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What is causing the scratching in my attic?

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Added on February 20, 2023

What Animal Is Scratching In My Attic? 

If you hear scratching noises in your attic, it's possible that an animal has taken up residence there. Here in Central Florida, the common animals that will live in your attic are Rats, Squirrels, Mice, Raccoons, Opossums and Bats.  There are a few different ways to try to identify what kind of animal is causing the scratching:

  • Listen carefully:  The type of sounds you're hearing are a big clue (lighter scratching may indicate rats, mice or squirrels, whereas heavier sounds are typically caused by raccoons or opossums) but the time of day you're hearing it is the first part to the puzzle.  Opossums, Rats, Mice and Bats are nocturnal, so you'll typically hear them at night, whereas squirrels are diurnal, meaning they're active throughout the day.  Raccoons are typically nocturnal but can be heard throughout daylight hours on occasion - especially if they're nursing babies.  
  • Look for droppings: If there is an animal living in your attic, there is a good chance that you will find droppings in the area.  While squirrel and rat droppings look similar, the amount of droppings you'll see is often your biggest clue.  Rats tend to leave a lot more droppings in your attic than squirrels - again, this is just a small part to the puzzle as an animal that only recently moved into your home won't have time to leave much waste behind.  Opossum and Raccoon waste tends to look similar in size - raccoon droppings often look like it contains berries and is typically in just one spot.  Opossum feces will often be spread across the attic space in multiple areas.  Bats are unique in that their waste (guano) is more fine in it's consistency and has a unique smell.
  • Look for damage: The type of damage you see in your attic can also give you clues about what kind of animal is living there. For example, mice, rats and squirrels may chew on electrical wiring.  The tunnels they leave in your insulation is a big clue - raccoons and opossums make wider paths the size of their bodies, while smaller animals leave paths.  Rats will also burrow in the insulation leaving holes in multiple areas that are almost perfect circles.  
  • Set up a camera or trap: If you're still not sure what kind of animal is living in your attic, you may want to set up a camera.

None of these clues in and of themselves are a sure fire way to determine what your problem is - every clue is a different part to the puzzle and needs to be taken in to consideration when deciding what animal to target.  Our professionals at Dr. Critter have many years experience in diagnosing animal problems.  Visit us on the web at www.drcritter.com or call us today at 800-932-7287 for help!