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Why Have My Squirrels Disappeared? 8 Reasons You Should Know

“Why Have My Squirrels Disappeared?” Are you wondering why the squirrels from your backyard suddenly disappeared? You’re not alone, this is experienced by many other people globally as well, but the reason for the sudden vanishing can vary.

Sometimes they disappear due to getting enough food in a particular area and moving to another location to find their habitat. Other reasons might include overpopulation, reproduction, drought, and more.

Many people have reported squirrel disappearing acts hundreds of times in mass migrations. Let’s discuss this question in detail in this article.

Why Have My Squirrels Disappeared? It's because of winter
A woman feeding her backyard squirrels

Why Have My Squirrels Disappeared? 8 Causes To Make Squirrels Disappear

Numerous reasons are behind the squirrel’s sudden disappearance, but only four are the main causes. These main reasons include reproduction & baby-tending, migration, sudden death, and vanishing due to winters. In this article, we are explaining each major cause behind squirrel disappearance here:

#1 Squirrel Migrations

Squirrels usually migrate at the time of fall to find a better habitat. They don’t go beyond 50 miles often. However, there are some cases seen otherwise. The reasons behind squirrel migration are many, including lack of food, nesting places, drought, and overpopulation in their area. 

How long do squirrels stay in one area? A squirrel tends to stay in the same place and rarely ventures far from its home. In areas with little to no food or where there are a lot of squirrels in one area, squirrels tend to leave home if they are more than 1-2 miles away. If they do leave home, they seldom return.

#2 They’re Busy With Reproduction and Baby-tending in Late Summer

Squirrels get pregnant for 25 to 45 days, which can be another reason for their disappearance.  After giving birth, female squirrels take care of their babies for three months by themselves.

Disappearing due to childbearing can be seen in spring or summer, as they usually mate at that time. It is quite common for squirrels to mate during their first year and two or three times after that within 10 years. 

Wild squirrel caught mating
Wild squirrel caught mating

#3 They Stay In the Nest All Winter

During the winter, squirrels spend most of their time in nests, sleeping for 18-20 hours each day. That is why you usually spot less or no squirrels during winter. 

They may go outside on mild winter days, but otherwise, they remain indoors. Warmth is sought by huddling in close groups. For as long as five or six months, they will also enter a state of hibernation and wake up only to forage for food. 

#4 Worst Thing: Maybe They’re Dead

Squirrels can die for various reasons; most of them die naturally while hiding or in their nests. Trauma, poison, diseases, electric shock, and nature are some common reasons why your squirrel might die.

#5 They’re Getting a Fatal Viral Disease

Animals in the wild, including squirrels, are prone to a wide range of parasites and bacteria that can lead to their death. Toxoplasmosis, tularemia, and Bartonella are common bacteria and parasites found on squirrels. These are all potentially deadly.

A squirrel’s body can be covered in bacteria and parasites. Diseases can also kill squirrels. One of the most common diseases that squirrels can contract is rabies. The squirrel fibroma virus and animal distemper virus are less common diseases that can affect squirrels.

Remember what symptoms your squirrel was showing before disappearing. This will help you to know the actual reason, and you might be able to save your squirrel if lucky enough. 

#6 Someone Is Trapping Them or Poisoning Them.

The poisoning of squirrels is illegal in many states, yet it still happens. As another example, squirrels can accidentally consume toxic substances. For instance, Due to their opportunistic nature and curiosity, squirrels can accidentally consume rat poison, rapidly killing them.

Other pesticides can also poison these animals. You see, if any other animal around is disappearing. If yes, look around thoroughly if you find any traps or poison. It will help you configure the reason behind your squirrel’s disappearance.

In other instances, squirrels will disappear if their nests/habitats were destroyed.

#7 Has Been Eaten by Predators

There are a variety of animals that prey on squirrels, and squirrels are at the bottom of the food chain. Among the predators of squirrels are foxes, hawks, bull snakes, eagles, coyotes, weasels, and rattlesnakes. 

If a lot of squirrels are disappearing in your neighborhood, check for their enemies.

squirrels disappeared because of hibernation
Hibernation is also a reason your backyard squirrels disappeared

#8 Car Encounter

Over 41 million squirrels are killed due to cars, or other vehicle encounters every year in the United States. While crossing fields or roads in search of food or looking for a place to hide, squirrels get hit by cars often.


Do squirrels find their way back home?

Yes, squirrels can find their way back home, if their home is within 15 miles. Squirrels are capable of traveling up to two miles from their nest or home.

You can expect a squirrel to surf and manage well within your yard, your neighbor’s yard, and even your nearest park if they have a nest within your yard. The male squirrel travels far more and has a larger territory. 

What sounds do a squirrel make when hurt?

Squirrels make a crying noise when they’re in distress. The squirrels make an alarm sound when they spot a predator. In addition, injured squirrels may make a crying sound. Whenever a squirrel is injured, it will cry. 

Where do squirrels sleep when it rains?

When it rains, squirrels take shelter in a tree or drey to keep dry. During windy storms, they usually move to a hollow tree to prevent being knocked from their nest and possibly being injured. However, there are always alternatives to a hollow tree.


Occasionally, squirrels migrate from one area to another for reasons like drought or food shortage in response to overpopulation. The migration of thousands of squirrels out of a particular area has been reported in some cases.

With all the reasons stated above, you should now have a clear idea of where your squirrel went. Luckily, you keep an eye on and look for clues like squirrel traps, enemies, and disease symptoms to save your squirrel. 

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