How Can You Tell if There Is a Squirrel in Your Attic?

With their bright eyes, bushy tails and frisky antics, squirrels can be fun to watch at the park or on the lawn.

Squirrels: Much cuter outdoors than in.Squirrels: Much cuter outdoors than in.
Unfortunately, when these "adorable" creatures take up residence in your attic, the results are anything but cute. Besides being noisy and messy, these uninvited rodent guests often gnaw the insulation of electrical wiring, creating a serious safety hazard.

Listen for daytime animal noises. If you hear odd little tapping, rattling and squeaking sounds that don't quite sound like either the wind or the house "settling," it is probably your resident squirrels. In the mid- to late winter mating season, noisy chasing and scuffling will be especially noticeable.

Examine the insulation and wiring in your attic. Squirrels will often disturb insulation and will gnaw to bits and tunnel through a wide variety of building materials. Squirrels tend to establish a litter area for themselves, where you will find copious quantities of raisin-sized squirrel feces.

Turn off attic lighting and look around for daylight coming through soffits, eaves or ductwork to determine where squirrels may be gaining access to your property.

Visually observe any opening you may have found to confirm that squirrels are present.

Things You Will Need

  • Flashlight

Tip

  • If you are hearing attic sounds at night, it is likely that your invaders are nocturnal rats, mice or raccoons.

Warning

  • Do not attempt to feed a squirrel or trap one by hand. They carry parasites and diseases and will bite humans who come too close.

About the Author

Anne Pyburn Craig has written for a range of regional and local publications ranging from in-depth local investigative journalism to parenting, business, real estate and green building publications. She frequently writes tourism and lifestyle articles for chamber of commerce publications and is a respected book reviewer.