Thursday, July 1, 2010

What is the Scratching I Hear in My Roof?

I get questioned occasionally about how to tell what it is that is making a scratching noise in a roof. "Is it rats, mice or birds........or elephants?"

If you are hearing scratching or gnawing sounds in your roof void it is unlikely to be elephants (well, not fully grown ones) but what ever it is can sound 'pretty big.' Ceilings amplify sound like the sounding boards of musical instruments. And if the noises are heard at night when there is little other sound our ears are more sensitive and amplify the noise in our minds.

A good guide to deciding whether the noise is caused by birds, rodents or other animals is the timing of the noises. If you are hearing the noise predominantly in the middle of the night, you almost certainly are sharing your home with rats or mice. If the noises are only occurring during the day or at dusk and dawn check around the eaves for birds entering and leaving.


OK. So you are hearing the noises in the middle of the night. Is it rats or mice? Rats are larger and do make louder noise but that is little help if you have nothing to compare with. Listen instead for the frequency of the scurrying feet. Mice make a sound where their paw sounds follow each other so quickly it is very difficult to separate them, so the sound is almost continuous. The sound of rats running displays a more definite sound of their individual paws.

Rats and mice have incisor teeth (front two teeth of each jaw) that are large and continually growing. The teeth have hard enamel on the front surface and softer dentine behind. As rats and mice gnaw they wear the teeth down and sharpen them into chisel like implements through uneven wearing. Rats and mice gnaw things other than food to keep their teeth worn down and sharp. Unfortunately for us they often choose to gnaw wiring, plumbing, joists and items stored where they are.

If rats and mice regularly use a hole or gap to pass through they will gnaw around the gap to open it up and make it easier to enter or exit. They will gnaw wood, plastic, metal and even concrete if they need to. The sound of rats or mice gnawing can can be distinguished by the rate of biting. Mice gnaw at about 4-5 per second, rats 1-3 per second.

A simpler way of determining which rodents you have in your roof is to enter the void (if possible) and look for evidence in the form of droppings. Mice produce small black-grey droppings approximately the size of a large grain of rice. Rat droppings are much larger, 1-2cm long.

In New Zealand the other animal that can be a cause of noises in the roof is the possum (Australian Brushtail Possum). This is a much larger animal than a rat or bird and it usually easy to tell its presence from the much heavier and slower footfalls and they don't gnaw wood like the rodents will.

Other causes of sounds in a roof can be tree branches rubbing on the roof or eaves; usually heard only when the wind is blowing, or expansion and contraction of timbers and gutters as the roof warms up during the day or cools down at night.

Why did the rats move into the roof?
Because they heard the people say the cheese was high.

74 comments:

  1. Thank you! Very helpful and glad I stumbled into this! :)

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  2. This post has good and valuable information; it’s nice to see some good articles like this one.
    Thanks for creating this great informational resource.

    roofer

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  4. I hear sounds like someone is running on my roof after dark usually at midnight. It's quite scary :(

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  5. Where can the rats live in my house? I can hear the gnawing noise and scuffing steps in the early morning (between 5am~6am) on the first floor bedroom (our house is a 2-story house). My husband and I went to the attic and found no sign of rat / mice droppings ... Confused.
    What professional help can I get?
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jane,

      Thank you for your question.

      The droppings of rodents are often left under insulation and in the walls etc. So you may not find them easily. But what you describe suggest there are rodents in the roof.

      Delete
  6. Hi

    The borer holes in our weatherboards are too small to get the injector nozzle into. Can you buy really tiny nozzles, or is there another way we could treat these?

    Patrick

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  7. Hello Patrick,

    Thank you for your comment. The NO Borer Aerosol Injector (which I assume you are referring to) has a nozzle which one end fits into the can spray head, the other end is tapered and has a flange to prevent product blow back. The tapered end should push into the flight holes of common and native borer beetle. It may appear too large but you will find the flight holes are larger just inside the surface. Push the nozzle in and the hole will open up. This means a good seal is created when injecting and one is more able to see which holes have been injected.

    if the holes are still too small, I wonder whether the holes have been created by something else.

    Get back to me and I may be able to advise further.

    David

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    Replies
    1. Hi David - thanks for your reply. It is the injector that comes with the "BV2 Borer Injector Spray" that I have. I managed to get it into some larger holes but 80% of holes are too small. Maybe I will look for the No Borer Aerosol injector to see if it is smaller. It is definitely borer holes.

      Patrick

      Delete
    2. Hi David - thanks for your reply. It is the aerosol injector that comes with the BV2 Borer Injector Spray. I managed to get it into some of the larger holes but most are too small. Will look out for the other product to see if the injector is smaller.
      Patrick

      Delete
  8. Hi David, Will a borer fumigator in a roof space make rodents leave or are they unaffected by it? If they do leave I imagine they'll come back when the smell goes.

    Trevor

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  9. Hello Trevor,

    Despite suggestions to the contrary, Borafume fumigators or any other fumigators are unlikely to make rodent leave an area permanently.

    It is much more important to both prevent rodent access and to control those that are already using the roof space using rodenticides such as Kiwicare NO products.

    Check out http://www.kiwicare.co.nz/pest/products/

    David

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  10. We can hear this constant scratching noise in our wall. We have a brick house and this is on the second floor It's noisy, constant and when we bang the wall nothing scurries it just keeps going. It sounds like a scratching. Thoughts?! It's freaking me out!

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  11. Hello Nb,

    Where in the world are you? Is the noise there day and night? If there are timbers in the wall there are insects that can make a constant noise that is often mistaken for scratching. Other possible explanations include a tree or other object scrapping the outside, is the noise still there on very still days?

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  12. Hi I hear scratching mornings between 7-9 never ever at night but it also sounds like something running across the roof. Is this likely birds? Thanks jaime

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    Replies
    1. Hello Jamie,

      What you describe is almost certainly birds waking up and becoming active in the morning. There may be a nest in the roof.

      Delete
  13. Thanks, David, for your great post. Would you please also let us know the solutions to the problem (mice or rats in the roof)?

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  14. Hi, I would refer you to this page on the Kiwicare website http://www.kiwicare.co.nz/pest/pest-advice/animal-pests/

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  15. I hear 3 or 4 loud clicks come from my wall in rapid succession then a break of a few seconds and similar noise at night. Any ideas what this could be

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,

      Thank you for your question. What part of the world are you in? There are many animals and insects that could be the cause. It could also be creaking due to heat expansion or contraction of materials in the wall.

      Delete
  16. Hi David,

    Hearing sounds of scratching in the rafters of a vaulted ceiling. Starts around 10pm. Nothing in the attic though. When we bang on the ceiling, it stops for a few seconds and continues, but stays in place, does not move at all. It doesn't matter how loud we bang, it keeps on making noise. Thanks. Jeff

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    Replies
    1. Hi,

      What you describe does not suggest rodents. It may be noises caused by contacting timers as they cool down at night or it could even be wood boring insects such as death watch beetle.

      Delete
  17. Hi David,

    I was woken at 1:30am this morning to a loud scratching sound in what appeared to be the loft and then moved to the wall above the window. We have had squirrels before but repaired all facia boards and I cannot see where anything would now be able to get in. Do you think it may be squirrels again or some other type of rodent? What should my next course of action be?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,

      If you had squirrels in your loft before, they are the most likely culprit. But also look for signs of rats and mice. Rats and mice can get in through smaller gaps than squirrels. A mouse can get through a gap as narrow as a pencil.

      If you can get into the loft take a look for droppings which would help you identify the noise maker/s.

      Delete
  18. Dear David
    I live in Australia in a semi-rural location. I live in a big house with a flat roof. The last few months I have been awaken at 5 or 6am by loud gnawing for about 15 minutes and then it stops. There is no other noise. It is hard for a human to get into the very limited roof. A relative unscrewed part of the roof and put some rat bait there. He saw a few rat droppings. It appears the animal has not taken the bait. It appears to .be a solitary animal. What to do? I believe a rat can get into a ceiling through a tiny gap....Vicki

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  19. Hello,

    Give it a few days for the rat to take the bait. Rodents are neophobic and may ignore the bait for a few days then it will take a further few days for the bait to take effect. You could also put some bait in bait stations outside and around the house. The rat/s is likely to be moving in and out.

    As you are hearing the noises not long before dawn I would also check that the noise is not caused by birds.

    David

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  20. I live in New Zealand and I have a noise in my roof consisting of scurrying noises and rustling about only at night time this happens and its rather loud. I have had this noise in my roof for awhile now at least 4 months. Its starting to concern me

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Virginia,

      What you describe is typical of rodent activity. It is autumn in NZ and this is a mast year where more than normal seeds have been produced by trees. This has provided plenty of food for rats and mice in the wild and there is likely to be a great influx of rodents seeking food and shelter in homes and other buildings.

      Now is a good time to be pro-active and check for and seal possible entry points and place baits and traps in roof voids and other vulnerable parts of buildings.

      Delete
  21. Hi there,
    I live in Sydney Australia single story house steel frames no insulation at all between walls or roof cavity we, we have been hearing scratching in our wall behind our bedhead but we never hear it in other parts of our house we usually hear this at 10pm or 2am etc have not notice the scratching in the day, but then we have noise sometimes that sounds like something is rolling a rock through our roof sometimes it sounds like banging it's always so loud but I'd say that's because of the steel.frames these sounds can be about 6am again late at night, we also have a solid concrete raised foundation all, no trees or overhanging branches our bedroom wall shares its wall with our garage my husband did put baits up there along with traps, it would eat the cheese the trap didnt go off whatever it was stopped or didn't visit for about 4 weeks but is now back :/ our roof is hard to manoeuvre due to the location of the noise does any of this suggest anything?

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    Replies
    1. Hello,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      Your description does suggest rodents as the most likely cause. I suggest putting fresh rodenticide baits in the roof and traps. I don't recommend cheese as a bait for traps as it is fat that has 'gone off'. Chocolate or peanut butter are better baits. And be sure to fix rodenticide baits in place. Some rodents will take baits away to store (cache) them and it might be this that sounds like 'rolling a rock'.

      Delete
    2. Thankyou so much for replying and for your advice! I will try this method.

      This is brilliant you answer enquiries for people!
      Thankyou again!

      Delete
  22. Hi David we live in England and can hear a squeaking/cooing noise coming from the wall/roof. We live in a terraced house with no attic. It almost sounds like a squeaky bed - we have asked the neighbour but the room directly next to our bedroom is a play room (they checked for any toys with batteries) so nobody in there at night and in the morning when the noise is at its most frequent and loudest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,

      It is hard to know what the cause of the noise could be. What time/s of the day/night do you hear the noises? If it is birds you would expect most activity at dawn and dusk, but might also hear them through the day. If it is rodents you would expect most activity after dusk and before dawn, but might also hear them through the night.

      Also check for loose guttering and downpipes and trees or bushes close tot he house.

      Delete
    2. Last thing at night say between 9pm & 11pm then 7/8ish in the morning. It's almost like a low chatter with hoots mixed in?!? No loose guttering or downpipes, trees etc..its coming from the top corner of ceiling where the eaves are. Can't say I've heard it in the daytime.

      Delete
    3. Hello,

      As you live in England I think those timings suggest birds. Birds, such as starlings, pigeons and sparrows will often nest I the eaves of buildings.

      Delete
    4. Thank you for all your help, I'm really grateful. I will let you know how I get on.

      Delete
  23. Hi, I would first like to say thank you for this post and to others who have commented. I have been able to figure out we have rats in our roof and how they got in. My question is our they able to get through the roof and into the house, our only access point for the roof is currently inaccessible and I'm worried they'll be able to get in. Thanks Laura

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    Replies
    1. Hello Laura,

      Rats are very good climbers and will often find their way into houses at the roof particularly if they got in some other way and then found an exit via the roof; they will remember the exit as an entry point. However, new infestations are much less likely to find their way in at a roof unless it is easily accessed by climbing vegetation etc.

      Block the entry point if possible and keep trees and climbing plants cut away from the roof.

      Delete
  24. Hi!

    Your posts are very helpful, but I'm still not sure what It is that we have. We hear it in our ceiling. It seems that my daughter has heard it on and off for about a year, but today I heard it for the first time and it sounds like pitter patter or clicking sounds, kind of like beating your nails on a table rather fast. Also a sound, which was rather loud, like a cross between a frog sound and a bird (?). My daughter has heard the pitter patter sound but the vocal sound was new. We heard it around 3 pm in the afternoon. We thought at first it was a centipede which is common in Texas. Whatever help you can give would be so appreciative! Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hello,

      My knowledge of what particular problems might occur in a Lone Star State roof are a little lacking. But as well as the rodent, bird and vegetation possibilities mentioned above, I would also be considering insects. Perhaps crickets, cicadas, even wood boring beetles, some of which make a clicking sound in the timber e.g. deathwatch beetles.

      Delete
  25. First off, thank you for this informative post AND replying to people! Ive yet to find ANYWHERE else that does this and I NEED help! IDK if this section has a word limit, so know in advance, if it does, it may take 4-5 for me to explain EVERYTHING to you that is going on, what we've done, learned and how we've begun treating. Obviously I am here b/c we STILL have a problem though. Even my wildlife specialists removal guy/exterminator is confused. Thats NEVER good! Ugh! Okay, for starters, I live in Mebane North Carolina. We happen to live in a singlewide mobile home now. When I lived in my house for years, I once had a mouse infestation as I was butted up to a corn field. But when we had that problem, it was easy to know AND TO TREAT! I ridded myself of them pretty quickly. Now? No. For starters, about a year ago, when we still had old underpinning attached at the foundation, I started hearing noises ALL night long. So badly and for so long that I myself, became nocturnal, I slept when they did! It sucked. Also I had NO heat during that time as they had pulled my vent duct out of its place, so they had heart underneath but I did not. We ended up finding out that opossums (a FAMILY) of them had slipped under and were happily living there. WE caught a few in live traps on our own til we learned it was illegal. Then, we hired someone to come in and do the same thing. But! We also hired them to repair the underbelly (vapor barrier, insulation, duct work) of our home once removal was complete. We spent quite a penny repairing AND PREVENTING for future. We even bought new underpinning, tight fitting, sealed holes along A/C outdoor unit, replaced Faschia board AND put up new, deeper, HOUSE gutters all along the home. WE did ALL we could. (Keep in mind too, we are just a couple of women living here, we dont know a lot about this stuff - or didnt. We do now! But getting us under the home to look around? Ugh, NO!) Anyway, so we got rid of a total of 7 opossums! Then 2 more AFTER we thought we were done but BEFORE the repairs and complete structural exclusion. Well, 3 mos passed QUIETLY! Suddenly, I started hearing noise at the corner of my bedroom OUTside, I thought. It really sounded AT FIRST, as if the aluminum siding was maybe heating up and popping lightly. Or that bugs were hitting up against the siding...during the day. Understand, Im disabled so Im in my room A LOT. I hear EVERYTHING. Continued below:

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  26. Continued post from Angela Mitchell This is PART 2:



    This? A different sound than what I was use to with the opposums. I cannot figure this out. After some close listening and research I learned we more than likely have mice living in our WALLS. None have come inside, that Ive found evidence of, YET. And Ive looked, with a high-powered flashlight, for droppings, behind appliances, in cabinets, etc. But! It SOUNDS like they are inside at times due hearing them thru the vents/ducts and now walls. They are ONLY around my bedroom though! My CLEAN bedroom, mind you. :/ In my walls and NOW running across my ceiling occasionally. :/ My room and bathroom are the ONLY rooms in the home that do NOT have the pitched roof. That means MY space is the only ones where they CAN get into the ceiling and have a roof still, over their heads without being INside our home (yet.) WE have hired someone now and he was convinced it is mice. He sat traps, I mean EVERYWHERE under our home. He examined areas around the home and only found 2 ways they COULD get in. 1.) around the BOTTOM part of our A/C unit (the part we DID NOT have covered. Eh, yeah, that wasnt on purpose. We thought it was done. Makes no sense NOT to have covered that! But anyway. 2nd spot is where they something found ONE slat of OLD underpinning (the ONLY one we didnt replace!) because its under our porch that is inaccessible (to US)! Ugggh! Well! 4 holes, yep the size of mice or a rat maybe. But we're told NOT to close off anything yet, as our wildlife/exterminator guy wants to allow them an exit (hopefully) while trying to treat. Again, about 30 traps (2 are RAT traps set with a RAT bait, different than the PB) but mouse traps are set with peanut butter on them UNDER the home. Now ALSO 3 bait stations nailed to the ground around our home too. This has been set up for a MONTH now. These are our results: ONE RAT trap was set OFF, nothing caught. (He thought it due it being a mouse and too small). I, at this point am thinking its NOT mice or rats, but have NO CLUE WHAT it is! Also, ONE something went into ONE bait station in this month. And we caught ONE very small, smallest Id (of he) has EVER seen of a mouse - a grown mouse too.) Thats it. In one month, thats the ONLY results. Meanwhile you ask?

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  27. PART 3 of Angela Mitchell's post

    PART 3 here: Meanwhile, Im STILL hearing them in my walls! And I'll hear 5 DIFFERENT spots at once sometimes. Sounds like light knocking, sometimes I hear what maybe sounds like chewing, Ive heard something scratching itself before, Ive heard little pitter pats above my head in ceiling...and NOW a days, I hear them MORE during the day! Its at a fever pitch between 9am (really starts loud) and 6:30pm! Now, at night, its pretty quiet. I thought maybe, the reason for that is that they are going OUT of the walls at nightfall, looking for food, coming back in the morning to sleep. But! When are they EVER sleeping!? Im hearing them ALL day. And yeah, they do seem to slow down a few hours and sleep (cause I can still hear them in there, occasionally moving around) between like 1 and 4pm. But Im just SO confused! I DO know before he caught that little mouse, we DID have something chew a small hole in my bedroom wall, near the floor. Im ALWAYS checking the floors/walls being sure NOTHING new has occurred, so I caught this the same day it/they did it. And closed it up with steel wool and bitter-taste foam sealant. Nothing has messed with it since. I KNOW its NOT plumbing, as has been suggested too. No, plumbing doesnt stop making noise when you stomp on the area they are making noise and move to another location and start their noises there. Plumbing doesnt chew holes in the wall and plumbing certainly doesnt skitter across the ceiling, above my head! Yeah, our wildlife specialists is even stumped at this point and suggested this. It frustrated ME to no end though, as you can see by my reply to him! I made an audio tape for him too, as asked. You can hear all the noises on it and I was able to verify where each was coming from while listening to the recording play back. Im the only one who is THAT familiar. And that really is NOT a good thing. Im wore out by this! Again heres the list. Im trying to be thorough here, but, understand Im going without much sleep too and kinda wigged out at the though SOMETHING is gonna pop its ugly head up thru my floor at me, at ANY time too! NOT a good feeling. Continued below.

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  28. Finally PART 4 of Angela Mitchell's post (I hope! IF it ALL fits here) If not, PART 5 will follow.

    Access points we KNOW of (still available, instructed NOT to close yet):

    -About 2" area/opening underneath A/C unit outside.
    -4 small holes chewed? through OLD underpinning slat under porch. (Still avail)

    Noises:
    -In ALL three EXterior walls in MY bedroom ONLY
    -AND above me, in the ceiling now. Just started there in last 2 weeks. (ALL SINCE traps and bait stations have been placed). NONE set in ceiling tho, as we have no access there, short of cutting a hole in it. (Which I may end up doing, with REASSURANCE we close it up good so nothing can come thru after me!)
    - In floor (sub-flooring that is). Thats where the "knocking" noise is.
    - In/around my vent. The duct was replaced from opossums, but whatever is under there now has pulled the hose out of the metal duct (that leads to my register) again. I have NO A/C in my room, again! But they are plenty cool under there! Ugh!
    -around my window. Only one in here. But I can hear them at times around it, and even hear the glass ping, where they are close to frame.
    - Small sounds through-out. But at times LOUD (ceiling/walls) AND this sound makes me jump, every time! Its a noise near my TV. My TV sits on a dresser that is pushed into a cut out (in INterior wall) but the EXterior wall is on right side of dresser. Right there is where my TV sits on the dresser. My TV will POP! LOUDLY every once in a while, even when turned OFF (which it is most times) but ALL I can gather with that...is maybe they are in the wall RIGHT up against where the lip of my dresser is pushed sooo tight against wall and when they move it cause the dresser to move a little and make old TV pop!? ?? IDK I cannot figure THAT one out, at ALL! I inspected IN TV a couple times it happened, thinking maybe something is living in it? No. Nothing there. IDk,
    - I NEVER hear clear sounds of chewing. Or, IDK that its chewing. It just sounds like pop's, knocks, pings, skittering. I hear friction of something moving/sliding across walls interior. I also never hear squeaks etc...(and remember, Im in here almost 19-20 hours every day/night. & when Im not, Im recording.

    Hearing them at first at night mostly.
    Now? I hear them MOST in the morning between 8-9am until about 1-4pm.
    Between 4 & 6:30pm is when it gets QUIETEST in walls/ceiling, floor.

    Are they leaving then? Are they sleeping then?

    Ugh! Im SO confused, frustrated and desperate for identification, a solution and SLEEP! PLEASE HELP! ANY ideas you have I WILL explore.

    Thank you SO MUCH!

    Oh! And wildlife guy DID agree to this when I mentioned it: Hes going to put a snake camera in wall his next visit. (He comes 2x per week). Problem is, when he comes, I can hear him under house, and I hear the creatures RUNNING UP the walls and into ceiling AWAY from him! So, since hes only gonna look around with camera WHILE HES HERE (they arent leaving it!) I fear we arent gonna know what it is. I need a camera set up for at least 24 hours I feel. But just so you know, he IS attempting to look around IN walls...soon.

    Im SO SORRY this is soo long. And Im so confused. AND tired. Forgive the time Ive taken from you, please. Just know I NEED HELP! And I appreciate you just reading this.

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  29. Hi. I just heard footsteps in roofspace, as if on t ceiling..we have insulation laid on floor of roofspace. I heard this noise at 6.30 this morning. We have just had mice in our house and used sticky traps to get rid of them. We have a swallows nest just built outside above our bedroom window. The noise is quite load, not mice and sounds of running footsteps. Also we have a dog so hopung that he would keep rats away??..any ideas? Thanks, tracey

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hello Tracey,

    Difficult to know what caused the sound. I don't suspect the swallows as they are unlikely to go into the roof space. It might be mice that did not get caught in your traps, they can sound much bigger when running on the sounding board of the ceiling. Dogs are unlikely to deter rats so if they are about outside they might have found their way in.

    I suggest looking for signs under the insulation.

    David

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hello David,

    I live in Brazil and I am living in a third floor with a roof of ceramic tiles on top of the normal concrete one. I constantly hear footsteps at night or early in the morning (from 00 h to 05 h). They really sound like human footsteps or people running without shoes. I live in an area where there are many birds, but i don't know if they're causing the sound because it is too loud to be birds. I also feel like whatever is up there scratches the roof, but for very little intervals. I have not heard any sound of birds, like birds noises or rats gnawing... which makes me more nervous. We don't have neither dogs nor cats and it would also be very hard for a cat to go up to our third floor.
    I appreciate your answer.

    Best regards,

    Laura

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Laura,

      I it is difficult to know what could be causing the noises you are hearing on the roof.

      You don't say what part of Brazil you are in but could there be other animals walking on your roof?

      Another thing to consider would be creaking from the tiles/concrete as it cools down and shrinks?

      Kind Regards

      David

      Delete
  32. HI i got woken up at 6am this morning to loud scurrining and running sounds in my loft. The noises lasts for abt 2/3 mins then it stops for abt 5/10mins. Its really loud and starting to scare me i have no way to get into the loft as i am pregnant and have no ladders. Do u have any idea what it could be i am in scotland and i did have mice couple of weeks a go but they came in and took all the poision and left again . Surly the sounds i am hearing are way to loud to be mice its all so freaking my cat out

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi David,

    Very interesting info. I found this because we're getting the same strange hooting, squeaky, wheezy noises in the roof as Crystals ByCal (also in the UK). I've checked the roof space and exterior as best I can, though it's not possible to check all the corners in the roof, but haven't found any sign of birds. What I have found is bumblebees, though how they could possibly make little hooting noises is beyond me! Any thoughts? Or do I just have to look harder, maybe for an asthmatic rodent?

    Thanks for the excellent blog, Regards, Martin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Martin,

      I am not sure about hooting noises. But bumble bees can make a low hum and scratching noises a bit like mice gnawing. They have powerful mandibles and will chew wood for nest building.

      Delete
  34. Dear David,

    Thanks for the excellent article. I am being woken up between 5-7:30am because of what sounds like scurrying across the roof. We live in a new build with no attic or loft and have a flat roof. From your previous posts it suggest that this would be birds however the scurrying sounds too quick for birds.

    Thanks for your help

    Caroline

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    Replies
    1. Hello Caroline,

      Birds, particularly when they become active in the morning will scurry around and sound quick. But I would not discount rodents. Have a look around the eaves for signs of birds coming and going. If they are nesting they will often drop nesting material.

      Kind Regards

      David

      Delete
  35. Hi I really need help ams advice! !
    Ive just moved into a property and cam hear scratching/scurrying in the flat roof above the bathroom it can be at all different times of day/night if the bathroom windows been open and I slam it shut you hear "it" scurry away from the window!! Its driving me insane I cant sleep really need some advice on what it is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Emily,

      The two most likely possibilities are rodents or birds. Have a look around the eaves for signs of birds coming and going. If they are nesting they will often drop nesting material. If you don't see evidence of birds, then assume it is rodents and treat appropriately.

      Kind Regards

      David

      Delete
  36. Hey. I just moved into an apartment. My room is on the third floor, which I would consider an attic. About a week ago I started to hear things in the ceiling. Its a loud scratching sound, that continues even when I bang. It goes for 2-4 minutes then stops for a little then continues. It's always at night, usually around 12 am it starts. I live in Northeastern Pennsylvania, if that helps any. Hoping you could help. Thanks in advice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,

      That the sound does not stop when you bang the ceiling suggests to me that you should investigate the possibility that the sound is due to contraction of the roof as it cools. Such can sound a lot lie scratching. Other things to consider would be a branch brushing the roof in the wind or the more obvious rodents, squirrels, etc.

      Delete
  37. Hello. Thank you for your website. I am hearing a strange noise during daylight hours that sounds a bit like a squeaky bed. You know the sound you might hear if someone turned over. But the noise began with a loud tapping noise. Sounded like neighbours putting up shelves for hours. Could happen anytime of day even 5am (when light). But neighbours r not diy folk. Not a human mating bed hitting wall noise btw! Now the noise is just a squeaky creaky noise. Like a creature talking maybe.Have checked all our beds For squeaks. Its not the beds. Could it be owls Or bats or magpies? A lot of magpies here in Essex, UK. No scratching shuffling sounds. Help!!

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    Replies
    1. Hell Sarah,

      It is difficult to know what the cause of your mystery sound is. As you mention neighbours are you in a terrace or semi-detached house? If so there could be something living in the cavity between the houses. But more likely would be a branch rubbing against part of the exterior or expansion creaking from some part of the house timbers or gutter as they warm up during the day.

      It can be very difficult to identify where a sound is actually coming from so take a look all around the house outside and inside.

      David

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  38. Hi David
    I proudly caught a rat inside when it relocated to my place after my neighbour dug up her storm water drain. However I now think the scurrying/thumping on the roof and in the gutter at night could be another rat. I have arched ceilings so presume it must only be outside.
    Unfortunately my gutters are filled with leaves and weeds, results of living in the bush and being unwell for a year so I couldn't do my seasonal clean. I wonder if I only need to get my gutters cleaned or do I need to also use poison?
    Would I need to get my neighbours involved too, as I live in a block of 3 units, though mine is an end unit.

    Thanks
    Julie Akl NZ

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    Replies
    1. Hello Julie,

      I would recommend getting your gutters cleared out. The debris could be cover for rodents, but it might also be the cause of the noise, as twigs move in the wind etc.

      I would still recommend putting some rodenticide blocks around the property for a couple of weeks and if you can get you neighbours involved it makes control all the better for everyone. After a couple of weeks of baiting (in safe locations) you should have an idea from the bait taken, if any, of the size of the infestation and any need to continue.

      David

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    2. Thanks for your advice. Guess what I'll be doing this weekend ;-)

      Delete
  39. I live in northern Indiana and bought an "old" new house. Last fall we were hearing scratching noises in a front exterior wall and ceiling. We would hear these at night around dusk. During winter it was silent. Then this spring noises. My husband removed some ground cover and patched up some holes thinking the noise was mice, even tho we haven't seen any evidence. Noises stopped, for a while! I've been waking early the past few months and will hear the noises around 4-5am. It had been like just once a week but this week it's been every morning so far. Any ideas? There is a few times I hear a vibrating sound like wings maybe? We have a drop ceiling in the room and hubby says no way to see in there. We only hear the noises in the front corner of our down stairs room. No other rooms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Monique,

      The timing of the sound suggests birds. Sometimes the sound can appear to be coming from one place and it is really coming from somewhere else. Take a closes look around the house for signs of birds; droppings, dropped nesting material etc.

      It could still be rodents so have a good search for possible entry points. Mice need only a very small gap (pencil width) to get in.

      I hope that helps.

      David

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  40. Hi:

    I live in South Florida and have noticed for several days now the sound of scratching, dragging, rolling and what sounds like something being dropped like cables in the walls and along exterior edges of roof line. At one point, I even heard what sounded like something hitting crystal or metal. These sounds only seem to happen between 11am and 1pm, oddly enough. What animal is active during this period? I hear nothing at night or in the morning. I know that there are squirrels, tree rats, large lizards and possibly possum in the immediate area. Any suggestions about what this could be? There' s only a crawl space above the ceiling, not a full attic. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,

      I am not very familiar with the fauna of South Florida. But my suspicions would be for an animal in or on your roof. Go into the crawl space and take good look around the eaves for any entry points for animals. If you find any close them up when the 'animal' is not active and hopefully outside. However, I would also suggest having a check that there is not a cable or branch being blown and rubbing the roof.

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    2. Thanks David. This animal has expanded its routine and now moves whenever and wherever it likes. It never seems to be in the same place twice. Now I hear it as early as 6:30am. It might be a squirrel that I have spotted in the yard but I can't imagine how or why it is suddenly in need of the roof. The entry points will be sealed and the branches removed but someone else is going to have to go into the crawl space. If this persists, I may have to consult a professional. Thanks again for your advice.

      Delete
  41. Hi David,

    We currently live in the north of England, and the bedroom of the house is an attic bedroom. From around 1am in the morning onwards we can hear a loud clicking noise, 4-5 clicks, then a pause and then it continues. It's driving us crazy! We've noticed wasps flying under some of the roof tiles and then appearing to come back out again. Is this the source of the noise and is it something to be concerned about?

    Best wishes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Lucy,

      I would not expect wasps to be causing a loud clicking noise in the middle of the night.

      Clicks would suggest contraction noises as the roof, gutters etc. cool down or just maybe death watch beetle (check out the sound on Wikipedia).

      Other things to consider would be tree branches rubbing on the roof in wind, or rodents.

      Have a look in and on the roof.

      The wasps are not necessarily something to be concerned about unless they are bothering you in your garden or coming inside. The wasps will die off during winter.

      Let me know what you discover.

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    2. Hi David,

      Thank you for your response! I find all of your info and responses on this page very interesting/useful. I'll certainly check out the death watch beetle on Wikipedia for a start. No trees in the area unfortunately, but I do think I might have heard the familiar scratching of feet early this morning, it's also an old property (not in the greatest of conditions) so I'm sure contraction will play a part! Thank you again, I will investigate further and be sure to let you know if I find anything interesting!

      Best wishes,

      Lucy

      Delete
  42. Hi there,
    I live in Auckland, NZ and have just found this post.
    I have been hearing a noise maybe once a week or so in our roof that sounds like it could be a mouse or rat. It is usually around 2-4 in the morning when I hear this noise right above my bedroom. No gnawing that I have noticed. The noise may be more frequent and I am simply sleeping through it, but it certainly is not every night.
    We have almost impossible access to the roof area, and multiple outdoor pets so leaving bait around the garden worries us. No droppings that we have found, but we did once have a mouse in the living room which makes me more convinced of the sound.
    Because it is rare to hear it, is it possible the mouse/mice are not actually living in there but simply keep returning every so often? Or is it more likely they have taken up residence somewhere in the house that I dont hear them?
    Also what is the likelihood of them gnawing a hole in a wall without me noticing? I am terrified I am going to wake up to mice in my room one morning.

    What would be your recommended course of action for our situation?

    Thank you so much for your time, my apologies for the long post.

    -Saysi

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    Replies
    1. Hello Saysi,

      The noise is most likely to caused by rodents but take a look for a branch rubbing on the roof or other possible causes (see above).

      It should be possible to fix baits such as Kiwicare NO Rats Mice One Feed in the roof area, even with limited access. There would be no risk to your pets if they do not have access to it.

      Rodents do not gnaw holes in walls unless it is a route they have used previously that has been blocked. So I hope you will not find one in the living area of the house.

      I hope this helps.

      David

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  43. Hi David,

    I am aware I have a rodent but I am unsure what kind. I've seen the thing run into my bathroom after coming out of my bedroom (stupidly left a window open so I am aware of how it's gotten in) but I can't tell if it's a rat or mouse. My friend believes it could be a baby rat but I've had pest control out he's found 2 small droppings and said mouse an he's left poison boxes. Tonight I've heard the loudest scratching which I've never heard before. It sounded like it was scratching through the walls in my bathroom. I plucked up the courage to turn the light on see if I could get a proper look but nothing to be seen an the scratching stopped immediately. I wonder if you can give any advice. I've laid out snap traps with peanut butter and they've gone untouched. I'm a massive germ phobe so my main worry is gettin sick. Just to add I am in North west England not sure I this helps at all. Thanks in advance

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,

      If you have had a pest controller check your home and he/she saw droppings and confirmed mouse than I am confident that is what you have. Mouse droppings are much smaller than rat droppings, even those of a young rat.

      Mice can sound like 'a heard of elephants' when scurrying in a roof or gnawing.; ceilings act as sounding boards and we are more sensitive to the sounds in the quiet of the wee hours. If bait stations have been left I am reasonably confident given a week or two you will be rodent free.

      Traps and bait stations often take a few day before the rodents become used to them and take the bait or 'risk' the trap.

      I hope that helps.

      David

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