What do squirrels do during winter?

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Ground squirrels (like chipmunks and prairie dogs) live in ground burrows, and many become dormant in winter (hibernate). Tree squirrels genera contains most of the common, bushy-tailed squirrels in North America, Europe, Asia, and South America, which prefer the heights of the trees, as opposed to ground squirrels, and spend little time on the ground. Tree squirrels do not hibernate during the winter months, but they keep all activities to a minimum to conserve energy. Hence, they often seem to almost completely disappear during the winter months. Winter tree nests (called dreys) are often shared for warmth where tree squirrels keep warm by snuggling with their family members. When they sleep, they use their big fairy tails to cover themselves to keep as warm as possible. A squirrel will come out now and then to search out for hidden stores of food. These stores of nuts and other items (like pine cones in the case of the red squirrel) are buried by a squirrel in the ground in late ... more
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