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8 Signs There’s a Squirrel in Your Attic

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Is there something in your attic? Are you not sure what it is? 

If squirrels are common where you live there is a high chance it’s a squirrel. I’m here to help you determine if there is a squirrel in your attic.

You don’t need a pest control professional to determine if there is a squirrel inside your attic. 

In this post, I will go over 8 signs you can look for to determine if there is a squirrel inside your attic. 

Let’s get started. 

1. Strange Sounds Coming From Ceiling

The most common sign that you have squirrels in your attic are strange, or rustling sounds coming from your attic or ceiling.

These sounds can range from walking, running, scratching to biting sounds.

Most people don’t realize that squirrels make noises. You might also hear squirrels making other noises inside your attics, such as chirping, squeaking, barking, and grunts.

Squirrels are particularly vocal and can make a range of noises when inside your attic, especially if there is more than one.

It’s important to remember that the sounds you hear coming from your attic or ceiling can change locations. It quite common to hear scratches in your kitchen and the next day hear it inside your bedroom.

You might also hear noises coming from your walls. Once squirrels are inside your attic, they can easily access your walls as well.

It’s much more common to have mice and rats inside your walls but still possible if there is a squirrel in your attic as well.

2. Damage Inside Your Attic

If you suspect squirrels inside your attic, one of the easiest ways to confirm your suspicions is by looking inside your attic. 

People often don’t look inside their attic when they suspect that a rodent may be hiding inside. When inspecting your attic, the most apparent sign of squirrels is damage. 

The Common areas you will see damage in your attic are:

  • Insulation 
  • Wood
  • Vent screens 
  • Drywall 
  • Electrical wires

Insulation

insulation damage

Squirrels may destroy or flatten insulation due to their activity. They are also known for chewing insulation boards. These boards are placed between the studs of walls and can leave your walls bare inside your attic.

Wood

They can also damage wood inside your attic. Unknown to most, squirrels can chew and destroy wood quite rapidly. They can chew on the 2×4 that supports your attic to the point where they are no longer structurally safe. 

Wires and Vents

Squirrels will chew on nearly anything inside your attic as well. They have been known to chew on wires and cause power outages. They can also chew on mesh vent screens, wood, and drywall. 

While squirrels are cute, they can cause severe damage that can be extremely costly if not addressed early. 

3. Strong Odors

urine stains squirrels

Strong odors are another sign that there are squirrels inside your attic. Squirrels tend to urinate quite often. 

Certain squirrels will urinate profusely when they reach a new area to mark their territory and make themselves known.

This can cause urine to soak into the wood and installation inside your attic. Over time the smell can make its way inside your home. In extreme cases, you may begin to see stains penetrating your ceiling.

In most cases, if you enter your attic and there is strong ammonia or chemical scent inside your attic, then this is a sign there are squirrels in your attic.

Squirrels can get trapped and die inside your attic. This can also cause a foul odor inside your attic and home. 

The smell of decomposing animals can leave a putrid small inside your attic. This smell is typically much worse than urine and easier to identify.

4. Feces Inside Attics

squirrel droppings

Feces are another key sign that there might be squirrels inside your home. Just like mice and rats, squirrels will also leave droppings where they live. 

Squirrel feces is dangerous because they can transmit and carry diseases such as tularemia and leptospirosis. Exposure to squirrel droppings can cause vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, and nausea. 

If you are not sure if there are rats, mice, or squirrels inside your attic, you can use their feces to help you tell the difference. 

 

Squirrel vs. Mice vs. Rat Droppings

The first difference is that mice feces is significantly smaller than rat and squirrel feces. Mouse feces are typically around ¼”. 

Rat droppings are typically larger ranging from ½” to ¾” whereas squirrel feces is around ⅜” to ½.” 

Squirrel droppings are also more cylindrical and lighter brown, whereas rat feces are typically black and more oblong than squirrel feces. 

5. Nesting and Nesting Debris

Squirrels are known for building nests where they live. This can be relatively easy inside attics because there is an abundance of installation that they can use.

Nests are typically easy to find because the installation will typically be moved to one side so that there is more support for them to sleep.

It also common to find other debris that is foreign to your attics, such as dust, leaves, or twigs.

Squirrels will bring in outside materials to fortify their nest. This is an easy way to determine if there are squirrels inside your attic.

It’s uncommon for other rodents such as rats and mice to bring in foreign materials into their nesting area unless they are nearby.

6. Hidden Food - Acorns and Nuts

Squirrels will store away their food near their nest. If squirrels live inside your attic, you will likely find nuts, acorns, and other food sources stored away inside your attic. 

When inspecting your attic, you can find hidden food in two styles: 

  • Large piles 
  • Buried in insulation around your attic

While they may store them in a single location, it’s more likely that they will bury them in scattered locations near their nests.

You might need to move the insulation in your attic to find any hidden food. Suppose you move the insulation around inside your attic. 

In that case, it’s highly recommended that you wear long sleeves, pants, and a face mask to prevent inhalation and allergic reactions to the debris from insulation. 

7. Frequent Squirrel Activity Outside Your Home

If there is frequent squirrel activity around your home, such as your yard, roof, eves, or porch, then this is a sign that you might have squirrels in your attic.

During the day, squirrels will leave their home in search of food and water. According to most experts, squirrels don’t travel farther than 2 miles from their home.

In most cases, squirrels will scavenge the immediate area around their home before wandering off any farther.

Signs of squirrels can also be squirrels climbing trees or walking around areas nearby your home. Another common sign that squirrel populations are large is if you find squirrels fighting.

8. Damage Outside Your Home

Squirrels can also damage the outside of your home. They will typically damage two locations around your home. 

  • Food sources 
  • Entry points around your home 

Squirrels will target food sources around your home. They can damage bird feeders, gardens, or trees. 

You will typically find bite marks, scratch marks, or ruined plants around these areas. 

Other damage outside homes includes holes, destroyed plants, or trees. Squirrels are also known for their ability to bite on wood or other weak materials to gain access into your attic.

For example, vent screens or insulation boards are common areas where a squirrel would target to enter your attic. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why Are Squirrels Entering my Attic?

Squirrels and most rodents will enter your home for a few fundamental reasons.

  1. Shelter 
  2. Food 
  3. Warmth
  4. Predators

Shelter

Your attic provides squirrels everything they need to build a nest. If they can enter your home, it only makes sense for them also to live there. 

 

Food 

Food is another reason that squirrels will enter your home. It’s unlikely they’ll find food inside your attic, but if you have fruit or vegetable trees, bird feeders, or trees that produce nuts, they will try to create a shelter near these sources. 

In most cases, if your trees leave debris or food on your roof, squirrels will naturally gravitate towards your attic for shelter. 

 

Warmth 

It’s common for squirrels to seek out a shelter that is warmer during winter than where they are currently living. Often, squirrels are attracted to the heater inside your attic or the heat that rises during the winter.

 

Predators

Another reason squirrels might end up in your attic is that they need better protection from predators. Animals such as hawks, owls, snakes, weasels, and foxes are all common squirrel predators. 

These predators may drive squirrels into your attic, which offers much more protection from predators than tunnels in the ground or trees. 

Do Squirrels Make Scratching Noises?

Yes, squirrels do make scratching noises. This is one of the most common and first signs that homeowners encounter when they have a squirrel in their attic.

Other animals also make scratching noises when they are inside walls or attics. Single scratching noises typically characterize squirrels since they are commonly alone. You will also typically hear them at night or early morning when they are moving around.

Rats and mice also make scratching noises when they are inside walls or attics. Rats and mice scratching noises are typically more significant because multiple mice or rats infest a home at once.

Can Squirrels Enter The Walls In My Home?

Yes, squirrels can live and create nests inside the walls of your home. Once squirrels have access to your attic, they can access the inside of your walls quickly.

While they can do so, It’s not too common. More often than not, squirrels will remain in your attic and build their nest inside the attic.

If you do experience constant scratching and noises in your walls, this can signify that there are rats or mice inside your walls and not squirrels.

How To Lure A Squirrel Out of The Attic?

It’s not always necessary to lure a squirrel out of a house. Squirrels will typically leave your attic naturally to search for food and water daily or every other day.

You may need to lure a squirrel to a one-way entry point. To do this, you might want to leave some food near the entry point.

It’s important that you only leave a small portion of food. If you leave too much food, this can cause the squirrel to stay inside rather than going outside to look for more food.

As an alternative, if possible, you can place the food just outside the entry point. This will allow you to draw them just outside of the entry point.

When Do Squirrels leave the Attic?

It’s common for squirrels to leave your attic during the morning and afternoon.

During this time, they will typically look for food and water to bring back to their nest.

You can use this time to cover all the entry points around your home to prevent the squirrel from returning.

Will Squirrels Leave My Attic on Their Own?

Yes, squirrels may leave your attic on their own, but they will likely return. 

Squirrels commonly leave attics during the summer due to the heat. If it does get too hot during the summer, squirrels will create another nest until the weather gets cold again.

Studies show that squirrels will return to previous nesting grounds and locate them after being relocated 15 miles away.

If squirrels do leave your home naturally, they may return. If their access points are covered, they will try to make another entry point to return to their nests.

You must take the necessary steps to keep them out and repel them.

Do Squirrels and Rats Coexist?

Generally speaking, squirrels and rats can coexist. It’s unlikely that they will do so in your attic. 

You might have rats or mice inside your house, such as walls and squirrels inside your attic. Squirrels will likely avoid your attic if there is a heavy rat infestation.

Are Squirrels In Your House Good Or Bad?

Squirrels in your house are a bad sign. While squirrels are cute, they shouldn’t be inside your home.

The main reason is that they are known to cause damage to multiple areas of your home. Their habits, such as chewing and digging, can cause damage to the wood and wires inside your home. They can also damage your home with their feces and urine.

Squirrels also carry numerous diseases. They are known to have deadly diseases such as tularemia, typhus, the plague, and ringworm. They transmit diseases by biting or other forms of direct contact.

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