Are you hearing noise in your walls or attic?
September 25, 2014

These are some likely culprits!

Eastern Grey Squirrel – Sciurus Carolinensis

There are three species of squirrels that we typically find in homes, attics and crawl spaces. The most common species found in urban areas such as Kingston and Brockville is the Eastern Grey Squirrel. This squirrel has two different colour forms, dusty gray and black. They are found throughout South Eastern Ontario. Eastern Grey Squirrels usually have one litter a year in the spring but can also have a second liter in late summer; although not as common. Litters can be as large as eight but four to six is most common.

We usually find Grey Squirrels entering houses through areas on the roof or in wall exhaust vents. Grey squirrels are not known to enter at ground level. We typically see them chew through attic vents, fascia boards and soffits to gain entry to the attic where it is a safe place to raise their young. As squirrels pack down blown-in insulation, wires become exposed and they do occasionally chew on them; sometimes causing house fires. You will generally hear the squirrels running or chewing up in the attic during the day as they are a diurnal species. In urban areas, the squirrels take advantage of bird feeders and household garbage in addition to forging for nuts, berries and seeds.

Red Squirrels – Tamiasciurus Hudsonicus

Red Squirrels are more common in rural areas but can be occasionally found in urban areas. This species is half the size of a Grey Squirrel and has a shinny reddish-brown coat. This squirrel is also very aggressive; often out-competing other species of squirrel in the area. Red Squirrels generally have only one litter a year and young are usually born in April or May. Litter sizes range from two to seven.

Red Squirrels are the most difficult species to evict from homes as they enter at both ground level and through the roof. They also store their food in attics and crawl spaces; which makes them that much more persistent about regaining entry. The Red Squirrel takes advantage of bird feeders and also feeds on nuts, pine cones and young birds.

Northern Flying Squirrel – Glaucomys Sabrinus

Northern Flying Squirrels are found in rural areas and are the least common of the three species that we find in attics. This squirrel is a nocturnal species which means that they are active at night unlike Red Squirrels and Grey Squirrels. Flying Squirrels have a unique fold of skin that runs parallel to their body which allows them to glide from tree to tree. They have light brown and grey fur with large dark eyes. Flying Squirrels have one litter a year and young are born in May and June. Litter sizes range from two to four young.

Many companies dismiss noise in the walls and attic at night to be mice which are also a nocturnal species. We only do a few of these jobs a year so they can be easily confused by even the most senior technicians. Flying Squirrels will generally enter on high points on the house such as ridge vents, attic vents, gable vents and roof soffit intersections. Like the Red Squirrels, they will also store food in the attic. They primarily eat fungi, lichens, buds, berries, nuts and cones.

Raccoons – Procyon Lotor

Raccoons are found throughout Ontario in rural and urban settings. They are very crafty animals with hands like humans which allow them to damage areas on houses to gain entry. Raccoons are unmistakable with their ringed tail and black mask. Raccoons are a nocturnal species so you rarely here them during the day unless there are babies. Babies are born from late March to June with litter sizes ranging from four to six young.

Raccoons can be difficult to remove from your home as they will generally tear new holes as fast as you can seal the old ones. They are commonly found entering attics and crawl spaces, but we also get them in garages and under decks. Raccoons are very opportunistic and take advantage of bird feeders and household garbage in addition to fruit, nuts, rodents and reptiles. Raccoons do not hibernate although they can hunker down for long periods when the weather is bad.

Big Brown Bats and Little Brown Bats – Eptesicus Fuscus and Myotis Lucifugus

Both species of Brown Bats are commonly found in attics and chimneys. Bats take advantage of pre-existing holes on the house to gain entry. They only require a dime in width sized hole to get in which is why it is so important to seal up the entire house. Bats are a common carrier of rabies so they should not be handled by home owners in order to avoid infection. Bat droppings are also a concern if they start to accumulate in the attic as they harbour many diseases which can be harmful to humans and pets. Bats are true hibernators and often move from the attic down into wall voids in order to regulate their body temperature for hibernation. On warm days during the winter the wall voids may heat up and cause the bats to come out of hibernation and start moving around. Occasionally they will accidently find their way into the living space when this happens.

Bats are a colonizing species with colonies numbering from just a few to up to a thousand. Bat babies are born in June and bats only have one or two young a year. Brown Bats exclusively feed on insects from dusk until dawn.

House Mice and Deer Mice – Mus Musculus and Peromyscus Maniculatus

House Mice and Deer Mice are the two most common species of mice that we find in residential and commercial buildings. House Mice are yellowish-brown to grey in colour with a lighter underside. Deer Mice are rusty brown with a bright white underside. Mice like to occupy attics, wall voids, and crawl spaces because they are safe and warm places to give birth and raise their young. Scratching and chewing noises during the night are indications that you may have a mouse issue. Mice have been known to chew wires, and dishwashing lines that can cause significant damage to properties. This nocturnal animal will store food inside and commonly takes advantage of bird feeders.

Breeding takes place between March and October, and gestation lasts three to four weeks. Females are able to have multiple litters a year with four to nine young being born in each litter. Mice feed on seeds, stems, insects, and readily available food that humans leave out.

Norway Rats – Rattus Norvegicus

Norway Rats nearly always live in proximity to human habitation. Rats are a ground dwelling species and commonly enter structures by digging or chewing their way in. We commonly see them burrowing under additions and sheds but we also see them tunneling through old limestone foundations or coming up through open sewer pipes. Rats are very intelligent and occasionally evade traps if they have seen other rats that have been trapped. They will occupy basements, crawl spaces, and wall voids in houses, although we have occasionally seen them on the second level of houses. Rats have been known to chew wires, and dishwashing lines but we have also seen them chew through walls and floors regularly to access food.

The gestation period for rats is about twenty two days and litters of six to as many as twenty young are born. Norway Rats also have the ability to breed year round. They primarily eat grains, insects, vegetables, fruit and carrion. They also regularly take advantage of garbage and seed from bird feeders.