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We know that you want the answer to be no, but when you hear sounds coming from your attic, there's a pretty good chance that you have a family living up there, regardless of the species. It could be a squirrel. It might be a raccoon. There's a chance it could even be rats. Or opossums. Or skunks. It's still likely to be a family.
There are quite a few signs that you can look out for when you believe you have a squirrel infestation on your hands. Nocturnal animals, such as raccoons and rodents, generally make the most noise at night — when the rest of the house or building is asleep. Everything else is quiet all around, so the noises that the nocturnal animals make rings through the night, seemingly louder than everything else.
You don't always have that luxury with squirrels. They aren't nocturnal; they stay awake during the day, much like people. The heat of the midday sun isn't always too pleasant, so there's a good chance that squirrels will return to the nest to have a brief nap, but in the morning and early afternoon, these animals can be seen scampering around all over the place. They are pretty active, but because everything else around them is so noisy — traffic and the humdrum of everyday life — they are barely heard.
Just because you can't hear them doesn't mean they're not there, however; squirrel infestation signs can also include scratching and chewing marks. Squirrels both scratch and chew but, then again, so do many other wild critters.
When you start to take a closer look around, perhaps even venturing up into the attic, you will find that the signs and sounds of squirrels become more obvious. The smell of a wild animal nest is undeniably ‘wild-scented,' the smell of urine and feces filling the air. As is the case with many wild animal families, not all of the family will survive the first few months. Many young within a litter of squirrels can die before they reach maturity. If this is the case, you can add the scent of dead and rotting carcasses to the mix.
The closer you get, the worse the smell will be. You'll probably start to see and hear them more too. If it's quiet enough in the attic, there's a chance you'll hear the youngsters calling for their mother.
Chances are, if you hear sounds coming from the attic it WILL be a mother animal with her young, whether it's a squirrel or something else. Spring is the season of birth. Mothers may nurse their young for many months, up to a year in some cases. When the time comes for that first family to grow up and leave the nest, the mother is ready to mate again, and the cycle starts all over again.
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does squirrel removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of squirrels - my main squirrel removal info guide.
Example squirrel trapping photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Squirrel job blog - learn from great examples of squirrel jobs I've done.
Squirrels in the attic - what to do to solve the problem.