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Should I Ignore Scratching in my Walls and Ceiling?
It’s late at night. All is quiet. Except for the scratch, scratch, scratch of tiny feet in the ceiling above your head.
It’s tempting to ignore it. It’s probably just a stray mouse pattering around. Can’t do any harm, you think. Can it?
The reality is the scratching may come from a bird, mouse, rat or possum – one or multiples – and if it’s rodents, they love gnawing through the wiring and plumbing so vital to your home.
Birds nesting in your roof may spread mites, fleas and disease, while possums chew cables and wood, leaving a messy trail behind them.
If you have creatures living up there, it also leaves you open to an infestation of insects attracted to the droppings.
However much you love wildlife, it’s best not to house it in your ceiling!
What are some of the signs of unwelcome guests in your roof space?
Try and work out the nature of the sound you’re hearing.
- The sound of a scurrying mouse is almost continuous, while a rat running has a more distinct sound from the impact of their paws.
- Biting or gnawing sounds can be heard when rodents sharpen their teeth on plumbing, wiring or cables, or gnaw around entry holes to make them bigger.
- Birds can be detected flying or flapping their wings, and sometimes calling.
- Possums can sound as if they have boots on, but it’s often difficult to tell if they’re on top of the roof or inside it.
It’s worth investigating your attic for droppings – this should tell you who is sharing your house. Here’s a quick droppings ID list.
- Mouse droppings are thin and spindle-shaped with pointed ends (0.5cm)
- Brown rat droppings are blunt and spindle-shaped (1.5-2cm)
- Black rat droppings are pointed and sausage-shaped (1.5cm)
- Possum droppings are generally jelly bean sized, brown and cigar-shaped with a sweet or eucalyptus smell.
Entry holes in the attic
While you’re up there, scout around for any obvious or hidden entry points for wildlife.
Rats and mice can squeeze through the tiniest hole, and will make this their regular entry. They are also adept at gnawing around the hole to open it up and make access easier, chewing through wood, plastic, metal and even concrete if necessary.
Rats and mice have large, constantly growing incisor teeth which sharpen to chisel points through persistent use. They often choose to gnaw wiring, plumbing, joists or items stored in the attic to keep their teeth worn down and super-sharp.
Protecting our possums
Please be aware that possums are a protected species in Australia and it is illegal to kill them. They should be relocated within 50 metres of the property they were removed from (25 metres in Queensland), as they face being killed by other possums if introduced into other territories. Check regulations relating to possum removal in your own state.
Plugging up your roof
It’s important to plug up all available holes in your roof space – but only after you’ve treated the infestation and removed creatures living there. If you want to call the experts in home pest control, Pioneer is one of the best pest control companies available to remove every kind of pest from your home and work to prevent their return.