The Red Squirrel has a long bushy tail to help it balance and steer when it leaps from branch to branch. The tail also keeps the Red Squirrel warm when it rests and sleeps.
Red Squirrels prefer to sleep high up in trees where they usually build their nests. The nests are called ‘dreys’. Dreys are often built in the forks of tree trunks. The Red Squirrel uses twigs and sticks to make a dome-shaped drey. The drey is then lined with moss, leaves, grass and bark to provide warm shelter for the Red Squirrel. A well-made drey may last up to three years.
It is common for a Red Squirrel to keep previously built dreys in good condition so they can be used in case of emergencies. Sometimes nests may get waterlogged or destroyed. A nest may even get infested with too many fleas or mites so the Red Squirrel is forced to move out to another nest until the parasites have died out.
Red Squirrels sometimes make their homes in tree hollows. These homes are called ‘dens’. Dens may be natural holes or holes made by woodpeckers. The dens are lined with soft leaves, grass and moss. Dens make very safe homes for Red Squirrels because the dens can’t be easily seen. Sometimes Red Squirrels share a drey or den with other Red Squirrels to keep warm.