Creature Control

“I hear something in my attic!”



“I hear something in my attic. I think there is an animals living up there.” This is a common call we get here at Creature Control. It is not difficult to tell you have an animal in the home, but it can be difficult to identify what sort of animal it is. The following noise identification chart will help you identify your pest!

Do you hear it at night or during the day?

If during the day, then it is almost certainly a squirrel. Squirrels are the only animals that get into attics that are typically active during the day. although birds can do so as well. The one exception is the nocturnal flying squirrel. If you hear it at night primarily, it is either mice, raccoons, bats or (in some cases) a flying squirrel.

If during the day, do you hear running around and “rolling” sounds?

Squirrels will often be heard “rolling” nuts or other debris around in the attic during the day. Their movement is also very fast.

If not, do you hear flapping or rustling?

Flapping or rustling is the most common signs of a bird. Getting a bird infestation in the attic is not very common, but it certainly does happen.

If you hear it at night, is it every single night, or only intermittently?

If every single night, then you are most likely dealing with a flying squirrel. If only every couple of nights, most likely mice, coons or bats.

If you only hear it intermittently, is it very loud or very soft?

Bats, mice and raccoons will all make noise in an attic, and all of them can scratch, but the scratching of bats it typically very soft. It sounds almost like someone’s fingers rubbing on the other side of the wall. Mice and raccoons, on the other hand, are typically louder.

If it is loud, can you hear any thumping or banging?

Thumps and bangs almost always signify a raccoon. Raccoons are very heavy, and when they move around in the attic, the sound is impossible to ignore; they sound thumping and clumsy and are the only animal that will knock or thump.

Can you hear distinctive footsteps?

This is an important point; if you can hear specific, single footsteps, you are probably dealing with a raccoon. If you cannot hear footsteps but only an indistinct scurrying, then it is most likely mice.

Is it scratching?

Mice will scratch very loudly and sharply on the other side of drywall; it can sound much louder than you would expect a mouse to be, especially if they are right up against the drywall with no insulation. Raccoons may scratch too, but as stated above, it will be accompanied by banging usually. As mentioned above, bats will scratch as well, though their scratching is softer and more indistinct.

Is there squeaking or chirping?

You will typically never hear the squeaking of mice. Birds, of course, may chirp, but birds are also primarily active in the daytime. Baby raccoons will chirp, but baby raccoons are typically born in April or May, so if you hear this chirping much earlier or later than that, it is probably not coons. Bats may occasional squeak.

Are bats active in the winter?

Bats typically go dormant in the winter, but if the temperature warms up a few days here and there, they may move and shuffle around. Occasionally a bat, while looking for a place to go dormant, will find its way into a space and end up in your living area. We call these “stray bats”, bats that ought to have gone dormant but accidentally got into the living space.

Even with the help of this identification guide, you still may be uncertain. It is a very subjective thing to determine whether what you are hearing is scurrying, scratching or footsteps, and many people will sleep through the noise altogether. Also note that, if an animal such as a raccoon, mouse or squirrel actually becomes trapped in the attic, it may make a whole range of sounds and demonstrate behaviors out of keeping with the types and times normally associated with that animal.

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