Tuesday, February 23. 2021
Scratching! Chewing! Banging! Thumping! Chattering!
Regardless of the type of noise, you have animals in your attic. The first thought most homeowners have is to try and determine what animal is causing the noise. Is it possible to determine what kind of critter is living in your attic based on the type of noise they make? For the most part, yes.
The time of day you hear the noise and the combination of the different types of noises they make will provide some clues.
Raccoons: Being nocturnal, noises are most frequently heard at night but raccoons can also be active in the attic during the day, especially in the spring when the babies are born. Weighing between 5 to 26 kg (11 to 57 lb.) they can make quite a bit of noise. It is common to hear heavy walking and thumping. Homeowners have described the sounds to be similar to the moving of furniture. Very distinctive is the loud chattering noise the baby raccoons make. For the first three weeks their eyes and ears remain closed and when they are bothered or hungry they vocalize. The mother raccoon often has her babies above the master bedroom as it is the quietest place in the house during the day.
Squirrels: Being diurnal, mostly daytime noise is heard especially at dawn and dusk. But don’t rule out noises during mid day and nighttime as not being squirrels. They move quickly so quick scampering across the ceiling will be heard. A squirrels front teeth are constantly growing therefore it is common to hear them chewing on wood, drywall and wires. From outside the home running sounds in the soffits can be heard. Baby squirrels usually do not vocalize unless they are in distress. Therefore it is not possible to determine if you have squirrels by listening for the sounds the babies make. Hearing multiple animals quickly moving in the attic would mean that the babies have now grown-up and are now moving about in the attic. At this point they need to be removed immediately because the amount of damage caused to the house at this stage of their life is exponential.
Mice: Being nocturnal, nighttime noises are heard, caused by the chewing of mice. Mouse noises are almost always quite localized, homeowners will point at the ceiling and say “I hear it there.” This is the main difference between the noise caused by mice compared to that from raccoons and squirrels. Because they are so light weight they cannot be heard moving on top of the insulation in the attic. They tend to nest beneath the insulation, directly on the drywall and being rodents they constantly chew on their surroundings. In the dead of night the chewing sounds caused by mice can be perceived as the noise caused by raccoons and squirrel.
It is important to keep in mind that the acoustics of your home, the thickness of walls, presence or lack of insulation can have more of a bearing on the volume of noise than the size of the animal. We often get called out to remove what the homeowner thinks is a raccoon when it turns out to be mouse activity.
Regardless of what animal is living in your attic it is never a good idea to let them live there. While it is not their intent to cause damage the fact is, they do. They can chew on your wires, defecate in your attic, destroy your insulation, create odours, carry diseases and cause water damage and allergies. I love all animals and would never use fear tactics as a means of convincing someone to remove animals. But after 35 years of witnessing all that they are capable of doing, I feel strongly that they have no place in our homes.
Thursday, February 18. 2021
This coyote was spotted by one of our followers in Peticoat Creek on Sunday.
Winter is a common time to spot coyotes because food is scarcer, forcing coyotes further out of their normal habitats, and they're emboldened by the fact people mostly stay indoors. The lack of foliage also makes them easier to spot.
Coyotes are always going to be part of the landscape. It's just certain times of year when they start being seen in our backyards.
If you spot a coyote in your neighbourhood, you can reach out to an amazing organization called Coyote Watch Canada. Coyote Watch Canada is a Federal Not-For-Profit community-based, wildlife organization which advocates positive human wildlife experiences.
The wildlife centre receives about 30,000 calls a year about coyotes and coyote sightings, but attacks are almost unheard of.
Coyote Watch Canada has the following advice on their website regarding what to do if a fox or coyote is near:
- Pick up small children and pets
- Never run from or turn your back on a coyote/fox/wolf/domestic dog
- Wave your arm(s) above your head, stomp feet, clap hands. Surprise gestures work best. Be assertive!
- Be BIG and LOUD! Yell “Go away!” Never scream. A strong voice and assertive gestures send a clear message.
- Slowly back away. Maintain eye contact and remember never to run.
Wednesday, February 17. 2021
Congratulations it’s a Baby Raccoon!
Today our Vice President Pete was called out to a residence in Scarborough to investigate noises coming from a basement fireplace. As he began to investigate the area behind the fireplace he couldn’t believe his ears, it was the sound of chittering of baby raccoons. This was a surprise to Pete because seeing babies this early in the season is highly unusual. In our 36 year history we have not seen baby raccoons being born this soon in February. Although our baby reunion boxes are equipped with a heating pad to keep the babies warm, when the outside temperatures are as cold as they are today we choose not to expose the babies to any potential harm. We left them in the fireplace with their mother and we will return when the weather is more conducive to performing a humane removal.
Tuesday, February 16. 2021
When homeowners begin to hear wildlife moving about in the attic, they fear that the animal will come through the ceiling and into the house. While some wildlife removal companies will play-up this fear as a common occurrence to create added concern in the mind of the customer, it is actually a fairly uncommon situation.
The truth of the matter is that the animals have no idea that there are rooms below the attic and have zero intention of exploring that. However, holes in the ceiling can be created by snow and rain seeping through the animals entry hole and cause softening of the drywall to the point where it may collapse. Also, an animals' habitually chewing or clawing at the drywall from inside the attic may create a hole that is noticeable from inside the house. If a homeowner should discover a hole in the ceiling it should be covered over immediately. Animals are curious by nature and if the light from the room below is allowed to shine into the dark attic space it will attract them to the opening. This may result in the hole being enlarged to the point where they will want to jump into the room below.
During my 37 years in business I have witness about 20 situations where an animal either fell or climbed down from a hole in the ceiling into the room below. In all these cases the homeowners had prior knowledge of the ceiling being compromised by water or chewing and chose to ignore it. Over time the ceiling either collapsed or the animals made the hole bigger and ended up inside the house.
Having said all this homeowners should not dismiss the fact that animals are capable of causing considerable damage to roofs, drywall, insulation and wiring. The longer the animals are allowed to live in the attic the more extensive the damage will be. Therefore, wildlife should be removed as soon as possible especially at this time of year because baby season is only a month away.
Wednesday, February 10. 2021
Who made this mysterious hole?
This past fall I came across this rather large perfectly excavated hole in the side of this tree. These are classic holes made by a foraging Pileated woodpecker. Pileated woodpeckers are looking for insects such as carpenter ants and beetle larvae that are deep beneath the bark of the tree.
The holes are often square or rectangle in shape and look as if they have been made with a saw or chisel. The reason the holes are so regular in shape is because grain of the cedar tree is so straight and when the woodpeckers hammers with its bill into the trunk, long straight pieces of wood are excavated.
For those of you that have seen or heard of a Pileated Woodpecker, it is a very tall bird (16 - 19 inches tall with a large blood red crest on its head and white and black body plumage. To see one in real life is a sighting you will not soon forget.
Wednesday, February 3. 2021
Sometimes things don’t go as planned!
When a beaver decides to take down a tree it really has no idea what direction it is going to fall. Sometimes it can even be fatal for the beaver if the tree falls on top of them. While walking in the woods near my house I came across this tree that had been felled by the local beaver. Unfortunately for the beaver the tree did not fall towards the land but rather perched itself over the river, preventing it from harvesting the the branches that it loves to eat.
When you look closely at the effort it took to gnaw through the trunk of the tree, it was no small feat. Rather than abandon the tree and take down another one, this beaver decided it would snack on the bark that it could reach by standing up tall on the ground.
Zoom in on the right side of the trunk and the branches that were accessible to the beaver, you can see the individual marks that were made by the beavers incisors. Pretty cool!