What to Do if You Hear Scratching in Walls at Night?

What To Do If You Hear Scratching In Walls At Night

Are you heating Scratching in Walls at Night? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many homeowners have experienced this unsettling sound and it’s often a sign of unwanted animal guests in your walls.

Regardless of the type of pest you’re facing, it’s advisable to engage the services of professionals to resolve the issue. Once they’ve eliminated the problem, it’s crucial to implement preventive measures to avoid a future recurrence of such an infestation.

First Identify Nighttime Pests

Identify Nighttime Pests

Let’s put your racing mind at ease. Each nocturnal pest you could potentially encounter possesses unique characteristics that can assist you in deciphering the source of the scratching sounds in your walls, especially when you’re concerned about the mysterious noises in the night. We’re here to guide you on identifying the most prevalent nighttime pests.

  1. Rats and Mice

If you notice scratching sounds within your walls during the night, it could be a sign of rats or mice taking up residence in your home. The soft scurrying and patter of tiny feet are distinct auditory hints pointing towards rat or mouse infestation. Both these rodents share similar traits. They move quietly, making them less audible than other pests. Typically, they stay close to entry points like doors, walls, windows, and wall gaps. These rodent species are primarily nocturnal, although you might hear them occasionally during the day. Evidences like exposed wires, chew marks on wood, and damaged insulation due to their gnawing habits indicate their presence in your attic or walls. Rats and mice not only carry diseases and harmful bacteria but can also cause significant damage to your home. Among the two, mice are more likely to venture into living spaces (like the kitchen and pantry) in search of food, while rats are generally satisfied dwelling in the attic or walls and sourcing their food from outside.

Distinguishing between rats and mice becomes straightforward once you know what indicators to observe. One of the most reliable differentiators is their feces. Mouse droppings are typically around 0.25 inches long with pointed ends, resembling grains of rice, whereas rat droppings are larger, around 0.75 inches, and resemble shiny, brick-like pellets (the appearance of rat droppings can vary among species). While mice are more prone to venture into your living areas in search of food, both species are known for their voracious appetites. Mice tend to construct nests closer to the ground, whereas rats can navigate their way through pipes, cracks, and vents. Additionally, rats are significantly larger than mice — they can reach lengths of 12 to 18 inches from snout to tail, while mice usually measure between 6 to 7 inches.

  1. Raccoons

Raccoons are considerably larger than most pests, so if they’ve taken residence in your home, their movements will generally produce slower, heavier sounds. Indications of a raccoon infestation include scratching, dragging, and thumping noises, often heard shortly after dusk as they prepare to venture out for the night or just before dawn when they return. Raccoons are quite vocal, emitting a unique chittering sound.

Despite being nocturnal, raccoons don’t require much sleep and are constantly on the go. This can lead to loud and disruptive noises at any time, day or night. These creatures are carriers of rabies and can inflict serious damage to your home’s wiring and insulation. They may also display aggressive behavior towards household pets.

  1. Bats

Bats, creatures often associated with the night, are renowned for their nocturnal habits. However, during daylight hours, they require a hideout and often inhabit spaces like attics, eaves, soffits, areas behind siding, barns, silos, and chimneys. Bats can be somewhat tricky to detect compared to other pests, but there are certain unique signs. Pay attention to the sound of fluttering wings at night, staining on exterior walls, and loud, high-pitched squeaking or clicking noises.

Bat droppings, referred to as guano, can accumulate rapidly if bats decide to extend their stay in your home. Sometimes, the quantity of guano left by bats can cause your ceiling to sag and emit a foul, ammonia-like smell. Bats are carriers of diseases such as rabies, and their droppings can harbor numerous diseases, including histoplasmosis (a fungal respiratory disease). Thus, it’s crucial for health and safety reasons to keep them out of your home.

  1. Opossums

Opossums are known to flourish in urban and suburban environments, often becoming pervasive pests in many communities. One clear indicator of their presence in your home is their distinctive rear footprint, thanks to their opposable thumbs. Disrupted or toppled over garbage bins also hint at opossums being the culprits. They typically leave droppings along their frequently used paths, so consistently finding unfamiliar feces in similar spots could suggest an opossum infestation.

Being nocturnal, opossums are mostly active during the night. Their soft footsteps or the gentle “choo-choo” sounds from their young ones could be audible. Though their body temperature is typically too low to harbor rabies, they can still be carriers of other serious diseases like tuberculosis, leptospirosis, Chagas disease, tularemia, among others. While they do consume ticks, they may also introduce fleas and other parasites into your home. Explore further information regarding regulations concerning the removal of bats.

Steps to Take If You Hear Scratching in Walls at Night

Steps To Take If You Hear Scratching In Walls At Night

You need to call a pest control professional like Faircloth Wildlife and Chimney Sweeps immediately if you suspect an infestation of any sort in your home. They will inspect your home and the surrounding area to identify the type of pest present and devise an action plan for their removal. Since most pests are active during the night, they will set up traps or exclusion devices to capture them.

If you prefer to handle the removal personally, it is imperative to follow these steps:

1st step: Identify the source of the scratching noise by inspecting your attic, crawl space, or wall voids for any signs of wildlife infestation.

2nd step: Once you’ve identified the culprit, take appropriate action to remove them from your home. This may involve calling a professional pest control service to safely and humanely remove the animal.

3rd step: Seal up any entry points or potential openings in your home that may allow wildlife to enter. This could include any gaps or holes in your walls, roof, windows, and doors.

4th step: Clean up any droppings or debris left behind by the animal infestation. Wear protective gear such as gloves and a mask while doing this task.

5th step: Take preventative measures to avoid future wildlife infestations. This includes securing your trash cans, clearing out any food sources around your home, and keeping your yard well-maintained.

While opossums may not be as destructive as other wildlife, they can still cause problems if left unchecked. Taking prompt action at the first sign of an invasion is essential to prevent further damage and keep your home safe and healthy. Remember, prevention is key in avoiding unwanted animal guests in your home.

Please be aware that certain states have laws in place to protect opossums and other wildlife from harm. Before taking any action to remove them from your property, it is crucial to consult with your local authorities to ensure compliance with guidelines and regulations.

FAQs About Scratching in Walls at Night

A rat in a wall can sound like scratching, scurrying, or gnawing noises. They may also make high-pitched squeaks or chattering sounds.

Signs of animals in your attic may include strange noises at night, droppings or urine stains, and damage to insulation or wiring.

To prevent rodents from entering your home, seal any potential entry points, keep food sources secure, and maintain a clean and clutter-free environment. It is also essential to regularly inspect and maintain your home for any signs of rodent activity.

If you come across an injured or orphaned animal, it is important to contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for assistance. Attempting to care for the animal yourself can do more harm than good and may also be illegal in some areas.


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