Can Squirrels See in the Dark? {Are Squirrels Active At Night?}

Are you wondering if squirrels have good vision? Can squirrels see in the dark? Sometimes we hear them scurrying and bumping through the backyard at night and think that they can’t see very well.

Which colors do squirrels see well and which are more difficult? Can a squirrel recognize you?

In this article, we will find out the answer to the question, “Can Squirrels See In The Dark?

Can Squirrels See in the Dark?

Squirrels cannot see well in the dark due to poor night vision. If squirrels were active at night, they would leave themselves open to attack. This is why squirrels nest, rest and sleep overnight rather than risking the elements and potential threats in the dark.

Squirrels see very well peripherally and their focal vision is top notch. Squirrels can sense and see possible threats very well during the day, but not so much at night.

Do Squirrels Have Dark Vision?

Squirrels have a dichromatic vision not dark vision. This helps to tell the difference between yellows and blues.

Squirrels have difficulty telling apart green and red hues. This leads researchers to believe that squirrels exhibit tendencies of being color blind.

Can Squirrels See Color?

Yes. Squirrels can see color, but they may have difficulty telling them apart. Dichromatic color vision in squirrels suggests that they can’t tell green and red apart from each other. Most of this research has been gathered by studying gray tree squirrels.

Can Squirrels See Us?

Yes. A squirrel can see you in the light of day and make out your shape somewhat at night. They can sense your presence and hear you as well.

Squirrels have adapted to having excellent focal vision and their peripheral vision is very sharp to be able to notice what is going around them as they remain one of the most vulnerable animals in the wild.

How Good Is the Eyesight of a Squirrel?

The eyesight of a squirrel is considered very good or excellent in the daytime and poor at night.

They can reduce color complexities and see well when telling the difference between blues and yellow, but have difficulty with red and greens.

A squirrel’s eyesight during the day is exemplified by its fantastic peripheral vision.

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How Smart Are Squirrels?

Squirrels use spatial memory to remember where they have hidden nuts. They can remember you and your location if you are a giver of food.

They are smart enough to choose a well hidden and safe location to rest for the night when their vision is poor. Squirrels can memorize routes and find their way back to their shelter within 2 miles.

What Colors Are Squirrels Afraid Of?

Squirrels are noticeably afraid or confused by the color red. Anything that resembles red or crimson gives an overall feeling of doubt in a squirrel who will be more alert.

This is mostly due to the fact that squirrels are color blind when it comes to telling greens and reds apart.

What Does It Mean When a Squirrel Stares at You?

When squirrels stare at you, they are trying to figure out if you‘re a threat. They are waiting to see what you will do or where you will go.

Since they are trying to stay hidden, safe or alive, they will be careful with your movements and actions. More often than not, they will allow you to walk by first or simply keep their distance while looking in your direction.

What Can Cause a Squirrel to Go Blind?

Squirrels that are partially or fully blind have most likely experienced some sort of trauma or injury. They may have fallen off a tree or had a near death experience with a predator. Severe weather conditions can cause squirrels major injuries as well.

Why Are Squirrels Diurnal?

Squirrels are diurnal, meaning that they are active during the day. This is the opposite of being nocturnal. Due to their poor vision at night, squirrels need to remain hidden and rest until daytime where their vision is excellent.

They are quick to react to changes in their environment during the day. Squirrels need to sleep at night the way we do.

Where Do Squirrels Go at Night?

Squirrels retreat to their nests at night to sleep. They can build these nests out of twigs or leaves and ground squirrels can burrow under the soil. Some squirrels go into cavity holes in trees or in your home.

They can reside in your attic or spaces that you do not frequent often like a shed or crawl space. You can purchase or create nests for squirrels to encourage them to stay away from your home, but you must also find these entryways that help them get inside and seal them.

How Far Can a Squirrel See?

Squirrels can see about 30 feet away. They have great peripheral vision, meaning that they barely need to to turn their head to see what is going on around them.

This helps squirrels use their quick reflexes to evade any threats before they have a chance to launch their attack on their prey.

Squirrel Body Language

There are hints and cues that we can take from observing the behavior of squirrels. Other conclusions come from extensive studies. The following are only a few suggested body language responses from squirrels in their environment:

  • Lowered head and pulled back ears: signifies anger
  • Ear pointed forward: intimidation
  • Narrowing of eyes and standing very still: On high alert to pounce or escape
  • High pitched sounds or teeth chattering: trying to scare you off
  • Puffed up tail: acting like an alpha or dominant squirrel
  • Stiff tail or flicking: frustration
  • Flicking tail up and down: warning to keep away or warning others for possible danger
  • Standing on back legs: preparing to attack or looking for a meal

Not all of these body language cues are 100% accurate, but they serve to help us understand these rodents just a little more.


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Jason Barrett

Hello, I'm Jason. I have 11 years of experience in dealing with pests. I try to provide you the best information that'll help you to make the pest control process easy & affordable