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What could it be? Possibly a flying squirrel in the attic!

 
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The rental we are living in has some kind of wildlife in the attic. I hear it at night, sounds squirrel sized (don't they sleep at night though? I hear it chewing something now. I'm in southern Missouri, what animal is awake at night, bounds through the attic like a squirrel, chews sometimes, but is mostly quiet? I won't hear it for days, then it goes running across the ceiling. Never hear it during the day, or dawn or dusk. only in the dark of the night.  I have had rats before, doesn't strike me as rat behavior. What might be up there?
 
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It does sound very squirrel-esque, lol. Raccoons would be more regular and noisy, rats or mice would be more consistent, 24/7, though more noticeable, at night, when everything else is quiet. Opossums would be heavier... Bats?
 
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Do you have flying squirrels in your area?  I think they're nocturnal...
 
Pearl Sutton
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I don't think we having flying squirrels. I don't hear it every night. It's pretty puzzling. But it definitely has 4 feet, and runs, then is quiet again for a day or three. Or chews, then shuts up for days.
Weirdness.
And not bats, I have bats in my belfry, but not the attic :)
 
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you should be well within the range for southern flying squirrels, so i wouldn't rule it out completely. 'chews' definitely suggests a rodent.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Carla Burke sent me a link, there are flying squirrels in the area. Well now. That's a heavy possible then. I was ruling out squirrels due to the nocturnalness of the noise.
Not a lot of chewing, or a lot of noise. just enough to let me know something is up there.
Have to think on this then. It's a rental, with a lot of issues, some of which might be structural enough to let squirrels in.

(TL:DR Version: I ain't going up there)
I have a hard time physically getting into the attic, there is a pull down attic ladder, that was installed 90 degrees off how you do them if you are doing them correctly, and someone installed a workbench in a place that makes it so the ladder can't extend (which is WHY you don't install them like that, there's not a lot of good places for things like workbenches in a garage.) So the attic access, when opened, has a trap door, with multiple layers of ladder in the way. I have a ladder that reaches high enough, that gets all tangled in the mess and isn't easy to get on and off with my current pain levels and flexibility issues. So getting up there is difficult, and once you are up there, it's incredibly unsafe, the ceilings are 2x4's, with sheetrock screwed up to it, and then about 8-10 inches of fiberglass insulation blown in, that has been moved (so there are drifts and bare spots) when they installed (again, badly) the heat pump system here. So you can't see the beams, you'll fall through the sheetrock if you step on it, the ductwork is all over in a low ceiling attic, you have to step over it, not missing your footing on the beams. And since the roof caved in at one point, and they put a new metal roof on leaving the old roof semi-intact under it, I don't trust the 2x4 beams at ALL to be not rotted. I know some of the sheetrock caved in when the roof went.  I have never decided which is worse here, the initial design, the construction, or the repairs.

I'll think on this. Thank you all, especially Carla!
hmm... squirrels, squirrels, squirrels in the attic!!
 
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I'm guessing it flies onto the roof every few days and gets in through a hole.  So you may be able to figure out its access point from outside.  Not sure if you want to be scrambling around on the roof but maybe you could see an entry spot from the ground.

The challenge would be to block the access without trapping it in.  That's probably where the pros come in.
 
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Sounds like a packrat or roof rat.   They are very active, very noisy at night.  Whatever it is, it's pooping up there.  Rodents can climb vertical surfaces easily, but also can jump onto the roof from nearby trees, or trellises.  All rodents need to chew wood to keep their teeth at a workable length.  It's the droppings that carry disease and their love of electrical wires that cause the main problems.   If you go up there, wear a mask and Rubber gloves (which are good to have around for lots of reasons.)  Don't crawl around or use a broom, as that could possibly send germ/bacteria/virus particles into the air.  

Spray the surface ahead of you with a 50/50 water/bleach mixture, wiping with newspaper or paper towel to create a clean pathway across the area.  Don't stray from that path while investigating, and bag the paper before leaving the area.   Wash all clothing and gloves immediately, do not rewear them until they've been washed.

Hanta virus is a very serious respiratory disease that can get dangerous in just a few hours.

The most hidden openings are often under the bottom of trim on the outside corners of a house or shed.  Use a mirror or feel up under and see if the siding had been chewed.  If you have a critter camera, or borrow one, place it in the attic and see what it gets.  It often shows where they are coming and going from.
 
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sounds like might be a rat, I would either call landlord and let them do proper pest control or get a victor rat trap and bait it with peanut butter, put it up in attic and you'll find out soon enough what it looks like
 
Carla Burke
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Pearl Sutton wrote:Carla Burke sent me a link, there are flying squirrels in the area. Well now. That's a heavy possible then. I was ruling out squirrels due to the nocturnalness of the noise.
Not a lot of chewing, or a lot of noise. just enough to let me know something is up there.
Have to think on this then. It's a rental, with a lot of issues, some of which might be structural enough to let squirrels in.

(TL:DR Version: I ain't going up there)
I have a hard time physically getting into the attic, there is a pull down attic ladder, that was installed 90 degrees off how you do them if you are doing them correctly, and someone installed a workbench in a place that makes it so the ladder can't extend (which is WHY you don't install them like that, there's not a lot of good places for things like workbenches in a garage.) So the attic access, when opened, has a trap door, with multiple layers of ladder in the way. I have a ladder that reaches high enough, that gets all tangled in the mess and isn't easy to get on and off with my current pain levels and flexibility issues. So getting up there is difficult, and once you are up there, it's incredibly unsafe, the ceilings are 2x4's, with sheetrock screwed up to it, and then about 8-10 inches of fiberglass insulation blown in, that has been moved (so there are drifts and bare spots) when they installed (again, badly) the heat pump system here. So you can't see the beams, you'll fall through the sheetrock if you step on it, the ductwork is all over in a low ceiling attic, you have to step over it, not missing your footing on the beams. And since the roof caved in at one point, and they put a new metal roof on leaving the old roof semi-intact under it, I don't trust the 2x4 beams at ALL to be not rotted. I know some of the sheetrock caved in when the roof went.  I have never decided which is worse here, the initial design, the construction, or the repairs.

I'll think on this. Thank you all, especially Carla!
hmm... squirrels, squirrels, squirrels in the attic!!


Dr. Redhawk alerted me to the flying squirrels in the area, several months ago, so he's the real source, there. Those little suckers can cause so much damage, even without being able to fly! That roof/ceiling/attic mess is a huge structural hazard to your health and well-being, anyway, and the pure ick of Cristo's observations is a - spot on, and b - just more icing on your rental ick-cake. I wish I could think of something more, to help you get out of there, sooner!
 
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mice and rats can do incredible jumping, a couple years ago I went into my root cellar and surprisingly mice were literally jumping off the walls 3 and 4 foot jumps, they sure were hopped up off of all those potatoes they ate. I had never seen anything like it before.
now scratchy and itchy are feasting on wayward flying mice
 
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eeep. I guess the silver lining is that it`s every so often and not constant? (i.e. they are not yet permanent residents?)

We had red squirrels when I worked at a camp up in NY on the Canadian border in the adirondacks, I know they are not supposed to be nocturnal but those little poopers always had a mess left for us in the kitchen when we turned on the lights in the morning at zero-dark-thirty, chewed through screens, ugh. The damage was massive. We eventually got most of them with rat traps and the smart ones decided to get their food elsewhere (like the kids' snack stashes).
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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