Keep squirrels and rats out of your home

Wood soffits or fascia boards that become rotted due to cluttered gutters become easy entry points into your home for animals, says Hodgson. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Sandy N. of Flower Mound, Texas)

Wood soffits or fascia boards that become rotted due to cluttered gutters become easy entry points into your home for animals, says Hodgson. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Sandy N. of Flower Mound, Texas)

Often, a conversation with a customer will begin with, “We’ve been hearing noises for awhile, but today we saw a rat in the kitchen.” This is where a nuisance becomes a crisis. It’s one thing to hear them in those areas you never use, but quite another when they start to invade your living spaces.

There are ways to avoid becoming the meeting place for critters in your neighborhood. A good place to start is by removing food sources. If you have bird feeders near your house, you’ve probably been fighting to keep the squirrels out. Squirrels and rats love bird food.

Put those feeders way in the back of your yard and keep the food stored in tightly closed steel containers. They like grass seed, flower seed and vegetable seeds as well, so don’t forget to keep those in containers too. 

Limiting access to your home is the next important step. Limbs hanging over your roof are not only troublesome during storms but provide a super highway for critters. However, limbs are only one of many ways they can gain access. 

Squirrels can jump up to 10 feet. Rats can climb straight up a downspout. Rats also love to dig holes in the foundation, and from there they can gain access to other areas of your house. 

If animals make it to your gutters, they look for an easy way into your nice, warm attic. Wood soffits or fascia boards that become rotted due to cluttered gutters make it easy to chew entrance holes. 

Sometimes there are large gaps in the breather space between the fascia and roof line. All it takes is a little bit of chewing to create a nice opening for the squirrel or rat family.

I often hear, “Oh, I know exactly where they are getting in.” Perhaps that’s true, but once they move in, just plugging that entrance will only deter them for a short time. If they have made a comfortable home in your attic, they are not going to be evicted easily. If they made one hole, they can easily make a new one. 

Removing food sources and performing regular home maintenance are the best ways to roll up the welcome mat. The key to avoiding any unwanted visitor is to never invite them to begin with.


About this Angie’s List Expert: JoAnn Hodgson is the office manager at Crocodile Dave Wildlife & Bee Specialists, providing animal removal services in Atlanta. Crocodile Dave specializes in the removal of squirrels, rats, raccoons, bats, bees and more and was a recipient of the 2012 Angie’s List Super Service Award. You can follow this #ALExpert on Twitter @CrocodileDave.

As of July 17, 2013, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.


More Like This

Boston homeowners battle squirrels

Massachusetts regulations complicate animal removal and make homeowners think twice how they are going to get rid of furry intruders.

Add comment

Anonymous reviews are Internet graffiti.  Angie's List has real reviews from real people.

What is Angie's List?

Angie’s List is the trusted site where more than 2 million households go to get ratings and reviews on everything from home repair to health care. Stop guessing when it comes to hiring! Check Angie’s List to find out who does the best work in town.

Local Discounts

Daily deals up to 70% off popular home improvement projects from top-rated contractors on Angie’s List!