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How Do You Tell If There Are Animals in Your Attic?

March 15, 2023   |   Wildlife

Many of us have had that moment, when suddenly we hear a little scurrying sound coming from our ceiling and wonder what could be making it—only a moment later to realize a critter’s moved into the attic!

If you find yourself looking up at your ceiling with dread, you’ll likely become interested in wildlife removal very quickly. But how will you know for sure if it’s time to do a quick search for “critter removal from attic”? When can you roll over and go back to sleep in peace? Keep reading to find out!

What Is In My Attic that Scratches?

If you’re hearing an animal in your attic, it’s mostly likely to be one of the common attic pests: squirrels, mice, rats, bats, raccoons, or opossums. Depending on where you live, snakes and lizards are also common, but they tend to be quieter house guests.

One of the first things that makes people think they might have an uninvited animal in their home is sound. There are a surprising variety of animals in attic sounds you might hear, depending on what’s up there. Some commonly reported noises include:

  • Knocking sound in attic at night
  • Sounds like someone walking in my attic
  • Scratching noise in ceiling at night
  • Chewing noises in attic in early morning

What Are Other Signs There Are Animals in Your Attic?

Although hearing an animal is often your first clue that something has moved in, there are other clues you might notice too. 

These include:

  • Seeing their droppings
  • Noticing the damage they caused
  • Seeing the animal itself
  • Smelling the creature
  • Observing other evidence

Let’s look at some of these in a little more detail.


bat handing upside-down in a treeDepending on how much time you spend in your attic, you may start to see animal droppings as evidence of your unintentional new visitors. Mice, rat, and squirrel feces are all fairly similar and will look like brown grains of rice in various sizes. Bat guano can also look very similar, but crushes easily under pressure and often looks sparkly in the light (due to all the insect parts). Raccoon and opossum poop is much larger and harder to miss, looking more like dog poop.

If you suspect an animal might be living in your attic, looking for droppings can help confirm your suspicions or identify what type of animal you have.


Critters in the attic can cause a lot of damage. You may need to go into the attic and look for some of it, like scratching and chewing on wood. Other damage will be immediate cause for concern, like chewing on wire or ripping out pipes. In general, the larger the animal is, the more damage they cause, although rats can be surprisingly destructive for their size.

Here is some of the most common damage done by creatures in the attic:

  • Damaged wires by animal chewing or scratching. This can be the most dangerous problem, due to the fire hazard.
  • Insulation removal for making nests or moving for access.
  • Chewed wood by rodents especially who need to chew constantly to keep their teeth worn down to a manageable length.
  • Grease stains from bats and rodents. Oil on their fur often leaves dark stains in areas where they frequently travel. These are also commonly referred to as “rub marks.”
  • Wall and ceiling holes can be made by raccoons in particular, whose larger body size and strong claws can rip through many building materials.
  • Ripped ventilation ducts by chewing or scratching will mean that hot or cold air is no longer circulated through the house correctly. 
  • Rot and mold caused by feces and urine piles.
  • Stored item damage when an animal chews or scratches anything that is being kept in the attic space.

Other Evidence

There can be other tell tale (or tell tail) signs of critters living in the attic. They may not be as big a problem as the animal droppings or damage, but can still clue you in to the bigger problem. 

Snakeskin might be your clue that a snake is up there. Snakes are quiet and don’t normally cause visible damage. If you’re suspicious that you have an animal in the attic but you can’t find anything else, keep your eye out for the shed skin. While having a snake in your attic might sound highly surprising at first, roof pipes and plumbing vents are actually very common entry points for snakes (among other wildlife) into attics. 

Nests built by the animals living in an attic will be another giveaway. Sometimes the animals cause damage to build their nests, like ripping out insulation. But other times an animal may bring in nesting materials from outside—like squirrels nesting with twigs and leaves from outside.

How to Get Rid of Animals in the Attic?

Call Turner Pest Control! If you’re in Florida and worried about an animal in your attic, Turner Pest Control is here to help you protect your family and your home. We know wildlife can cause major problems when they get inside the house, causing damage and spreading disease. We have decades of experience providing pest control services and take a no-nonsense approach to animal removal and exclusion services to get them out and keep them out.

We offer:

  • Free quotes with no obligation
  • Flexible solutions, since no two wildlife removal issues are alike
  • An expert team that know how to safely get animals out of your home
  • Personalized plans tailor made for your home 
Ready to take back control over your space?

Call us today at (800)225-5305 or contact us for all your pest needs.

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