Squirrels do not hibernate in winter, but they do not like bitter cold weather, so they will stay hunkered down in their den or drey when it is really cold, opting to stay warm with their friends rather than venture out. When there is a break in the weather, they will venture out to retrieve some of the three years worth of food they squirreled away during the Summer and Fall. ( Yes, it is estimated that a squirrel will find and bury 3 years worth of food every Summer and Fall!) They are the ultimate survivalists!
When I say that they stay hunkered down with their friends during bitter cold weather, that's exactly what I mean. This is the main way squirrels stay warm in Winter, and how they manage to survive during the coldest of Winters. It is a characteristic they learned when they were babies. If you have ever raised more than one baby squirrel, you know that they sleep in a ball of bodies and keep each other warm. This communal sleeping arrangement carries over into adulthood, especially when it is bitter cold. Even though squirrels can be territorial, this rule is dropped when the weather turns bad. My suspicion is that it is divided upon sex lines, IE., females group together and males group together, because it has been my observation that females will not tolerate males at any time except mating season. I made a video titled," How Squirrels Stay Warm In Winter," that shows this communal sleeping arrangement exhibited by a pair of females I released a few years ago, along with some other facts about how they stay warm in winter. I made a hyperlink of the title for any that would be interested to view it!
Even during warm weather, squirrels are most active in the early morning and late afternoon. This behavior is seen even in captive squirrels. During the day they will often lay very still in a cool shady spot and nap. This characteristic has been termed "splatting," in that they often will spread out their legs and feet and appear to have landed "splat" in that position. My resident blind squirrel, Lucky, pictured above, will often nap and sleep 18 to 20 hours per day. She's up bright and early in the morning for a couple hours, and then a couple hours in the evening. So, even in captivity, they continue this instinctive ritual!