There is an animal in my home that I killed [update]

JasconiusJasconius sword criminalmad onlineRegistered User regular
edited January 2014 in Help / Advice Forum
The current frontrunners are

1) Very large rat
2) Squirrel
3) Raccoon

Every night for the last week we are woken up at 4AM to loud scratch noises, like a cat scratching around the litter box, heard clear as day through our bedroom AC vent (near the ceiling)

Except it's not the cat, because our cat sleeps in our room, and I looked at her while the noise was happening.

This just started recently as it began to get cold outside. We think something is nesting in our house, but we have no idea where

We think this may be a long term resident, because the day we moved in, we found some animal feces and urine upstairs that neither of us could identify as belong to one of our pets.

So now we may think it may be that animal returning home.. we scared him away when we moved in, and now he's back since it's getting cold

I don't even know where to start. Physically where could he be if he's heard so clearly in the AC vents? We've looked around many times upstairs and seen no traces at all of the intruder. Just the noise. Every night for the last five nights.

Looking for ideas on how to get rid of it. I'm worried about mousetraps since the cat might set them off.

Jasconius on
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  • WiseManTobesWiseManTobes Registered User regular
    This is a scary thread title, it's not even my house and I'm like twitchy about this now!.

    Is there anyway you could maybe set up like a large trash can, with some bait hovering precariously over it on like a board? so that when they walk out onto the board they fall in the trash can?

    Tho this could also just end up with a cat in a garbage can also, cats get into EVERYTHING

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  • bsjezzbsjezz Registered User regular
    what'd the shit look like?

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  • WiseManTobesWiseManTobes Registered User regular
    If it's only heard through the vent easily, how many story house is this/how intense is your ventilation, could it maybe be trapped in a section of the AC it cannot climb out of? ( The scratching could be it attempting to climb a part of a vent it can't get a hold on)

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    whatever it is must be eating something; if it's not into your food, it's getting outside somehow. That makes any kind of exposed/uncovered ventilation a likely candidate, and places like eaves that could cover a hole you wouldn't immediately notice. An unsealed basement is another likely point of entrance; it's hard to say without knowing the layout of your house.

    Animal control is probably your best bet; particularly if you can describe the feces, they can probably figure out what it is and take appropriate steps to get rid of it. You could try putting out some humane mousetraps, but you probably don't want to put out lethal traps or poison because the last thing you want is for it to crawl back to wherever it's hiding and die there.

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  • FreiFrei A French Prometheus Unbound Registered User regular
    If you find feces again, smell it and tell us what it smells like. Also, inspect it and take note of the texture. You can often identify animals by their diet. Do it.

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  • Giggles_FunsworthGiggles_Funsworth Blight on Discourse Bay Area SprawlRegistered User regular
    Have you considered a migratory ghost?

  • FantasmaFantasma Registered User regular
    Are you saying that your cat does not detect the presence of this intruder?. This sounds like a rat, the noise is very typical to their teeth being exercised.

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  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    we had something like that in my parents, turned out it was a squrrel digging around the attic.

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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    we haven't seen the poop since we moved in. i don't have a clear memory of it, it was my girlfriend that found it and cleaned it up. she told me it was much smaller than our dogs so it couldn't have been that

    We do have a fireplace which I discovered yesterday the flu was left open. It hasn't been used in a very long time but I can't imagine something climbing 25 feet up and down something like that that hasn't been cleaned in so long. plus there's no traces in the fireplace of debris knocked loose

    I thought it MUST be the attic, but the sound comes in so clearly through the vent I don't know if that's possible. If it were in the AC ducts, what would be the most likely point of entry? How does one get into a duct.

    we've seen no evidence that it's eating anything a tall. nothing has been messed up or opened or trashed

    when we got the home inspection they said there was residual evidence of some critters in the attic, but they didn't observe any actually living up there. they didn't note any points of entry

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    The ducts are likely echoing the sound. Getting into a duct is rather difficult and you'd probably notice because it'd be a lot louder. It's likely in the void spaces or crawl space of your home (attic/basement/walls).

    Sounds like opossum or raccoon to me. Especially if the turds were bigger than pebbles.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited October 2013
    so let's say it's a racoon or something in the attic

    what do i even do

    can I scare it away? or must it make the ultimate sacrifice for me not waking up at 4AM every night


    *edit* FWIW the place where we found the feces was directly below the attic door, and with home inspectors and stuff going in and out, it might have been left open in the weeks leading up to moving in

    Jasconius on
  • cookiekrushcookiekrush Registered User regular
    Sounds like mice or squirrels. It's a common problem when it starts to get cold, animals try to find places stay warm. Does she recall what the poop looks like? Like small droppings?

    The attic is a very common place for animals to come through. Look for any open holes, vents, pipes, anything. You can try to fix the issue yourself but closing the open entry-ways, or call the pest people. You can also set up humane traps, and release them somewhere far away. I wouldn't recommend poison as you don't want your cat to go near it, and for whatever animal to just die in your attic. That smell will stay for weeks if not cleaned up properly.

    If you don't fix the issue before winter comes, it might get worse when it is snowed in your attic.

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Yeah the biggest issue is recalling what the poop looked like. Once you figure out how large it was (small pebbles vs large finger-long turd) it'll help pin down what kind of rodent you have.

    You'll also likely need animal control to do its things to get rid of it.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    i would say it was about the size of a marble, perhaps a little larger

  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    I would guess opossum

    because that's what was in our attic

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Jasconius wrote: »
    i would say it was about the size of a marble, perhaps a little larger

    http://www.wildlife-removal.com/ratpoop.html

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    Jasconius wrote: »
    i would say it was about the size of a marble, perhaps a little larger

    http://www.wildlife-removal.com/ratpoop.html

    bigger than that

  • Giggles_FunsworthGiggles_Funsworth Blight on Discourse Bay Area SprawlRegistered User regular
    Jasconius wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    Jasconius wrote: »
    i would say it was about the size of a marble, perhaps a little larger

    http://www.wildlife-removal.com/ratpoop.html

    bigger than that

    Direrat?

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  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Get a small have-a-heart, smear peanut butter on trigger. Wait, then relocate animal more than 3-4 miles away.

    kedinik
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Jasconius wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    Jasconius wrote: »
    i would say it was about the size of a marble, perhaps a little larger

    http://www.wildlife-removal.com/ratpoop.html

    bigger than that

    http://www.wildlife-removal.com/possumpoop.html
    http://www.wildlife-removal.com/raccoonpoop.html

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    looks pretty close to that possum picture

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    You should see if you can't get an exterminator to come on out! Opossums are the worst to deal with.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
    Xaquin
  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    It's very unlikely it is in the vent. It'll be scratching on the outside of the vent somewhere and echoing.

    If you're trying to narrow down where the thing is, just try leaving a biscuit out in the attic and see if it gets eaten.

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  • chr1sh4ll3ttb3chr1sh4ll3ttb3 A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    It's very unlikely it is in the vent. It'll be scratching on the outside of the vent somewhere and echoing.

    If you're trying to narrow down where the thing is, just try leaving a biscuit out in the attic and see if it gets eaten.

    That will provide zero useful information, though. Jasc already knows there's something up there, feeding it is just telling it to invite some of its buddies over to watch the game.

  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    He currently seems unsure if it even is in the attic. This is a quick and easy way to know for sure!

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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    What's the worst that could happen if I got a humane trap and put it up there? lets say a possum couldn't fit in it.. but if it turned out to be a racoon maybe it would fit?

  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    Also get a better cat. Fuckers got domesticated to do 1 god damn job, and you have rodents in your attic, so no more nip until he gets off his ass.

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  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    Jasconius wrote: »
    What's the worst that could happen if I got a humane trap and put it up there? lets say a possum couldn't fit in it.. but if it turned out to be a racoon maybe it would fit?

    Maybe, I've seen some big ass raccoon especially if your in the burbs/city where there's lots of tasty trash.

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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    my cat is a first degree bug hunter, but I'm not sure she's ever seen a rodent in her life

    plus she has no way to get into the attic

    she sleeps in our bathroom at night and never leaves there, she's not a roamer

  • chr1sh4ll3ttb3chr1sh4ll3ttb3 A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    edited October 2013
    Jasconius wrote: »
    What's the worst that could happen if I got a humane trap and put it up there? lets say a possum couldn't fit in it.. but if it turned out to be a racoon maybe it would fit?

    Depends on the kind of humane trap. If you can hide a cage type inside a cardboard box, that might get it. The smaller plastic tip-over models wouldn't fit a raccoon though.

    One of these: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Humane-Animal-Trap-for-Possum-Cat-Rabbit-Hare-Cage-/170875541400

    instead of one of these: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Humane-Mouse-Trap-Live-Capture-Express-Post-Available-/261018838986?pt=AU_Pest_Control&hash=item3cc5ef67ca&_uhb=1

    chr1sh4ll3ttb3 on
  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    i have seen racoons the size of medium dogs. you will need a frigin trash can if its one of them
    my bet is squirrel

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  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    Have you considered a feral child?

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  • KamiroKamiro Registered User regular
    I've had the exact same thing happen to me.

    What happened was that a big storm had come by and blown open a trapdoor that leads to the attic (not sure why that exists on the outside of the house, on the 2nd floor balcony). Shortly after, we started to hear the scratching at night near the air vents. It was pretty much exclusively at night.

    We got our landlord to get a pest control guy to come check it out and he said it was most likely squirrels. He explained to us that they go out during the day, which is why we didn't hear them during the day, and then come back at night after they've done their foraging. So he told us to wait till around the middle of the day and close up whatever hole they were using to get in, and he also left one of those humane traps that just closes the entrances once they hit a lever.

    That did the trick for us. We had also thought it was a raccoon, cause it sounded pretty loud, but he seemed to think it was most likely a squirrel.

  • LovelyLovely Registered User regular
    Squirrels get into my attack and try to scratch through my ceiling EVERY WINTER. Little bastards.

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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    i have no clue where they could be entering from the exterior of the home

    I'll have to get a ladder and get up there

    but I guess its not surprising

    we have large trees that come close enough to the roof that even a drunk squirrel could make the leap

  • SatanIsMyMotorSatanIsMyMotor Fuck Warren Ellis Registered User regular
    Squirrels and raccoons are like mini-Houdini's. In short, they can get in if they're determined. I've seen some get in through soffits, etc where they'd just push it/pull it up when they come and go. You'd never even see the hole.

  • NoisymunkNoisymunk Registered User regular
    First house we rented in virginia had a bad roof. There was a weak section and two male raccoons dug their way into the attic and were romping around up there making a mess of the insulation.

    I called Animal Control. This is what he told me while we were up there figuring out how to tackle this problem:

    You can't scare them away. They're extremely tenacious, and once they find a nice cozy place to den up there isn't much you can do about it. They leave behind scent trails and have been known to return to the den space over great distances.

    You want to deal with the situation as soon as possible because you REALLY don't want a mother and kits up there.

    Same thing goes for possums.

    Animal Control will probably locate the entry/exit point and place a large trap with some bait. We caught the two big boys within a night or two. Got the roof repaired, cleaned up the mess as best I could and never had a problem again.

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  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    Big trees close to the roof means definitely possums or squirrels can get on your roof. Check the attic/roof again for any openings. Check the integrity of the screening on your attic vents. They can squeeze through smaller holes than you would think.

    I hope it's not possums. While sometimes I've seen adult possums solo, I've never seen young possums solo. They can have a lot of young in a litter, something about short gestation and bifurcated reproductive organs.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    They can pretty much collapse themselves into a sheet of paper and squeeze/rearrange themselves to get into holes.

    Evolution can be a bitch sometimes.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    i was able to do a valuable diagnostic this morning

    as the noise was going on at the time my alarm went off

    1) The noise was coming from another part of the house, directly above my bed instead of from the AC vent
    2) I heard it moving from left to right across the room
    3) I ran upstairs to see if it was still "above" me. And it wasn't. It was below me
    4) Verified it was not my cat or dogs again

    The culprit is not in the attic or in the vents, but in the floorspace between my master bedroom and upstairs loft. Is there even hollow space up there? Could it even connect to the attic?

    Where or how could i treat/trap this thing, given this knowledge

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