WHAT is in my ATTIC???

Maybe it’s time to get the Christmas decorations down, or the summer pool things. Or perhaps you have just heard noises in your attic. Either way, all of a sudden you are wondering, “What IS in my attic?” Generally speaking, one can expect to see spiders and a variety of insects. But what if there are large droppings and chewed wires? What if it sounds as though elephants are playing tag up there? Your powers of observation, using all of your senses (except perhaps taste) is going to come in handy in helping you figure out what animals may be in the attic, and thus guide your path toward removing them.

Reading the Clues

Seeing an animal is a real tip-off, but that remains an unlikely method of finding out what may be in the attic. On the other hand, seeing the damage left behind can help you somewhat. If there is a large, torn-out section of soffit, it is surely raccoons. If you find a moderate-sized hole with chewing or gnawing around it, that is most likely squirrels. But if there is a tiny hole, you may be dealing with mice, rats, snakes, or bats. If you see trails through the insulation, that could be raccoons, opossums, or rats. If there are brown, greasy smudges along the pathway or trail, that is rats. The droppings are a big clue toward finding out what you may be dealing with. If they look like brown grains of rice, depending upon the size, they will be mice or rats. If feces are more like pellets, that will be squirrels, and if it gives off a pungent odor, bats. Snakes leave linear, wrapped-looking feces, usually along a wall or board. And raccoons leave large piles of large feces, usually with seeds in them. You can also try to identify the footprints, though this is much more difficult, as they look very similar to all but an expert.

Hearing noises may also guide your way in finding out what you have living in the attic. Small, furtive scratching noises, usually within the walls or ceilings are generally mice. You can also listen for what time(s) of day the noises are occurring. Squirrels are active throughout the day, scampering around and rolling nuts or acorns, while most other animals prefer nighttime, when it is dark and safer for them to wander. Raccoons often will chitter-chatter and make other vocal noises, while sounding like a larger animal moving through the space. Opossums and skunks will sometimes squeak and mutter, but sound like large and lumbering animals moving around. Bats and mice also squeak, but quieter. Fluttering could be either birds or bats.

Smelling a very pungent odor usually leads to finding bats nesting in the attic. Their urine and feces are so pungent, even the professionals will need to wear masks. There is a real danger from breathing the fumes, or aerosolized, feces of many animals, so it is best that anyone venturing after animals in the attic wear at least a mask. Of course, if you smell a skunk, you will KNOW what that is!

Removing the animals

Generally speaking, it is much safer to call in an expert or professional at animal control or pest removal. There are several methods one can use to eradicate the animals as a do-it-yourself project. But skunks, for instance, are best left to the professionals.

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WHAT is in my ATTIC???

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