What Are These Attic Noises Of Yours?

Attic noises can be very concerning. Knowing that an animal could be living in a hard to access part of your home is stressful. It is like when your check engine light on your car comes on. You know there will be an expense. It can be a number of things potentially going on. And you really need a professional to fix it. As a result, will want our team to provide you with a wildlife inspection. Being trained by the National Wildlife Control Operators Association, we have a leg up on other exterminators in town.

Prior to calling for wildlife control service, take some time to gather some information. Are the noises in the attic early morning? Are the noises in the attic, at night? What kind of sound are you hearing? Is it a scratching noise in the attic? At minimum please be able to communicate to us: What time of day or night that the noise is occurring. Where specifically in the home you are hearing it. And describe to us what kind of sound it is. If you can take additional time to diagnose your attic noise, our company can provide you with better information on what to expect going forward.

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What is Making Noise In My Attic At Night?

Generally speaking, not too many animals will be active in your house during the day. Most animals that live in attics are nocturnal. As a result, most wildlife are heard coming or going around dusk and dawn. Generally speaking, if you hear a noise in your attic during the day, it would be a squirrel, bird, or chipmunk (which is a rare occurrence). In most cases, when a customer hears noises in the morning, they have a problem with squirrels. If the sound is heard in the middle of the night, it is likely a mouse infestation. Noises at dusk or dawn can be squirrels, raccoons, or bats. We have Norway rats, not roof rats in Ohio. And Norway rats are usually heard in lower portions of the home.

Is It Just Your Attic Fan Making Noise?

First things first, you will want to rule out if the noise is consistent. This will tell you if it is an animal or not. Consistent attic noises are usually due to the wind. Frequently siding, roof pipes, and other such components of the home come loose and make noise. This is more of a steady noise. Wind direction and speed may affect these sounds in your home.

Likewise, temperature fluctuations can cause the wood in your home to expand and contract. Leading to what can be described as clicking or popping sounds. This is like when a ghost makes a noise, and you tell yourself that it is just the house settling.

Wouldn’t it be nice to explain the newfound sound as animals running along your roof? Or perhaps acorns dropping on your home? What about that tree you have neglected to trim? Its branches might be playing patty cake with your shingles by now.

It is easy to jump to the conclusion that there is an animal inside your home. And there is a good chance that you are right. Keep in mind that it could be something different. It is possible your attic fan is just acting up. Moreover, diagnosing a wildlife issue based on sound, is the not all that effective. There are much better ways to figure out what animal noise is coming from your attic.

Inspect the Exterior of Your Home For Wildlife

Start the process by walking around the outside of your house. If a raccoon ripped off a soffit return, or part of the roof to get in, then you’ll likely see it from the outside. Look for something different in the vicinity of the noise in the attic. By doing so, you will rule out: Tree branch, loose siding, and large entry points made by raccoons. In most cases, raccoon holes are big and obvious. You need not perform a detailed wildlife inspection. Yet you should be able to knock out a few possibilities with a quick walk around the house. Why pay for a professional to assess your home for wildlife, if it is just loose siding? Although if you do find something that looks like wildlife, being able to share pictures of the area helps us tremendously.

Tree branches were mentioned earlier in this article. In order to keep animals from getting onto your roof, restrict their access by keeping branches 6 feet or more from the structure. Nuisance wildlife are resilient in exploiting the vulnerable points of your home’s construction. Don’t make it easy for them to gain access to the roof.

What Animals Make Attic Noises?

The most common pests that get into attics in the Greater Cleveland, OH area are: Mice, Gray Squirrels, Flying Squirrels, Bats, Raccoons, Red Squirrels, Yellow Jackets and Birds.

One thing to consider is if there is insulation where you are hearing the attic noise. If so, any noise from above the insulation will be muffled. Lots of people think that they have a raccoon in their attic, when it is just mice. You very well could be one of these people. Mice sound louder when they are directly on the other side of the drywall. If you hear something directly on the other side of the ceiling, then the animal has burrowed through the insulation. This is likely rodent activity.

Let’s look at each animal individually. Then let us know what kind of wildlife is thought to be in your attic.


squirrel nesting in roof by gutter

Squirrels often access the attic from the wood around the gutters.

There are grey, fox, flying and red squirrels in Cleveland, Ohio. All of which can be found in your home. Squirrels usually chew through the fascia board to gain access into the attic. This is the wood board behind the gutter. In most cases, they get in between the gutter and bottom row of shingles. And this may be hard to spot from the ground. What you can do is sit and watch for squirrel activity on the roof. They usually climb up chimneys or jump from nearby trees. Dormer eaves, vents, and soffit returns are common wildlife entry points to check out also. When looking for wildlife entry points, check all of the corners and junction points at roof level.

Female squirrels will move inside after breeding occurs in Mid- December- Early January. Litters are born February- March. A smaller percentage of squirrels have another litter July- August. Otherwise, a group of them will leave their summer drey (nest), in place of your attic during the colder months. Males will usually buddy up for the winter together. Most of these infestations average 5 squirrels.

Red Squirrel:

These red devils are active, destructive and do a lot of gnawing. You might want to get your electric wires inspected in the attic after removal. Red squirrels feed on conifer seeds (pine, spruce, fir, hemlock). If these trees are found near the house, these little critters may pose a threat.

Fox Squirrel:

These common tree squirrels are native to Ohio. In urban environments, their numbers have decreased due to the grey squirrels’ presence. They have big bushy tails and coloring like a fox. Although they can break into your home, they are not cavity dwellers like the grey squirrel. Hence, they tend to be less troublesome. If you investigate tall trees in winter, you’ll see their drey nests.

Grey Squirrel:

By far, the most problematic wildlife in our area is the grey squirrel. These invasive Europeans are highly adaptable cavity dwellers. Black squirrels are also grey squirrels. Those are what we mostly see in Lakewood, OH. And boy do they love the old homes around here.

Grey, fox and red squirrels are diurnal (active during the day). If you hear animal sounds during the day, it is most likely one of these squirrels. Other attic inhabiting vermin are primarily active only at night. Birds, yellow jackets and chipmunks are less common in attics. Yet they are the exception in the case of daytime activity.

Flying Squirrel:

Flying Squirrel Feces in an Attic.

Flying squirrel feces will be concentrated to latrine areas.

Not many people consider that flyers are even a thing to consider. Yet flying squirrels are common inside Ohio attics. Unlike the other tree squirrels, these critters are only active at night. Squirrel movement is fast. Comparably to bats, flyers move much faster. If you hear soft thumping sounds, it could be them jumping from rafter to rafter. Flyers leave soon after sundown and return before sunrise. This is when you will hear them crossing ceilings.

Attic Noises From Squirrels

Red, fox and grey squirrels will be most active just after sunrise and right before sunset. As they head out in the morning, you’ll likely catch wind of them. People with squirrels usually complain of attic noises in the morning. During the day, debris and nuts can be heard rolling around. They carry nuts into attics and attempt to bury them in the insulation. Their movements are fast. Red squirrels are the most active inside. There will be a significant amount of scratching, gnawing and screeching sounds during the day.

Grinding noises are the signature squirrel sound. Especially as the squirrels come in for the evening. Oftentimes, customers will report that it “sounds like something is chewing their way into the house” around sunset. This is them working to improve their passageways before bedtime.

Signs of Squirrels in Attics

If you look around inside your attic, you will likely see large areas of depressed insulation by their entry point. Additionally, squirrels use the bathroom in one spot. It could be squirrels if you are hearing noises in the attic but no droppings. Flying squirrels have small droppings, like a deer mouse. Yet they will be more concentrated to a pile, or small area.


How mice enter attics in brick homes.

Mice climb up brick walls and access attics from the gaps along the roofline.

J- channel outside corner tube of siding that is used for mice to gain access into attics.

Small rodents will use these hollow tubes to climb right into your attic.

One thing to note is that you won’t be hearing mice screeching at each other. Being low on the food chain, mice tend to remain quiet vocally. Like other rodents, they need to gnaw on things to whittle down their incisor teeth. This is something that will keep you up at night. If you hear this and go tap on that area, they will stop for a bit. Then start back up once they feel that you have left. Mice are very in tune with human activity. They will wait until all is quiet in the house before starting their nightly routine.

Opposed to other attic inhabiting wildlife activity tied to dawn and dusk, mice will be heard late at night. There will be a sustained scratching in one spot. Yet depending on the level of infestation, there may be similar noises heard in different rooms. Unless there is no insulation, you will not hear them running from spot to spot.

One thing about mice is that they do not retain heat very well. Therefore, mouse nests inside attics will be close to access panels and canister lights- where it is warmer. If the noise is way out by the outside walls, it might not be a mouse.

Signs of Mice in Attics

It doesn’t take mice much of a gap to get inside attics. To prevent problems with mice, do not feed the birds. Also, you will want to keep branches pruned away from the home. With vinyl sided homes, they often climb up the j-channels on the outside corners of the home. This can be easily resolved by installing Critter Kaps. On brick homes, they climb up the exterior and get into cracks between the wood trim at the roofline.

If you have blown-in insulation you will see pathways of tampered down insulation. You will also see little golf ball sized burrows in the insulation. Mice also can’t hold their bowels. With mice, you will see feces scattered around areas of activity. Flying squirrel feces looks very similar. Yet with flyers, the feces will be more bunched together in latrine areas.


Bat inside wall of home.

These animals are commonly heard moving slowly in walls and soffits.

Bats are most active at sunrise and sunset. If you suspect that you have bats in your attic, start with a bat watch. Get a big mug of coffee and go out before sunrise. Sunset works too if you are not a morning person. You will see them swooping around. This is an effective way to figure out their exact entry points.

The average bat colony inside a residential structure is around 20 bats. A lot of guano can accumulate over time. Bat feces often carries a fungus called histoplasmosis. Be sure to wear a full-face respirator when entering a bat infested attic.

The classic bat noise is a soft scratching in the wall as they crawl around. Since bats hang upside down while they roost, you are more likely to hear them inside a wall than overhead in a ceiling.

You may also hear squeaking or high-pitched chirping in the attic. The noise can be likened to a fast-paced cricket noise. Remember that bats are dormant in winter. So, you won’t be hearing them then.

Compared to other nuisance wildlife in attics, bats move slow. They are a bit awkward as they crawl around. You can hear them moving to seek better temperatures, or to approach the exit. Sometimes they get stuck in a wall. That can create a ruckus. You may also hear tapping noises coming from the soffit as they flap around in there.

Signs of Bats in the Attic

You don’t always see bats hanging around. You are more likely to see the droppings. If you find any suspect droppings, pick one up. If it disintegrates when you crush it, then it is guano. That is since the feces consist of mainly of insect exoskeletons.


Raccoon in soffit of home.

You can usually spot a raccoon entry point from the ground. They are around this size.

Does it sound like someone broke into the house up there? Well, someone did. It is a raccoon. Any heavy thumping attic noises are going to be made by a larger animal. While an opossum might sneak in, that is uncommon.

Think about hearing a dog rummaging around on its bedding before settling in. That can be the noise you hear, especially when there are young up there too. Litters of 3 – 7 pups are born April- May. Once born, you will hear the mewing noises. You will really start to hear them snarl once they get old enough to wrestle around. They usually stay with their mothers until fall. Does it sound like they are fighting February- March? Nope. Not fighting. Its just breeding season.

Just like bats and flying squirrels, they leave to go forage outside around sunset. Can you imagine if you had all three? It would be like a parade every night. Sometimes you can see footprints and their dirt residue from climbing up the downspouts. The hole must be over 4 inches. Most are easy to spot outside if you look.


Broken screen to roof vent where starlings got inside.

Starlings often enter homes through vents with broken screens.

Starling nests in attics can become large.

Starling nests look like a pile of hay inside of an attic.

Starlings will get into attics. Mostly through broken screens on roof, soffit and gable vents. Their nests can grow to be massive. Birds’ nests can carry mites, fleas, and disease. Once they nest in homes, it is more likely that one will end up in trapped in your heating vents or in the basement. You don’t want these guys hanging around.

Some older roofs don’t have a drip edge installed under the bottom row of shingles- leading behind the gutter. This strip of metal protects the wood fascia board behind it from water. Softer water damaged fascia board gets compromised by nuisance wildlife. Birds will find roofline gaps to nest in.

Sometimes a bird squeezes in and gets stuck. They end up flying into the rafters and making attic noises. If that happens open a window if there is one up there.

When birds come back from migration, your bathroom exhaust fans become prone to birds. They can stuff nesting material way back in the duct. Special

Bird nest inside bathroom exhaust fan vent.

exhaust fan covers may be installed to help prevent this from occurring. Noises above the bathroom usually means birds. There will be chirping noises. Squirrels will try to get into bathroom exhaust fan vents too. It is wild to see them scale a wall in order to get in.

The easiest way to spot birds is to look for white droppings under the vents, on shingles and on exterior walls.

To Professionally Diagnose Your Attic Noises, Call us at (216) 466-2486 Or Use Our Contact Form