• Raccoon
  • Squirrel
  • Rat
  • Bat
  • Chimney Swift

What’s that Sound in My Attic? 

You are startled awake in the middle of the night or early in the morning, heart-pounding upon hearing an unusual sound emerging from the ceiling or behind the walls. Perhaps it is a knocking sound in the attic, tapping noise on the ceiling, or even scraping noises behind the walls. One of the clearest signs of an animal problem is the noises it makes.

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What Animal is in My Attic?

It is unnerving knowing that a wild animal could be lurking nearby, but the worst part is not knowing what animal is making the noise. Even worse, how many of them are there, and what damage are they causing?

To help in your investigation, this guide narrows down the potential suspects and provides professional advice on the next steps you should take.

The most common of these noise-causing animals are:


When Do You Hear the Animal Noises?

When you hear animal movements is one of the best methods for figuring out the kind of animal in your attic. Animals run on different schedules. Some are active in the morning like us, while others tend to run around all night. Keeping a log of the time you heard the noises in your attic along with the specific sound you heard is a useful tool in identifying and providing information to Critter Control wildlife removal specialists.

The time of year can also indicate what the source of the noises are. During the spring, raccoons and squirrels are some of the most common animals. During the winter months, rats and mice often make noises you hear.

Early Morning and Late Night Attic Noises

Crepuscular animals are active during the twilight hours, the time before sunrise, and after sunset where the sky is only partially illuminated by the sun, neither totally dark nor completely lit. Hence, noises in the attic during the early morning period typically come from these critters. They include rats, mice, skunks, barn owls, chimney swifts, and insects. Snakes can display crespuscular activity but generally are diurnal.

Noises occurring at night most likely originate from nocturnal species. These species tend to be most active in the night while you are getting ready for bed or already asleep. Mice and rats, which also display crepuscular activity, are nocturnal animals. Other nocturnal animals we encounter include flying squirrels, bats, and raccoons.

Raccoons Sounds in Attic

Raccoons are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to loud noises in the attic at night. This is especially so in the spring, as raccoons are searching for a safe shelter to give birth and raise kits. 

raccoon nesting under eaves of roof

Hear a thumping, banging, or knocking noise in the attic or crawl space?  At 20 pounds or more, equivalent to a small-medium dog, it is highly likely you are hearing a raccoon. Mewing, crying, and whining noises in the attic may suggest the presence of a litter of baby raccoons. These kitten-like noises eventually transform into louder thumping noises and light snarls as the kits grow and start wrestling and playing.

Importantly, raccoon mothers are masters at hiding baby raccoons (kits) in difficult-to-find places. They will do almost anything to get back into an attic, especially if exclusion techniques are applied before kits have been carefully removed. Raccoons can easily break through the fascia boards under eaves or rip off roof shingles to create entry points. If you are considering DIY, this should make you reconsider. Every inch of the attic including the hard-to-reach and unsafe spaces must be carefully inspected.

Rat and Mice Sounds

One of the most common questions for Critter Control, “what do rats in the attic sound like?” As rodents move across baseboards, drywall, and floorboards, you are likely to hear the light pitter-patter of footsteps. Typical rat and mice noises include grinding gnawing, scurrying, scratching, and scuffling.

Many mouse and rat sounds are produced by their claws digging into surfaces to get a better grip, or when they scurry from one place to the next. Additionally, rodents will chew wooden baseboards to create larger holes for entrance or new pathways. Lastly, mice are known to make squeaking or even high pitched singing sounds, especially when babies are present or when the males are trying to find a mate. At night, when everything is silent, rodent sounds appear amplified.

While rodents can be crepuscular or nocturnal, they are also intelligent, purposely adapting their movements and activities to the time you are likely to be in bed or away from home.  

Norway rats and the house mouse are mostly nocturnal, becoming active around dusk in pursuit of food and water. You may see one during the day if the rat population is high. Just because you see a mouse during the day, does not suggest the mouse population is high.

Bat Sounds in the Attic 

Bats often find shelter in homes for the purposes of giving birth to their young. They also navigate into homes during winter to escape extreme cold. Bats only need an entry hole the size of a dime. 

Bat sounds often roost from within wall cavities or in attics, as these locations are suitable substitutes relative to their native shelter (trees, caves, and crevices). As for identifying bat in attic sounds, their vocalizations sound like squeaks and chirps. Homeowners might be able to hear scratching or fluttering in their attic.

Noises in the Attic During the Day

Squirrels in Attic Noises 

If you hear sounds in your attic during the day, most times it is a squirrel. Squirrels are diurnal, meaning they are most active during daylight hours.  In terms of your house, the noise will most likely occur during the early morning and late evening, when squirrels are entering and exiting the home. Squirrels commonly produce scurrying, scampering, and scratching sounds in the attic. 

Because of their size, it can be fairly loud. They often roll acorns or nuts, which describes that odd rolling sound emerging from the ceiling. Squirrels will also produce gnawing and grinding sounds similar in mice.

Typical Animal in Attic Sounds

Scratching Sounds in Attic

Many people report hearing scratching in the attic or behind walls. Common animals that scratch or gnaw include mice, rats, squirrels, and bats.

Animal Vocalizations

Not many wildlife species vocalize in attics, which makes identification easier for the few species that do. Shrill squeaks are often indicative of rats or mice, and sharper 'shrieks' may indicate infestation. Raccoons are known to produce squealing, chattering, and growling sounds, especially when they have kits (babies). Lastly, bats will chirp at night or in the morning before sunrise.

Flapping Noise in Attic

Flapping and fluttering sounds are fairly quiet through the ceiling, but if you hear it, it may be a sign of a bird or bat in the attic. However, when stuck, this noise can become quite noisy. In this case, it is best practice to call a professional as soon as possible to prevent the animal from harming itself.

Noises in the house can be tricky. A number of things can make noises that are similar to animals, including knocking sounds in pipes, creaking floorboards contracting and expanding during temperature fluctuations, electric humming, and more.  

Aside from sounds, animal droppings (feces) are incredibly useful for identification purposes. Take a look at our wildlife scat/poop identification guide to get an exact match on the creature in your attic!

Animal Removal from Attic

However, if you have a sneaking suspicion that noises are coming from an animal, you are probably right. Listen to your gut and call a Critter Control wildlife specialist before infestation, damage, or breeding occurs. These professionals have the experience and training to tackle any wildlife removal scenario. They will keep your loved ones safe while also treating animals humanely in the removal process, 100% guarantee. We can help you get rid of animal noise problems. 



This company has been great. The technician Kensi was very through and checked everywhere to make sure all access points were found. After a skunk was found in the trap on a Saturday morning they came to pick it up very quickly.
Michael was super friendly and knowledgeable. He checked my entire house and recommended and installed the solution within an hour.
We are under contract with your company and so far they are doing a fine job. Many thanks.
Excellent work environment full of presence of God. Professional and dedicated staff. A good place if you want to have your children in a place where Christian values are protected and encouraged.
Great company and amazing service, the staff is extremely knowledgeable and friendly! Thank you to the staff and especially to Bubba for taking care of my property and giving it that "personal touch" to rid and maintain it from pests and bugs! Appreciate you guys and look forward to continuing business together! Thank you!
So when I went to have my insulation replaced I figured out that I had a critter problem that was beyond anything I was aware of. Not wanting to waste time I decided to call a professional and these guys were really good from day one. From the gentleman who gave the estimate to both of the guys that came out and did the work there was great communication and they were very effective at what they did. One little thing got missed and all it took was one text message and somebody was out the next day to take care of it. They always text me when they're on their way or going to be at the house and they let me know what they found along with photographs. My first thought when they gave me the quote was wow that was a lot of money and I didn't want to spend that much and now that I've had them do the service I feel like it's worth every penny and it's actually pretty damn reasonable considering the number of times that they come out and all the things that they do take care of.
I had an issue with squirrels getting into a small section of roofing without access from the attic or inside of the home. Critter control was a huge help in solving the issue, especially thanks to Brandon and Nate. Ended up catching 3 squirrels living in the roof plus they seal the entrance point after all is said and done. I would absolutely recommend critter control, Brandon and Nate did a stellar job.
Dominick was very friendly and he consistently put on his shoe covers each time he entered the house. He looked over every inch of the storage room where we thought the animal was and did a walk around the yard to see if there was evidence of entry. He was very thorough. He did not find any animal at that time. He said he would leave a trap and review the outside area of the house over the next week. It was the next day that the smell in our storage room indicated that the animal had died. We followed the small and discovered a dead bird in an open storage bin. I would highly recommend Dominick for 'Critter Control'. Thank you, Valerie
Great explanations regarding findings, friendly, quality work! Each encounter with their tech has been professional and educational.
your representative (Dominic) was very friendly and quickly removed the dying raccoon from our outdoor window-well. He also shared information with us regarding raccoons on their behavior, what they liked/disliked, and provided information on how to disinfect the area the raccoon had been trapped in for a couple of days. I'd rate him 9 stars if I could. -pja
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