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Squirrels or mice in the attic?

It is important to identify the difference between a squirrel and mouse infestation. Both can be bothersome to homeowners and cause severe property damage but the process to remove and control them is not the same. The best place to start is distinguishing the behaviour characteristics of both rodents.

Signs of mice in your house

Usually sound is the first sign of mice in the attic or walls. Hearing them. At night there will be a scratching or scurrying noise. Mainly coming from behind the wall or ceiling. It might sound like they’re running. They can be heard in the ceiling as well.


Mouse poop and urine stains below a bathroom sink.

Mice, like all rodents, need to chew on objects to keep their teeth sharp. Many homeowners with a mouse infestation will hear them chewing on wood and other materials in the walls and attic. Banging on the wall or ceiling might quiet them down temporarily, but they tend to start back up in the location minutes later.

Mice are nocturnal. They forage at night. So, most noise can be heard when the sun is down. The loudest period is right after dark. Mice eat and drink outside. They’re leaving the nest in your home to forage. Most noise is created as they exit and enter. Volume can vary from faint to loud. Depending on where they are according to you.


Mouse tunneling through attic insulation.

A visual of mice, their nest or droppings is another good indicator. It’s pretty difficult to confuse the rodent with a squirrel if you see one in your house. Mice are far more likely than squirrels to venture into the living space of your home in search of food. Wherever they go they leave droppings behind. Mouse dropping are small dark pellets, smaller than a grain of rice.

Signs of squirrels in your house

Again, noise is one of the first indicators. It may seem confusing between mice and squirrels, but their sounds are quite different. A lot depends on location. Squirrels rarely get into walls.  They generally nest in your attic. Squirrels are most active in the morning at first light and in the evening when they return to the nest after foraging. You can rule out a squirrel problem if you consistently hear activity through the night.

Outside of baby season squirrels don’t vocalize much. They are fast and scurry or run in the attic. They can also get into the roof or chimney.

Sometimes you can hear the sound of nuts rolling around. A mother squirrel can give birth to up to six babies twice a year. When babies are born in the spring and summer noise levels tend to increase dramatically.

Squirrels need a larger hole than mice to get inside your house – usually about the size of a baseball. They cause more noticeable damage inside attics while gnawing on wood and wires and compacting insulation. The critter lives above insulation and flattens it rather than tunnel below like mice.


Squirrel damage inside an attic.

Squirrel droppings are larger brown pellets and over time their urine can cause odour issues inside a home.

They both can be prevented using similar methods

  • Sealing entry points.
  • Regular maintenance to your yard and house.
  • Removing food sources.
  • Keep clean living area.
  • Call a professional.

Ottawa wild animal control

Before tackling any wildlife problem it’s important to identify what species you’re dealing with. Once you discover signs of regular wildlife visitors contact Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control. Our technicians have the training and experience needed to assess the situation and implement a customized wildlife removal program.

Call today to book and inspection! 1-888-592-0387

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About the author:Founder of Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control in 1989. Canada's largest urban wildlife removal and exclusion company. Industry leader and pioneer. Split, Scram, Scoot! However you want to say it, Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control has helped over 200,000 home owners and businesses safely and effectively resolve their wildlife issues. Happy to discuss business and franchising opportunities

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