, cold winter season. Instead, they reduce their activity levels dramatically, instead opting to spend as much time as possible in the warmth of their dens.

They retreat to their dens for a long period of time. Their body temperature lowers to a few degrees higher than the outside temperature, followed by reduced breathing and heart rate as they slow down for a long, restful sleep. They’ll awake each week for a period of 12 to 20 hours. So, if it during winter months that you are hearing noises in your walls or attic at night, you can safely rule out squirrels.

The cozy den is their haven for shuteye, spruced up with moss, leaves, and grasses as needed (or anything lying around your walls or attic such as insulation). Both types of squirrels commonly found in Ontario (grey and red squirrel) build dens for the cold season and will remain partially active during the winter months. But because of the reduced activity level, you are far less likely to hear them at all, day or night during the winter.

It’s Something Else

mouse on a ropeSquirrels are technically crepuscular mammals, meaning they’re most active during the early morning and evening. Hearing these noises at this time of the day is a better indication that there’s a squirrel in the home.

Now that squirrels are off the list, it’s time to determine what animal is running around at night, whether it’s inside or outside the home. Listen carefully to the sound and type of noise the animal makes, looking for verbal cues to further narrow down the critter. Raccoons growl, baby animals cry, and mice squeak.

Raccoons, bats, and mice are likely options homeowners can expect to hear during the night. These nocturnal creatures are active when it’s dark. Whether it’s scurrying up walls or a heavy thump upstairs, if you’re hearing this in the dark, it’s certainly not a squirrel. They’re too busy retreating to their nest and resting for the next day’s activities.

When asking yourself, do squirrels run around at night, it’s easy to remember that they don’t because these day time creatures are definitely in bed, probably similar to yourself. If you’re hearing something running around the home at night, consider wildlife removal services. It could be a sign of wildlife living in the home, and homeowners should handle this problem quickly before it gets worse.

If you do notice activity during the morning or evening hours, specifically a scratching or gnawing sound, you most likely are harbouring a family of squirrels. If so, do not attempt squirrel removal on your own, contact a local wildlife professional. 



Dave Stipe

Dave is an All Wildlife Removal Inc. technician who has an Honours degree in Sociology from Bishops University, and a teaching degree from Charles Sturt University. Dave played football for 21 years, including a stint in the CFL with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He is also a big Blue Jays fan and an Olympic Ping Pong hopeful.