squirrels in the attic, as well as a few things you can try to positively identify the pest as a squirrel.
In addition to the damage they can cause to homes, these rodents carry a host of parasites and diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Identifying the problem and coming up with a plan for removal should be done promptly.
Squirrels are active during the day and sleep at night. Many homeowners report hearing the most sounds early in the morning and at dusk. Sounds of scampering are heard coming from the attic and because they are fairly large rodents, the sounds they make are louder than those of rats and mice.
Over time, the smell of squirrel urine will become noticeable. Worse, a foul stench may begin to emanate from somewhere in the home - this could indicate that there is a dead squirrel inside (either an adult or its young).
Put down a piece of cardboard with some flour spread over it. Place this near an area where you suspect squirrels are living - for example, near a nest or an entry point. When they run across the cardboard, their paws will make tracks in the flour. Squirrel tracks look similar to rabbit tracks. They "bound" when they move, so their rear paws come up ahead of (or alongside) their front paws. The rear paws are long, larger the the front paws, and have 5 toes. Some people say the tracks look similar to the skeleton outline of a human hand. The front paws are shorter and only have 4 toes.
Squirrel nests are big, messy, and tend to be loosely constructed of various materials. Some of these materials can include twigs, bits of bark, leaves, vines, moss, and even shredded bits from homes (insulation, papers, wood, etc).
Rodent poop identification is usually not that easy for homeowners. Even so, a description may help in trying to identify the pest in the house. Squirrel droppings are oblong in shape, rounded on the ends, and approximately 3/8" to 1/2" long (similar to the size of a raisin). Fresh droppings are dark brown. The older the droppings, the lighter they get. If all you see are light-colored droppings then the squirrel issue may not be recent.
Chewing comes naturally to squirrels. They can easily gnaw a hole into your house. Look for small holes that serve as entry points, generally high up and close to a tree (or tree branch) where they can leap onto your house. Roofs (or rooflines) and chimneys are common entry points. These little rodents are great little climbers too, so even if you don't have trees on your property, that doesn't mean you don't have squirrels!
If you're still not sure that you have squirrels, it's time to call in a professional pest control service who can inspect the home and identify the type of pest you have. They can also tell you if you're dealing with just one or two individual pests, or an infestation. They can then discuss with you a squirrel control or removal plan, including any available humane pest control methods. Humane methods and traps will lower the risk of unnecessary stress or injury to the squirrel and/or their babies. Because these little rodents can cause significant damage to a home - including causing fire hazards - it's important to promptly deal with squirrels in the attic.