If you have wildlife living in your home, you’ll hear a lot of unusual sounds. You might hear thumping, squeaking, scratching, slithering, or chirping. Each type of animal will make its own unique sounds, making it easier to identify what’s living in your home.
Scratching in walls, though, can be made from many different forms of wildlife. Animals will scratch as they build their nests, bury food, or walk around. And, unfortunately, it’s the most difficult noise to link to a particular animal. If an animal has claws—and they pretty much all do—it’ll scratch. The volume of scratching doesn’t indicate the size of the animal, either, so no luck determining the animal from that factor alone.
Some animals, however, are more likely culprits than others when it comes to scratching in walls. If you pay close attention, you might be able to determine which type of wildlife is in your wall.
Here are the top five contenders.
Bats are relatively quiet. In fact, homeowners could have colonies of bats living in their attics and not realize it for several years. Most often, homeowners will be alerted to their presence after they fall behind walls.
Juvenile bats in particular tend to fall into wall crevices quite often when they’re just starting to learn to move around. Once behind the wall, they’ll quickly become disoriented. If they can’t fly yet, they’ll try to climb their way out, scratching along the way. You might also hear squeaking sounds if they’re stuck.
Bats are nocturnal creatures, so you’ll most likely hear their scratching in walls at night.
Mice are some of the most common culprits for scratching sounds heard behind walls and in ceilings. Along with scratching, you’ll likely hear the skittering of their light footsteps as they run around. You might also hear what sounds like chewing or gnawing as well if you have mice in the home.
Mice are most active at night, but they can also be active during the day if they need to forage for food. You could hear their scratching noises day or night, but most often when your home is calm and quiet and the mice feel as though they’re safe from danger.
Just like bats, birds can also get trapped in your walls. Birds enter homes in order to find warm, comfortable spaces to build their nests. They might end up getting stuck in walls while searching for a prime nesting site.
If you have a bird stuck in your wall, you might hear flapping as well as chirping sounds in combination with the scratching noises. They’ll make quite the commotion trying to get lose.
Birds are diurnal—they’re active during the day. This makes it easier to determine whether you’re dealing with a bat or bird in the wall if you’re hearing flapping as well as scratching from their claws.
Raccoons tend to make their presence known quickly. They’re big animals and they make different types of loud noises. Most often, these noises will come from your attic in the dead of night. If they’re stuck inside your home, they might scratch at your drywall in an attempt to find an exit point so they can leave.
The scratching sounds from raccoons will be heard in conjunction with thumps and thuds.
This time of the year is squirrel baby season. Because of this, squirrels are making their way into attics in order to give birth and rear their young. This makes the squirrel a top contender for the animal scratching in walls.
Squirrels make scratching sounds that are similar to those of mice. However, they’re daytime creatures and will cause the majority of the ruckus during the day.