What Kind of Animal is in My Attic?

Wild animals have ways of getting into the attics of homes. Most homeowners do not realize they have unwanted house guests until they begin hearing the noises above them. There are different clues to help you discover what kind of animal is in your attic including types of:

  • Do the noises sound like they are coming from a small or large animal? Do they happen mostly at night or during the day?
  • Entry holes. A squirrel will make a 2-inch hole leaving chew marks around the perimeter. A big torn-out hole could be from a raccoon. Bats leave droppings at the entry hole, while brown grease stains are from rats.
  • Are the droppings excluded to a particular area of the attic or spread throughout it?
  • Check for animal prints in the dust or see if there are any muddy footprints.
  • Damage caused. Has the wood been gnawed? Have electrical wires been chewed? Have vents or ductwork been destroyed? Some damage isn’t that severe, but animals can cause a lot of damage which costs homeowners a great deal in repairs

Squirrels are the most common critter to invade attics. They chew their way inside to live in a warm, dry place which resembles a big hollow tree. Active in the early morning and evening before sunset, the noise is usually a fast scamper, not a heavy thumping. The noise can be heard throughout the attic, but squirrels tend to stick near the entry hole at the edge of the roof. Squirrels leave hundreds of droppings which resemble fat, little brown grains of rice. Look for evidence of nesting debris such as leaves, sticks, chewed on wood, and electrical wires.

Raccoons are not only curious and mischievous but are also excellent climbers and very strong. They break in to homes and attics in search of food and shelter. Raccoons are nocturnal, so you will likely hear the noise at night. With adults weighing around 25 pounds, noises will often be loud and sound heavy. Vocal noises include chattering or growling. Also, large droppings will be left behind, and you will see ducts ripped in to pieces.

Mice and rats are more commonly found in cities than in the country. Active year-round and able to breed at exceptionally high rates, it’s important to take care of any mice or rats found in the attic right away. Mice and rats can squeeze through extremely small holes and gaps. You will hear light scurrying and scampering sounds as they both can climb pretty much any surface. Mice and rats can leave tens of thousands of droppings in an attic which look like grains of rice. Evidence left behind includes chew marks and brown smudges from grease in their fur. It’s also important to make sure your home is completely sealed because if one of these rodents detects a slight breeze from inside, they’ll make their way into your home.

Bats will squeeze through architectural gaps as small as 3/8 of an inch near the edge of the roofline, making their way to their roosting spots. Bats are nocturnal and are quiet in small numbers, but you will hear crawling, flying, and squeaking noises when there’s a large swarm of them. Physical sightings are the best way to know bats are in your attic; but if you don’t see them, you may start to notice an odor from the large amounts of droppings (guano) they often leave.

Opossums are large, nocturnal animals like raccoons. You will hear heavy, slow moving sounds mainly at night if they are living in your attic. They do not usually force their way in, but will enter an easy opening such as an eave gap. You will notice the feces left behind because there will be many dog-sized droppings with pointed tips spread throughout the attic.  Most people will smell the opossum’s presence alive or dead as its common for them to die in attics.

Seek Professional Help

Once you have identified what kind of animal is in your attic, it’s important to call a professional to have the animal removed. At Critter Control in Jacksonville, we will humanely remove any intruders that have moved in to your attic as well as properly seal all entry points, clean up the waste left behind, and repair any damage caused by these pests. Call us today at 904-221-8633 for a free home inspection, and you’ll see why we’re the industry leaders in removing all types of animals living in your attic.

Squirrel Problems

Of all the world’s rodents, squirrels are usually a favorite. Their bounding strides and outrageously bushy tails make them endearing. Although the playful, athletic rodents are cute in nature, squirrels in your attic can lead to big issues.

Control Attic Squirrels

Squirrels are actually one of the least harmful of all rodents. Rats and mice carry bacteria and viruses, but squirrels don’t. And because of their size, squirrels are also less likely to wind up in your home. However, if squirrels do find their way into the house, you’ll experience:

  • An abundance of noise. Most creatures that wind up in your attic will make some noise, like scratching or gentle thumping, but squirrels will create a racket. They jump, chatter, and wrestle each other in your attic, seemingly unconcerned about revealing their presence. Sleeping through the playful antics of these animals can be a daunting task.
  • Increased damage to your home’s exterior. Squirrels can’t fit into the same sized holes as mice, so they are forced to tear into walls and other material within your attic or home to create a comfortable nest.
  • Destruction in the attic. Like all rodents, squirrels chew constantly to keep their teeth sharp and capable of crushing nuts and other food. Squirrels that take up residence in a home or attic often leave a trail of shredded insulation, chewed wires, and damaged wood. If there is damage to your insalation, it can cause the price of air conditioning to go up in your home.

Remove Squirrels Effectively and Humanely

Even though squirrels create problems when they build nests in attics and homes, most people don’t want to kill them. At Critter Control® of Jacksonville, we understand your feelings. Our team of specialists is trained to gently capture and relocate your unwelcome visitors. For a total squirrel attic removal solution, choose the experts. If you have questions or need help removing your bushy-tailed visitors, call us for a free consultation today, at 904.221.8633.

Squirrel Damage

As too many homeowners have learned, squirrels in Jacksonville can cause extensive amounts of damage in short periods of time. They are rampant chewers, have nesting habits that put your home insulation at great risk, cause unsightly landscape damage, and can impart dangerous diseases.

Common Types of Squirrel Damage
Since squirrels are part of the rodent family, they have large front teeth that continuously grow. This means that squirrels have to constantly chew to keep their elongating teeth from hurting. Squirrels can chew through nearly any material – including cinderblocks and glass. They can gnaw large holes into wooden beams and drywall, potentially putting the structural integrity of a building at risk. Squirrels will chew through material to enter a home if they find it welcoming.

Another risky damage caused by squirrels is the destruction of electrical wiring. Squirrels can easily gnaw through electrical wires in your home, causing expensive replacements or – more frightening – a house fire. Squirrels can live between the walls of your home and chew interior wires, causing fires that start from the inside and burn their way out. This type of house fire is often deadly, since it’s hard to discover and staunch the flames before it’s too late.

Your lawn and outdoor property aren’t safe from squirrels either – they like to eat crops and fruits from gardens and can dig deep holes that damage root systems and weaken the foundation of structures.

Squirrels can also release irritating and disease-carrying parasites into homes that can latch onto children or household pets. Ticks, fleas, mites, and lice are commonly carried by squirrels and can live in the carpets of your home, feeding on the blood of warm-blooded prey (that includes humans!) and potentially transmitting viruses such as Lyme disease, or imparting disgusting tapeworms through their larva.

If you hear suspicious noises in your attic and have reason to believe it’s a squirrel infestation, don’t hesitate to call Critter Control of Jacksonville. We offer humane and safe wildlife removal as well as squirrel damage repair and exclusion methods to ensure they won’t be able to return.

Raccoon Damage

Jacksonville raccoonWhile raccoons are intelligent creatures that generally hide when approached by humans, they can spread diseases and wreak havoc on landscapes. Raccoons prefer to nest in dark, secluded spaces and can wriggle into many small, unsealed openings. They are often discovered nesting in chimneys, attics, and beneath homes. A raccoon nesting in your home can lead to the spread of unwanted parasites and viruses, as well as cause damage to your property.

Raccoons are mostly infamous due to their knack for creating huge messes. They dive into dumpsters and private trashcans, usually knocking them on their sides for easier access. They pick through every piece of garbage, often tearing open plastic bags and discarded food wrappers, and eat anything that’s edible. It’s typically easy to tell if a raccoon has been the critter getting into your garbage, since odds are your trash has been strewn halfway across the neighborhood.

Raccoons in Jacksonville are also adept diggers that will take to burrowing in the ground to find insects, grubs, and worms to eat. They can mar carefully manicured landscapes, leaving behind hazardous holes and unsightly piles of dirt.

The most dangerous form of raccoon damage, however, is to your health. Raccoon urine and feces left around your property can contain roundworms and giardia, and raccoons are one of the only species known to carry the rabies virus. While not common, raccoons also attack household pets or livestock, such as poultry, putting them in danger of contracting these diseases as well.

Never attempt to trap or catch raccoons on your own. You can put yourself at direct risk of getting bitten by a raccoon that might be carrying a dangerous disease. Call Critter Control of Jacksonville, and we’ll send a team of expert handlers to catch and relocate raccoons in a safe, humane way.

Common Raccoon Problems

raccoonsRaccoons are the pests that Jacksonville residents wish they didn’t have to hate. Known for their burglar masks and striped bottlebrush tails, raccoons look like fluffy, beloved household pets. While they can be fun to watch, homeowners need to be aware of the negative effects of leaving common raccoon problems unchecked.In the Jacksonville area, residents often have to deal with these common raccoon problems:

  • Human-raccoon interactions are very common, since there are an abundance of raccoons in the city, and they’ve grown used to the bustle of human activity.
  • Raccoons regularly break into buildings and homes for shelter, especially mother raccoons that need to settle in before giving birth.
  • Raccoons can squeeze into small entry points, allowing them access to the spaces between your walls, under your house, and inside vents and chimneys.
  • The long fingers of hungry raccoons often nab the food of pets and livestock, which can add significantly to food costs as well as expose pets to disease.
  • Raccoons are playful creatures that will steal shiny objects like coins, tin foil, or even jewelry – just for fun.
  • Damages caused by raccoons also extend to landscapes, as they like to dig holes for worms and grubs.
  • Hungry raccoons have snatched ornamental fish out of manmade ponds and drained birdfeeders of seeds, all in a night’s work.

 

As is the case with most wildlife nuisances, the common problems don’t end with physical damages – raccoons can also transmit disease through their urine, feces, parasites, and bite. Their excrement can transfer worms to household pets, and the parasites they carry, such as ticks, fleas, and mites, can infiltrate your home.

 

Critter Control professionals are trained to solve every common raccoon problems using methods that are safe for you, your property, the animal, and the environment. We practice non-harmful handling techniques and expert trapping services, and we can remove and relocate as many raccoons as necessary to make your property raccoon-free.

If you’re experiencing a raccoon infestation, give Critter Control of Jacksonville a call today!

Rat Proofing Your Home

Rats are wily critters who can sneak into just about any crack or crevice in your home. Tempted by the promise of warmth, food, and safety, rats target Jacksonville homes and offices to make their nests. Rats are content to stay in the same place as long as they can find food and water sources and don’t feel threatened. Take measures to rat-proof your home before any damage can be done.

Critter Control of Jacksonville offers rat prevention services. We’ll come to your home and assess any weak points that need to be addressed. From there, we’ll work on ensuring rats won’t be attracted to your home in the first place, and if they are, prevent them from entering.

Prevent Rats from Moving In
The most important step in rat prevention is to seal every entry point into your home. Entry points are usually not obvious, and it takes a rat specialist with the proper tools to find every entrance into your home. An adult rat can squeeze its body into a hole the size of a quarter; adolescent rats can fit into even smaller entry points.

Discourage Rats from Sticking Around
Sanitize your home and keep surfaces free from food debris and crumbs. Don’t leave food out overnight, and store food items in sealed containers. Clear out popular rat haunts, such as the attic, to eliminate potential hiding spots. Listen closely for strange noises, such as scuttles or thumps, coming from your walls or your attic, and immediately call a pest control service to inspect your home if you do hear signs of rats.

Call a Pest Control Expert
Spending money on rat traps, pesticides, and blocks of poison will only waste your money. These quick fixes won’t kill every rat nor prevent more from coming in. It will also lead to rats dying in your attic, often within your walls, leaving behind a dreadful stench and dangerous bacteria exposed to the air. Toxic chemicals can also put you and your family at risk if used incorrectly, especially if you have curious household pets.

Attempts at trapping rats yourself can result in getting bitten or scratched – a hazard that’s not only painful but can lead to contracting a rat-borne disease. The experts at Critter Control of Jacksonville know how to safely trap and remove rats in Jacksonville home attics, giving you honest, long-term relief from rats.

What Do Rats Eat?

Rats are omnivores and will eat just about anything they can find. They are notorious for their strong stomachs and voracious appetites. They need a steady influx of energy and therefore eat constantly. They aren’t particular about what they consume, and their diets can vary widely.

In today’s world, rats do not need to find their food in the wild, and they prefer easy meals from human trash and dropped crumbs. Your home is an easy target for a rat infestation due to their wide-ranging diet, and if you don’t act fast, they could move in for the long haul.

Favorite Rat Foods
Rats do have certain foods they prefer, mostly foods found in nature – seeds, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. But they won’t hesitate to snack on any loose crumbs or food leftover from meals. Rats also enjoy insects such as moths and flies, easily found in household attics. They don’t typically eat wood or other building materials, but they do chew it up to help their teeth. Rats love milk, and they can go longer than a camel without drinking water.

How to Keep From Feeding Rats
You should seal any food you keep in storage in airtight plastic or glass containers. A rat can easily chew through any type of bag (such as Ziplocs), so don’t keep food or bulk items in paper or plastic bags. Clean up any kitchen mess, and be sure to wipe down all hard-to-reach areas, including beneath cabinets and behind the refrigerator.

Don’t allow food to be taken into popular rat hideouts, such as the attic or garage, and remember to wipe up any liquid spills that could provide nourishment. Don’t leave any food or water out overnight. Mop up water that may collect in your sinks, showers, and bathtubs. Keep your home free from mosquitoes and moths.

Call Critter Control of Jacksonville to come seal any entry points that rats can use to come inside your home; we can safe and humanely exclude any rats already in your Jacksonville home or office.

Rat Facts

 Jacksonville roofratMost people in the Jacksonville area know that rats enjoy scavenging for food in human garbage and often build nests in home attics – but did you know that:
• Rats become depressed when alone; this is why they always travel in packs.
• Rats are excellent navigators due to their sharp memories. They never forget a passage once discovered.
• Rats are extremely adaptable creatures, able to survive in the toughest conditions and live for long periods of time without water.
• Without their long tails for balance, rats would not be the expert climbers and jumpers they are. The also use their tails for communication with other rats.
• Rats are more intelligent than rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters. This fact has led many labs to cease testing products on rats.
• An acute sense of smell makes up for rats’ poor eyesight and colorblindness.
• A full-grown rat can contour its body to fit into a quarter-sized hole in your home.

Rat-Borne Diseases
Rats have historically been the cause of several devastating diseases, including rat-bite fever, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV), bubonic plague, typhus, salmonellosis, and Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.

This list doesn’t include diseases carried by parasites such as mites, fleas, or ticks, which can be transmitted to humans if bitten by a parasite that has taken blood from a rat. Most rat-carried diseases are spread through exposure to their urine and feces, which easily contaminate a household’s store of food.

Escaping a Rat Infestation
Rats are clever, resourceful, sly, and destructive creatures – not the type of animal you want infesting your home. They can chew through cinder blocks, glass, and even aluminum without dulling their incredibly strong teeth. Allowing a rat infestation in your home can result in expensive repairs and expose your family to illness.

Critter Control of Jacksonville can solve a rat problem by trapping and removing rats, sealing openings into your home or business to bar further entry, and by sanitizing the area to eliminate the spread of disease.

What is That Smell in My Attic?

Is there a strange smell coming from your attic? You may have an animal living, or the carcass of an animal decaying, there. Here are some telltale signs the stench is originating from animals in your attic.

Dead Animal Smell

Squirrels, mice, rats and raccoons often die in homes after they’ve settled in for some time. Some may also pass after they trapped themselves inside without a way out to find food or water.

Of all animal smells, scents left behind by dead animals are the most noticeable. These smells will often permeate the house and may be more noticeable in rooms that are connected to the attic through your ventilation system.

If you suspect you may have a dead animal in your attic, you have two options: call a professional or wait it out. For a dead animal to fully decompose and the scent to dissipate, you may have to wait as long as a month.

Animal Droppings and Other Scents

Even if an animal hasn’t died in your attic, it can still leave a lingering odor in your home. Animals need a bathroom just as humans do, only they don’t mind using the floor. If you have an animal invasion in your attic, you’re also going to have animal droppings and urine, which can create a stench throughout your home.

The animal control experts at Critter Control of Jacksonville can locate foul animal smells coming from your attic or walls and eliminate the source. With decades of experience and relevant training, our dedicated wildlife specialists can safely remove the critters without damaging your home. Call us today for a free estimate!

Why You Shouldn’t Use Squirrel Repellant

Despite their cute appearance, squirrels tend to be incredibly destructive when in the home. They gnaw on wooden beams in your house and can introduce disease into your home. Their urine acts as a pheromone that invited other squirrels to the location. If squirrels have entered your home, the damage can be substantial, and action is necessary. Many people want to opt for Squirrel repellent, completely unaware that it is illegal and not recommended to use for many reasons:

Ineffective: Squirrels are very resilient. Most repellents contain scents and even urine of predators to ward off the intruders, but after the initial fear wears off, squirrels realize that there is no actual threat and return in greater numbers.

Toxicity: Many squirrel repellants contain ingredients that are harmful to squirrels. While they may be a nuisance, you need to remember that they are protected and intentionally harming squirrels is illegal.

Self-Harm: Often, people pump their attic full of repellants and even toxic elements such as moth balls which are not intended for such use. These odors can pile up and make their way back down into the house and easily poison those directly below.

Licensing: Squirrels should only be handled by licensed trappers, and in most states, you aren’t even allowed to collect squirrels in live traps unless you have the correct documentation.

Trust the Professionals

If you are dealing with a squirrel issue, you should never circumvent the law and attempt handling it yourself. Professionals should always be called upon to control such issues. Critter Control ® of Jacksonville has the proper licensing and understanding to handle squirrel infestation, safely and effectively while operating within the confines of the law. Call us for a quick quote at 904-221-8633 today.