Do Squirrels Come Out in the Rain?


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Squirrels can seem to be quite picky little creatures. Most of us commonly see them out on bright days or even when there’s cloud cover – but what about seriously bad weather? Do squirrels come out in the rain?

Squirrels normally avoid going out in the rain for the simple fact that they prefer safe, warm refuge. If you have ever seen a squirrel out in the rain, then the chances are that it was caught out, or was desperate for food!

Where do squirrels go when it rains? 

Although we all tend to think of squirrels as purely tree-dwelling animals, they usually do not opt for higher hiding spots when it rains. Instead, they will stick closer to the ground, sometimes in tree stumps. They also make nests in leaves, too – but hollows tend to be their favorite ports in a storm. Squirrel nesting behavior is truly fascinating!

This is actually a conscious and very intelligent decision! Squirrels will avoid tall trees in any kind of storm as they are at risk of getting damaged or even falling down depending on the weather’s ferocity. Therefore, as a means of protecting themselves, they will instead find shelter closer to the ground. It’s an amazing little bit of evolution.

Squirrels also often have two or three nests, so whichever one is closest to them when the rain begins is the one in which they will seek shelter. However, if they have their young sheltering in a different nest, then they will wait for the harsh rain to pass before quickly returning to their children.

How do squirrels eat when it rains? 

As we all know, rain can come in a quick shower, or last for days, even weeks on end. Therefore, the plucky squirrel needs to have a plan of action in place to ensure they stay well-fed when the weather turns lousy.

As you may know, squirrels often keep food under shelter as they make collections for the winter. Squirrels do not actively hibernate – however, they do remain in one spot filled with food until the winter months have passed. If they happen to be caught out in long bouts of rain, then the squirrels will simply feed on their food reserves. 

Remember, squirrels eat bird eggs, acorns, nuts, and more – they are not as picky as it might seem when it comes to sustenance. Therefore, they’re always likely to have impressive hauls set up for rainy weather.

That being said, rain does not always appear at the most convenient of times, and there’s a chance that an average squirrel may be left without any kind of reserve. For example, what happens in the middle of a summer downpour?

This is when the squirrel decides that it simply has no other option and it has to go out in the wet weather to forage. Therefore, this is when you’re most likely to see squirrels roaming around in the rain – it happens when they have absolutely no other choice.

Squirrels are not necessarily afraid of rain – they, like a lot of us, simply prefer to be dry and warm. However, squirrels will brave the elements when the situation demands it, and they need to get food for their family. In fact, many of them use their bushy tails to provide shelter from the deluge while they scavenge. However, squirrels without tails simply have to scamper in and out of the rain as quickly as possible.

However, in very harsh storms or hurricane grade weather, food can be scarce for squirrels as it can easily be blown away or crushed. In these cases, squirrels have to make do with what is around them – but can starve if there is nothing salvageable. 

Do squirrels run around in the rain?

As much as squirrels show some odd behavior (such as adopting rudimentary camouflage mistaken for ‘playing dead’), running around in wet weather for the sake of entertainment isn’t on their agenda. If you see a squirrel scampering around in the deluge, it’s going to be because their food supplies are low or hurrying back to a nest.

It’s all the more reason to consider setting up feeders for your local squirrels. In fact, setting up a feeding station will not only help local squirrel populations stay well-fed in the event of bad weather, but it will also likely attract squirrels to your garden time and again. If squirrels know they can trust your yard as a regular source for food, they will scamper back to you for their rainy day supplies.

About The Author
Robert has been an avid birdwatcher pretty much his entire life. Living in the suburbs he does his best to bring wild birds into his backyard. He currently has 13+ bird feeders in his yard and also raises and races homing pigeons. Robert writes part-time for Wild Yards, mostly about the subject he cares most about - birds.


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