Signs of Squirrels in Attic, Prevention, and Removal Tips

Squirrels may be charming creatures to observe in their natural habitats, but when they make their way into your home, particularly the attic, they can become a significant concern.

The seemingly innocent frolicking of these fluffy-tailed animals masks a plethora of problems, including potential structural damage to your property and several health hazards.

In this detailed guide, we will explore the noticeable signs of squirrels occupying your attic, the harm they can cause, and comprehensive solutions for eviction and prevention, ensuring your home remains a squirrel-free zone.

Understanding Attic Infestation Symptoms

Discover the signs of squirrels up there:

Hearing Strange Sounds:

One of the earliest indicators of a squirrel invasion in your attic is the peculiar noise they produce.

Squirrels are diurnal creatures, meaning they are most active during the day, especially in the early morning and late afternoon.

If you’re hearing scuttling, scratching, or thumping noises emanating from above, it could be squirrels.

Their activities, including foraging for food, nest-building, and playful antics, can create a notable auditory disturbance, suggesting an uninvited occupation in your attic.

Visual Confirmation:

An increase in squirrel activity around your home, particularly along the rooflines or on nearby trees, is a solid indicator of their presence.

Squirrels tend to build their nests close to their food sources.

Therefore, witnessing them frequently running along power lines, exploring your roof, or even spotting them peeking out from your attic vents strongly suggests an infestation

Detecting Unpleasant Odors:

A consistent, unpleasant smell pervading through your home could originate from a squirrel’s existence in your attic.

These critters bring in food, which inevitably leads to leftover scraps that rot over time, producing a distinctly foul odor.

Moreover, just like any other living being, squirrels produce waste, which also contributes to the malodor.

The stench not only becomes a domestic nuisance but can attract other pests, complicating the issue further.

Scratching and Chewing:

The constant scratching and chewing by squirrels can wreak havoc on your attic’s structural integrity.

From wooden beams to electrical wires, squirrels can chew through various materials, posing a risk to both your property and safety.

They do so to keep their constantly growing teeth in check and to create entry or exit points within the attic.

Over time, the accumulated damage can result in expensive repairs and even potential fire hazards due to exposed wires.

Shredded Insulation and Nesting Materials:

Noticing materials such as insulation, leaves, twigs, or even scraps of paper strewn across your attic is a classic sign of nesting squirrels.

They shred available materials to create a cozy nest, and insulation often becomes a prime target due to its soft and pliable nature.

This not only causes a mess but also significantly reduces the efficacy of your insulation, leading to higher energy costs.

Teeth Marks:

Observing gnaw marks on wooden structures, wiring, or objects stored in the attic is a clear sign of squirrels.

The constant need to chew can lead them to gnaw on various materials within the attic, causing them to deteriorate over time and compromising their functionality and stability.

Droppings and Acorns:

Finding squirrel droppings or an unusual amount of acorns and nuts stashed away in corners or hidden spots in your attic is a tangible sign of their presence.

Squirrels hoard food, particularly nuts, as a survival mechanism and leave behind droppings, which can be hazardous due to the potential transmission of diseases.

Unexplained “Water Damage”:

Signs often wrongly associated with water damage, such as stains on ceilings or walls, are a consequence of squirrel activity.

This “damage” may stem from their urine and feces or the accumulation of rotting food, which can create wet spots misidentified as leaks.

Aggressive Behavior: Fighting Squirrels:

Sometimes, particularly during mating season, squirrels may exhibit aggressive behaviors.

Listening to sounds of skirmishes, witnessing physical encounters, or observing defensive postures are indicators of squirrel presence within proximity.

Their territorial behaviour, especially when inhabiting a space like your attic, could not only disrupt the tranquility of your home but also indicate a growing population that may lead to increased damage.

Examining Exterior Damage: The Gateway for Squirrels

Identifying Squirrel Entry Points and the Damage Weak Spots.

Let’s jump right in:

Holes in Your Siding:

Squirrels possess robust gnawing abilities, allowing them to create entry points into your attic by chewing through siding, eaves, or even roof materials.

Roofline and Vent Damage:

Inspecting your roofline and vents for visible damage or wear, such as bent, chewed, or ripped materials, is crucial.

Squirrels can exploit weak points, gradually enlarging them to create a suitable entryway to your attic, subsequently establishing it as their nesting ground.

Landscape and Outdoor Indicators

Eaten Garden Plants and Chewed Bark on Trees:

Squirrels are notorious for foraging garden plants and gnawing on tree barks, especially young trees.

This activity not only damages your landscape but also reveals their presence and potential habitation within your proximity, such as your attic.

Damage to Bird Feeders and Outdoor Furniture:

Consistent damage to bird feeders, including spilled or depleted seeds, coupled with chewed-up outdoor furniture, could signify squirrel activities.

Their persistent attempts to access food and tendency to chew on various objects could lead to noticeable damage outdoors, signaling their presence in or around your property.

How to Remove Squirrels from the Attic?

Once the signs confirm a squirrel infestation in your attic, acting promptly and strategically is pivotal to mitigating further damage and ensuring a safe removal.

Locate the Squirrel Nest:

Begin by identifying the location of the squirrel nest within your attic.

Observe patterns of activity, track noises, and look for physical signs like droppings or stored food to locate their central hub.

Seal Non-Entry Points:

It’s essential to seal all potential entry points, excluding one to install a one-way exclusion device.

This allows squirrels to exit but prevents them from re-entering.

Utilize durable materials like metal flashing or hardware cloth for sealing to deter their robust chewing efforts.

Utilize a One-Way Door Excluder:

Install a one-way door excluder on the remaining unsealed entry point.

This device allows squirrels to leave for food but prevents their return.

It’s humane and does not harm the animal, merely excluding them from returning to the nesting area.

Engage Professional Pest Control:

In instances where infestations are extensive or if baby squirrels are involved, it’s advisable to enlist professional pest control services.

Preventive Measures: Ensuring Squirrels Don’t Return

After successfully evicting squirrels from your attic, implementing robust preventive strategies is fundamental to avert future invasions.

Trim Trees Near Roofline

Squirrels often access your attic by jumping from nearby trees. 

Ensure that all tree branches are trimmed to at least 6-8 feet away from your home, eliminating their leaping points and minimizing accessibility to your roof.

Modify Bird Feeders and Employ Decoy Predators

Consider utilizing squirrel-proof bird feeders and placing decoy predators, like owl or hawk figurines, in strategic locations to deter squirrels from venturing close.

Implement Deterrents and Repellents

Deploying commercial repellents or homemade deterrents, such as a mixture of water and hot peppers, can dissuade squirrels.

Spraying these in and around your attic can make the area less appealing, thereby preventing re-infestation.

Adopt a Motion-Activated Sprinkler System

Installing motion-activated sprinklers in key areas, such as near entry points to your attic or along common squirrel routes, can provide a non-harmful method to deter them from approaching.

Expert Tips:

One of the most effective strategies I can recommend for dealing with squirrels in the attic is implementing exclusion techniques.

Identify and seal all possible entry points, but ensure to allow an exit route for any squirrels currently inhabiting the space. 

Using a one-way exclusion door can be particularly effective in permitting squirrels to leave for food while preventing their re-entry.

Remember, it’s paramount to adhere to local wildlife regulations and consider consulting a professional pest control or wildlife removal expert, especially if the situation becomes unmanageable or if there are baby squirrels involved, as they will need to be manually removed. 

This approach not only aligns with humane practices but also assists in mitigating potential re-infestation by addressing the issue at its root – accessibility.

Final Thoughts:

Dealing with squirrels in the attic necessitates a multifaceted approach, encompassing the identification of infestation signs, humane removal, and adoption of preventive strategies.

Ensuring the well-being of both homeowners and the squirrels is pivotal, promoting a humane and safe approach towards wildlife management within urban settings.

About The Author
Hi 👋, I’m Billy Thomas, a passionate wildlife biologist with over 10 years of experience. With my expertise in wildlife biology and as a proud owner of over 20 squirrels as pets, I aim to provide reliable information, fun facts, and insights into the world of squirrels.

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