Squirrels in the Attic

Original photo by George Hodan.I’m not exactly nature girl, and the scratching, chewing sounds in my attic made me unhappy, to say the least. Was I being invaded by aliens? Raccoons? Bigfoot? Whatever I was hearing made me feel as though bits of my brain were flaking away with each chomp and every crunch. Whatever was up there, I wanted it to go away. I wanted it to go away SOON. With every day that passed, the noises got louder and more aggressive. Clearly, a challenge was being issued. Avoidance was not possible. I had to do something.

Here’s what happened.

First, There Was a Noise…
Uh oh, Sounds Like Squirrels in the Attic

draft_lens11650451module106775531photo_1276990898removed_squSo read the latest missive from Chris, “my guy” at the trapping service [yes, of course humane] I engaged to remove the wildlife from my attic. Our relationship, which lasted 3 weeks, punctuated my days with high and low points, depending on the news contained in his short communiqués. The information in that note was about even. Bad news: I’d had 5 squirrels that we knew of in my attic. Good news: I now had 5 squirrels fewer in my attic. The low points were this terse note:
“I removed a mother squirrel today. I taped the hole to see if the babies are coming out on their own. If not we will need to get access inside to look for the babies. Will return tomorrow and let you know what happens.”

Followed by the still more terse:

“Need to look for babies in attic ASAP.”

[To spare readers unnecessary anguish, let me report that no nest was found; the mother squirrel had been retrieved before setting up housekeeping in my attic. The invaders were male, making it very unlikely that a mother squirrel inhabited that space.]

The Beginning of the Saga

squirrel 02My wildlife adventure began nearly a month earlier, when I heard noises on my roof. These were not the usual sounds of elephants stampeding, which I knew to be squirrels and raccoons and which I accept as normal background. The scratching, scrabbling, and gnawing I heard suggested that access to the interior of my house was the new goal.

Even as a kid I didn’t understand why Cinderella and Snow White danced around so joyfully with cartoon mice and squirrels. As an adult, I am even less enthusiastic about the possibility of a similar relationship with the three-dimensional variety.

Dragging my husband to the corner of the ceiling where the sounds were loudest, I asked him to listen. Of course, all noises immediately ceased.

Hubby: I don’t hear anything.

Me: Just listen for a minute. I’m sure they’ll start up again. It’s a kind of gnawing noise and then a scraping sound like they’re trying to get under the roof tiles.

Hubby: You’re overreacting. [again] I don’t hear anything. And anyway, they can’t chew through ceramic tile.

Me: But they could be prying one up. Really. I know I hear them.

Hubby: [leaving room] Don’t be ridiculous.

Some Time Passed

Ten days later, the sounds changed again. They were much, much closer and I was sure I detected gnawing and chewing. With my freakishly acute hearing, coupled with my freakishly acute imagination, I could practically hear them swallowing. Summoning my husband yet again, I insisted that he stand there and listen. This time, I got lucky. He listened for a minute, then – without a word – left the room. Returning with a flashlight, he pulled down the attic ladder and went to look. Silence. More silence. Then: “I see you, you little bugger.”Descending from the attic, he said, “Call animal control. I saw eyes. At least one set, probably more.”

 Abracadabra got rid of the squirrels . . . humanely

draft_lens11650451module106775541photo_1365018918And so the merry men of Abracadabra Squirrels: We Make ‘Em Disappear (not their real name) entered my life — and not a moment too soon. I had been waging my own war on the invaders: taking my electric broom to the ceiling and running it under all the places where I heard them setting up their little Barcaloungers. After awhile, I would lie in wait for them, “weapon” at the ready. At the first hint of sound I would bang the ceiling, then turn it on, shrieking “take that, you miserable squirrel!” On at least one occasion, I feel pretty sure that the noise was actually Chris checking the traps. When I saw him on the following day, he stood as far away as he could manage within the bounds of politeness and he didn’t quite meet my eyes. It was probably my imagination that he looked a little nervous.After three weeks, things were winding down. I hadn’t heard noises in a couple of days, despite evidence that we were clearly still on the drive-by list. All that was left was to patch the hole (full disclosure: a piggy bank was harmed in the accomplishment of that goal) and to bid a grateful farewell to the Squirrel Squad.

I saved the notes.





  1. Pingback: Squirrels in the Attic | Mood Swings & Other Furniture

  2. I’m facing this with a rat in the ceiling. Will your guys come to Australia? Love this post!


  3. Barbara Peck

    I’ve heard the same type noises in my little country farmhouse which has a tin roof! (great music happens with summer rains).. but cannot get my SIL to get up there and check. I played “heavy rock” music for 18hrs one day last week. The noises have gone away!! (I am holding my breath as I type this). Now I need to get someone up there to close that hole! They even tore out lots of insulation that I, of course, found on the ground. Here’s hoping we are both squirrel (and any other varmits) free forever!


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