Scratching noise in the attic? Animals or mice

Scratching noise in your attic?  These types of calls come into our office every single day.  The vast majority, depending on the time of year turns out to be a mouse.  However, could it be something larger?

Raccoon in the attic

The loudest noise you’ll hear coming from an animal in an attic is from female raccoons.  It’s not unusual to have a female set up shop in the attic and have a litter of cubs.  These calls routinely happen for us in the April/May time frame.   The hardest part about attic raccoon removal at that time of the year is retrieving the young.  Female raccoons are very adept at hiding them in walls, under insulation and in areas not accessible for inspection.  As a company we can end a raccoon problem, but not at the expense of catching the mother and then abandoning the young.  For that reason sometimes if the young are unable to be found it’s better to wait a period time for the young to be mobile or to harass the mother into vacating the young on her own.

If the raccoon must be removed and there are no other options there are several methods of removal.’

  1. Live catch traps
  2. Snare traps

In Connecticut, where our company is located there are several methods of what happens after capture.  Either the animal is humanely euthanized or released on site.  If we release on site there is a high probability the animal is going to reenter.  We’ve had many homeowners ask us to take animals to the woods and let them go.  Unfortunately, that is not the law.  There only 2 outcomes.

Are squirrels making the scratching noise in the attic?

Before I wrote this post I asked our office staff what the most popular animal call is.  All the ladies unanimously agreed that it’s either flying squirrels or grey squirrels.  If I had to say

One way door allows for animals to exit unharmed

which is worse to deal with I’d say its the flying squirrel. My reasoning behind this is that flying squirrels can get into very small holes.  Common entrance areas include dormers, overhangs, soffits and gable vents.  Finding the exact area can be troublesome.

On the other hand the grey squirrel is also an attic dweller.  The difference is that grey squirrels being a bit larger typically chew their way into areas.  More often than not these areas are readily visible.

So how do we know which squirrel we’re dealing with and how do we get rid of them?

You may be surprised to hear this, but most often during inspections we don’t see the actual pest.  What we do see is the droppings and flying squirrel droppings and grey squirrel droppings look nothing alike.

As for how we get squirrels out of your home, that can be complicated.  In general there are several ways to accomplish this.

  1. One way doors that allow animals to escape unharmed (not always practical)
  2. Live traps outside or inside which are checked every 24 hours
  3. Kill traps in gutters for grey squirrels or smooth wire kill traps inside for flyers

Each method of capture comes with different reasons why and are always sight dependent.  What works in one home may not work in another.

**** Remember Squirrels should never be poisoned purposely with rat or mouse poison****

How to keep animals out of your attic

After animals have been evicted from your attic an effort needs to be made to keep them out.  It can be difficult to keep flying squirrels out over the long term because in heavily wooded areas they can be plentiful.  In contrast grey squirrels and raccoons can be a bit easier.  The reason is that flying squirrels have the ability to glide from tree tops 150′ away (not really flying it’s more of a controlled crash).  Once on the roof there are numerous areas for them to gain entrance and roofs depending on pitch and height are not all readily accessible.

Last, there are a variety of materials that can be used to seal rodents out, but one of the best is hardware wire.  Hardware wire or cloth as some people call is made of stainless steel, it resists rusting, it’s easy to cut and can be bent to almost any shape.  Most experienced nuisance wildlife operators know which method and materials will work best.

Nuisance animal issues can be dangerous, they can have rabies and do serious damage to physical property.  Many times this damage is done with their urine and feces.  Envirocare Pest Control provides animal removal services as well as insulation removal and cleaning.

If you have a scratching noise in the attic we’d like to help,  you can call 1-888-879-6481.