Animals in Your Attic? Follow This 5-Step Plan for Removal and Prevention

Bry'Ana Arvie
Written by Bry'Ana Arvie
Updated December 29, 2021
squirrel on to of roof of house
Photo: leekris / Adobe Stock

Your attic doesn’t have to be the local wildlife’s playhouse

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Hearing a knocking sound that seems like it’s coming from the inside of your home can be a little alarming when you know it’s not your washing machine. But it’s a common occurrence when you have animals in your attic. This guide will help you identify the animals in your attic and teach you how to have them removed safely and humanely by a pro.

1. Contact a Wildlife Removal Service

While painting your front door a sunny yellow and creating a raised garden bed are great DIY tasks, animal removal is not. We highly recommend that you contact a wildlife removal company to fix this problem for you. 

Your animal housemates may not be happy to have you in the attic and could bite or scratch when you try to evict them. But when you contact a licensed and insured local wildlife removal company to help rid you of your problem, they’ll have the experience and equipment needed to safely and humanely remove animals from your home. 

They’ll know what animals are in your attic, what removal method is best, where to release the removed animals, and what you should do to keep them out for good.  

The typical price for removing wildlife from your attic is $200 to $500. The final price is dependent on how severe the infestation is and what animals need to be removed, with prices reaching $1,500 for squirrel and raccoon removal

2. Keep Everyone in Your Home Away From the Attic

While you’re waiting for pros to remove the animals from your attic, ensure your family and pets stay far away from it. 

Animals such as raccoons and squirrels will attack if they feel threatened, so it’s best to stay clear of them until a pro can safely remove them from your home. 

3. Thoroughly Clean Your Attic After Wildlife Removal

wooden stairs to attic of house
Photo: annebel146 / Adobe Stock

Cleaning your attic from top to bottom is another way to avoid future infestations. How can this keep animals out of your attic? Some wildlife animals—like rats—are attracted to poop. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you need to remove the potentially contaminated urine, droppings, nesting, and decontaminate the air. 

Here are the steps to cleaning your attic: 

  • Step 1: Let fresh air in before clearing any contaminated air out

  • Step 2: Use proper safety gloves and dust masks and create a solution made from one part bleach and nine parts water or any household disinfectant 

  • Step 3: Saturate any urine, droppings, and nesting that you’ve found and remove them from your attic

  • Step 4: Mop your floors using your chosen disinfectant

  • Step 5: Remove any exposed insulation 

  • Step 6: Clean any areas and belongings impacted by animals 

4. Perform Annual Attic Inspections

Wild animals can often get into your attic from your roof, chimney, vent, etc. But by performing annual attic inspections, a home inspector would be able to tell you if you have any openings in those areas that you need to fix.

And by performing annual or bi-annual attic inspections, you’ll know if any new openings need addressing so you can potentially fix those issues before you have unwanted house guests in your attic. 

Getting a home inspector to inspect your attic can cost $200 to $500.

5. Seal Up Entry Points

To keep your attic free of animals, you’ll need to seal up every entry point. They can use the smallest gap as their ticket into your home, or they can make it big enough for them to enter.  

For the exterior, if you’re experienced using a ladder, you can climb on your roof and use steel wool to patch up minor gaps and use sheet metal for the larger ones. You can also replace any open vents that you might have. However, if you’re not DIY savvy, especially with being on your roof, this is a task you should leave up to an expert. 

Even if you patched up holes on the outside, it’s better to err on the side of caution and patch up any you see in your attic as well to work as a double barrier. Also, it’ll help you cover up any leftover spots from the outside or attic vents that you probably missed. 

What Animals Get Into Attics?

close up red brick roof attic
Photo: tamas / Adobe Stoc

So what type of animals can you find in your attic anyway? While animals are usually restricted to their geographical locations, below are some of the most common ones homeowners find in their attic. 


Rats often go where there’s clutter and water available to them. They get into your attic by chewing through small holes until they’re big enough for them to fit through or by entering through uncovered attic vents.  


Since squirrels nest in warm, dry areas, that’s why they might target an attic. They can chew their way into your attic from the vents, roof, or chimney. 


Most often, it’s mother raccoons that take up shelter in your attic because they’re looking for a warm, dry place to give birth. Raccoons can get into your attic through openings in your roof, shingles, eaves, or even creating their own opening where they can. 


The tricky thing about bats is that they can get into your home with a hole that’s 6 millimeters or the length of a dime. So if there are gaps in your soffit or framing, they can squeeze their way inside. They might also use a damaged roof, vent, chimney, or siding. 


Possums in your attic can be looking for a safe place to birth their young. And since they’re excellent climbers, they’ll enter your attic from an easy entry point. 


While looking for a place to have babies, birds can enter your attic and create a nest. They’ll use any opening they can find to get into your attic, whether it’s from your roof, chimney, vent, or soffits.  


Snakes … in an attic? Climbing snakes like the yellow rat snake can actually climb up to 60 feet and enter your home through small holes in your roof foundation. Typically, yellow rat snakes will only come into your home because they’re after other rodents such as rats. 

What Signs and Sounds to Look for With Animals in Your Attic

While loud sounds coming from your attic is a good indication that something is going on up there that you don’t want, not all of them are that obvious. 

Let’s look at some other signs that can point to animals in your attic and have you scurrying to remove them:

  • Urine and droppings: While you might not immediately notice urine, strong odors are another sign. 

  • Nests: You can identify these nests as a pile of paper, twigs, grass, or anything they can find. Depending on the wildlife in your attic, you might also notice damage to your wiring, insulation, and ducts that they used to create their makeshift nest.

  • Strange sounds: Listen for gnawing, squeaking, scurrying, slithering, and scampering.

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