How to Know if There Is a Large Pest in Your Attic

large pests

As children, we saw the attic as a strange, mysterious (often creepy) place, where something was lurking in the shadows, hiding in the dark. As adults, we realize our previous fears were not entirely blown out of proportion—except instead of supernatural beings or things that go bump in the night living inside of your attic––it’s large, destructive pests

During the long winter months, it’s very common for larger pests to move into warm, private spaces, such as your attic, to seek warmth and food. Here are some common signs that there might be a large animal taking up rent in your space. 

Large Pests That Hide in Attics

If you’ve seen a pest in the attic, on the roof, or around your home, it’s possible they’re hiding out in your attic. These pests include: 

  • Birds
  • Rats
  • Squirrels
  • Opossums
  • Raccoons

You Aren’t Just Hearing Noises

One of the first signs of an attic infestation is hearing scurrying, scratching, or crawling from overhead. Don’t just expect to hear noises from the attic—if rats or smaller vermin are living in your home, you’ll likely hear it from within the walls, too. 

Nocturnal Activity

Most pests are nocturnal, which means they’re more likely to make their appearances at night. If you only hear unexplained scratching during the night, this is a good indication that a large pest is hiding in your attic, or somewhere on your property.

Unexplained Droppings

Droppings, big or small, are a great indicator of animal activity on your property. If you notice larger droppings, you can guarantee a large animal left them. If the droppings are small and pellet-shaped, you likely have bat or mice activity. Droppings that are oblong indicate the presence of a rat. Thicker oblong droppings likely belong to a squirrel or a raccoon. 

Strange Smells

Along with unexplained droppings, you’ll probably notice a stench. Droppings from opossums and rats have very strong odors, and you’ll notice them right away. 


Your home is a warm, welcoming environment, so many pests will try to make it their home. In general, rats and squirrels are known for creating nests made of leaves, sticks, and paper. If you come across a nest during a home inspection, it’s likely you have a critter or two living inside. 

Misplaced Screens and Roofing Tiles

While doing a routine home inspection, did you notice anything missing? It’s very common for large pests like raccoons to remove screens and roofing tiles to create an access point—unlike mice and other small rodents, which look for an existing hole in the wall.

Damaged Insulation

Large animals like raccoons use their sharp, non-retractable claws to tear into insulation and damage structures. Whether you notice torn bits of insulation littering your crawl space, or your HVAC doesn’t seem to be working like it used to, there’s a chance a pest has made a home in your ductwork. 

Are you noticing more activity in your attic lately? When dealing with pests, you need professionals who know what signs to look out for and how to treat the problem. Our pest control technicians are ready to help! Contact us today.