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Animal Noises in Attics

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One of the most obvious signs that animals have entered your attic is strange noises. In fact, the most common nuisance wildlife complaint we hear from homeowners is weird noises coming from their attic.

Paying attention to these noises and noting when they happen can go a long way toward helping you identify the nuisance animals in your attic.

Animals make two types of noises: movement noises and vocalizations. Paying attention to both will help you quickly identify the animal in question.

The Most Common Animal Noises in Attic - Movements

Thumping/banging/knocking. Heavy sounds like these are most often caused by raccoons, which are some of the largest nuisance animals. You might also hear dragging sounds as raccoons move things around in search of food.

Rolling/Dragging. These sounds are caused by squirrels, who commonly roll nuts to storage areas. As mentioned above, raccoons can also make dragging sounds, but they will likely be heavier/louder.

Scampering/scurrying. Small animals such as rats or mice often make light scurrying noises. These will be most audible at night, when rodents are most comfortable running around your home.

Gnawing. Mice and rats have to constantly gnaw on things to keep their incisors from growing too long. This gnawing reverberates through wood and often sounds like heavy scratching, or maybe a small saw at work.

Flapping. Birds and bats make flapping and fluttering noises which sound similar. The difference between the two is that bats are nocturnal and will start making noise at dusk, whereas birds make their noise during the day. Bird fluttering can also be accompanied by birdsong, of course.

Listen to a Raccoon in the Ceiling

The Most Common Animal Noises in Attic - Vocalizations


Squirrels have a wide range of vocalizations, including squeaks, barks, and grunts. When distressed, young squirrels make high-pitched chirping noises that sound similar to birds.


Mice make  squeaking noises, while rats communicate at a frequency that cannot be detected by the human ear. However, when a rat is afraid or in pain, it might make squeaking or hissing sounds.


Bats can be harder to hear. It is more likely you’ll notice their droppings than hear bat noises.

As for identifying bats’ sounds, their vocalizations sound like squeaks and chirps. Residents most often hear bat sounds at night or in the early morning when the pests are either leaving or returning from their search for food. If there is a larger colony in your attic, the bat chirps are louder.

When Do You Hear the Noises?

Pay attention to the time of day you hear the noises. Is it during the day or night? This can clue you in to what animal has taken up residence in your attic. Raccoons, bats, rats and mice are nocturnal, whereas squirrels and birds are diurnal.

Unsure what animal is making the noise?

Having animals in your attic isn’t merely annoying; it can quickly become a costly and even hazardous ordeal. 

Nuisance animals often carry diseases, defecate and urinate on insulation (which necessitates costly replacement), and can chew through electrical wires, increasing the risk of a house fire. It is for these reasons that a wildlife infestation must be addressed promptly once it is discovered. 

Our team of wildlife professionals will ensure that your infestation is dealt with in a humane and expedient manner.

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