Fall is here, and as the weather becomes colder, more animals looking for shelter. One place many animals go for is the attic. While most people use attics for storage, an unoccupied, dry attic is a great place for animals to live because they can be safe from the wind and weather. Different animals may go to the attics of homes for different reasons and may create many different consequences to your home.
The most common tenant of your attic is usually squirrels. This rodent will chew through the wood, and wires, in the attic and will create damage and fire hazards in your home. Most often, the little invader will be a mother looking to give birth and raise young safely. As squirrels are creatures of habit, once they set up there, they will try and come back the next year. Squirrels are the most active in the morning and right before sunset, so you might hear scurrying at those times of the day. they can fit in small holes, but they may chew on them to make them bigger. They will most likely stay close to the hole when inside the attic. Because they are expert climbers the holes will tend to be on the same level as the attic. The little rodents will leave many droppings, which look like pieces of brown rice, all over the attic. They may chew through insulation and leave trails in it. Nesting debris such as twigs and leaves may be in the attic.
Raccoons are very strong climbers and very sneaky. Adult raccoons can weigh anywhere from 25 to 40 pounds and can cause massive damage to the home. They will usually camp out there for warmth and a safe place to give birth. When they walk around in the home it will sound more like loud thumping, instead of the light scampering made by some of the other animal intruders. The entry points of raccoons can be easily identified because they are usually very large. They can take advantage of bad screenings, or can make smaller cracks big enough for them to slip in. They may even damage the roofing of your home in order to gain access. They will tear large trails through insulation, destroy ducts, and can leave droppings like that of a small dog, only they may contain berries. The younger raccoons will make more noise than the adults will.
Rats and mice can be a big problem. They scurry a lot, breed often, chew through everything, and can move throughout the whole house. Rats and mice will work their way in from any possible entry and can fit through very small holes. Their droppings are very similar to squirrels. They can make a lot of noise in large groups.
Bats can fit into holes that are around? inch wide to gain access into a home. Smaller groups of bats might not be noticed, but larger groups can make a huge amount of noise. Guano (bat droppings), can accumulate in large quantities and can cause lung cancer to the humans living in the house below.
Opossums are smelly, quiet creatures that can easily gain entry because they are good climbers and have opposable thumbs. They frequently defecate, and the young stay very close to the mother. They generally don’t force their way in, but they do need a big opening to enter. They will use open eave gaps or uncovered soffit vents to enter.
Snakes that go in attics usually are the type that eats rodents and climbs. These types are not generally poisonous. The rat-eating snakes can fit in any hole a rat can, and will usually follow the scent of a rat colony to the home. Shed skins are a pretty obvious sign that there are snakes. The best way of dealing with a snake problem is to first get rid of the rodents (if there are any)
For your safety, as well as the safety of the animals, do not attempt to remove any pests yourself.