Attics are ideal and awesome places for animals to seek refuge and build their homes. Because attics are so rarely visited, so full of clutter and warm in the winter, animals love them. Having animals in the attic is not just a matter of hearing odd scratching sounds from your ceiling and the fear of running into something that could jump on you or bite you when you venture into the attic.
Animals are carriers of all kinds of diseases and their existence in the attic and droppings are major causes of infections. And when they gnaw though wires, the resulting short circuits can lead to fires. And termites in the woodwork can not only cause a lot of damage, they can even weaken the structure of the house. Given below are 10 of the most common of animal invaders you are likely to find in your attic and some ideas of how to get rid of them. If you would prefer to have the problem handled professionally, you will find information on pest and animal control experts in your area via a poignant, but basic, online search.
These are the most common of attic animals. These furry little creatures may be cute, but they are rodents and can cause the same types of damage that rats and mice do. A hole of 1½ inches in diameter is enough to allow a squirrel entry. Droppings that look like fat brown grains of rice and nests made of paper, leaves, and twigs are signs of squirrel infestation. The best way to eliminate these critters is by trapping them and releasing them outdoors. Or you could fix a one-way exclusion door that allows them to leave but not to re-enter. And make sure you plug any holes that are an invitation for them to return.
These are another type of common attic animals. Raccoons are expert climbers and rip open shingles and screens to obtain entry. The can also squeeze through gaps in the eaves. They are large animals and leave large paths full of debris behind them. Their droppings are also large and are about the size of a cat or small dog. If you see ducts or insulation ripped apart, that’s another sign of raccoons in the attic. Like squirrels, the best way of removing them is by trapping and release in the open. Again, make sure that all means of entry are securely sealed so that they can’t use their powerful jaws and paws to break in again.
Unlike other rodents, rats are not happy in the wild. They are commensal rodents which means they like to live near human habitation which is why they are mainly found in cities and not the country. These animals can climb just about anything and crawl through holes so small you wouldn’t think it was possible for anything to get through. They can enter through any part of the house and nest anywhere, but the attic is a favorite place for them. They leave thousands of droppings in a very short time which look a lot like those of squirrels. They also leave tunnels through accumulated clutter and insulation and commonly used rat passages are often stained brown from the greasy coating of their fur. To get rid of rats, seal off every possible entry point they could use, anywhere in the house, and then set rat traps and keep using them until you are sure none are left. Poison is not only dangerous to use, having dead and decaying rats in the house is not pleasant.
Climbing snakes have no difficulty in climbing up the side of a house to make a home in the attic. They are silent guests and the easiest way to know that they are there is by the skins they shed. Getting rid of them is usually best left to the experts. Getting rid of the rats that attract them and making sure all the entry points are sealed will prevent re-entry.
Because they need a large opening to get in, opossums are not that common, but if there are opening large enough for them such as open ducts or vents, they will be happy to make a home in your attic. You will know they are there because of the large size of their droppings and the way they smell. Trapping them is not hard because they are slow moving and it is the only way to get rid of them.
Bats can squeeze through opening as small as ½ an inch and usually enter through gaps near the edge of the roofline. They are usually silent visitors and the best way to know if they are in your attic is by seeing them flying in and out. Another sign is the smelly droppings which collect in specific places and soon accumulate into large piles. The best way to remove bats is by sealing all points of entry and then using one-way exclusion doors that allow them to fly out but not back in.
Hedgehogs like attics but they need large opening to get in. Once they are there, the large dropping and quills littering the floor are indication of their presence. Trapping them is the best way to get them out of the house
Lots of distinctive bird droppings, tons of feathers and nests are indications of birds in the attic. They usually enter through architectural gaps and open windows. The only way to get rid of them is by using exclusion devices or by opening the windows and using a broom to chase them away.
Because of the clutter and amount of wood and other food that is available for them, termites love attics. You will know that they are there because of the powdery wood residue that is left wherever they feed. Termites can spread all over the house and cause massive damage. And if you have watched the outstanding show called House, you know they can spread disease as well. Do not try and get rid of them yourself; it is next to impossible without specialized chemicals and equipment. Call in a pest control expert.
Cockroaches are among the hardiest of all creatures and can enter a home through seemingly impossible gaps or through drains. They love attics because they can breed undisturbed there. The best way to get rid of them is to use anti-cockroach spray where ever in the attic you think they may be nesting. Repeat the treatment 3 or 4 times until they are vanquished.
Animals in the attic, or any part of the home, should be evicted or killed as soon as possible. It may appear to be cruel to trap and turn a cute squirrel or raccoon out into the cold winter, but allowing them to remain in your home puts both your health and the safety of your home at risk.