Today a client called. She’s hearing a scrabbling sound coming from the attic. Is the culprit a rat?

Great question, without an inspection of the attic we really can’t tell, but a little sleuthing can help other homeowners in a similar situation narrow the list of suspects.

  • Do you hear gnawing or scratching sounds at night? If yes, then the culprit may be a rat or mouse.
  • Do you only hear scratching or thumping coming from the attic during the day? If so,…
  • Are you certain the sound is coming from inside the house? Please know that the sound of a squirrel bounding on your roof echoes and may sound like a much larger beast. Get two squirrels chasing each other on the roof and you may think you have a small herd in the attic.
  • If you are certain that the sound is coming from within, then you may have a critter in the attic. Unless it’s a rat or mouse, you’ll need to call a wildlife control person. Most pest control operators aren’t licensed to deal with squirrels, opossum, and other wildlife.
  • Still not sure about the source of the sound? Take a look outside. Sometimes you’ll see the critter in on the roof. If you don’t, then shine a flashlight under the eves and inspect the roof vents for holes. All roof vents should be covered with 1/4 inch hardware cloth (metal screen) with no gaps around the frame. Any holes mean that rodents can get into your attic. Pest control companies can inspect your attic for animal activity and can fix any problems with the screens (this is called pest exclusion).

Below is a list of harmless critters that may be making a racket on your roof during the day. Have you experienced any other noisy visitors? Please let us know so we can add them to our list of troublemakers. (One client discovered fornicating raccoons. Not many can top that.)
Squirrel (cc) Ildar Sagdejev
noisy the cat
Scrub Jay cc Peter Wallack