So what kind of animal is living in my attic?
The two most likely inhabitants of attics are squirrels and raccoons. If you are hearing noises during daylight hours you most likely have a squirrel living in your attic. Squirrels are typically only active during the day, and their activity patterns cease as soon as it has become dark outside.
If, on the other hand, you are hearing noises during nighttime hours, you most likely have a raccoon or flying squirrel living in your attic. Raccoons and flying squirrels are nocturnal animals, meaning they are usually only active at night.
Still not sure? If you have access to the attic from the inside of your house, and feel comfortable doing so, take a look around. The animal that is living up there will not rush up and attack you – most likely the animal is much more scared of you than vice versa, and will do everything possible to avoid coming in contact with you.
If a squirrel is living in your attic, you may see leaves and other debris – including nuts – stashed around the attic. You may also see squirrel droppings left behind, which are usually smooth and oval in shape.
If a raccoon is living in your attic, you may see areas called ”latrines” which are where a raccoon urinates and defecates. Raccoons generally do all their toilet activities outside, to avoid attracting predators due to any scents. However, sometimes they do create latrines inside, so this is something to watch for. An oily stain on a ceiling may be your first clue that there’s a latrine above.
You can also sprinkle a 6-8” wide band of all-purpose baking flour around the perimeter of the attic and check for footprints the next day. Squirrel tracks are approximately 1”-1 ½” long, with the front feet containing four digits and sharp claws, and three large “palm” pads. The squirrel’s rear feet contain five digits and four palm pads.
Alternatively, raccoons leave tracks that can sometimes closely resemble a small human hand. Raccoon tracks are between 2” and 3” long.