What is scratching in my attic at night?

You are asking yourself the question: what is scratching in my attic? Kennedy Pest Control is here for you in San Diego. Free Rodent Inspection.

What is scratching in my attic at night?

January 31, 2020 4

Have you ever been fast asleep in bed when suddenly, your peaceful dreams are disturbed by a light scratching noise? Quickly turning into a nightmare, you can’t fall back to sleep knowing there may be critters. You are asking yourself: “What is scratching in my attic?”

In San Diego, this is a common issue that comes up in the wintertime. Rodents are attracted to the warmth escaping from under doors or through cracks or holes in the walls. They want to escape the cold and cozy up in your home, and if you leave them the smallest opportunity, they may enter your home.

Keep in mind, they are looking for three things: shelter, food, or water.

A disturbing fact about rats– they are extreme contortionists. All they need is a space the size of a quarter to squeeze their entire body through. Mice only need a gap as small as a dime. Yikes, I know.

Before your mind starts racing, read on to learn the differences between mice and rats, a few tips and tricks to prevent them from entering your home, and what action to take if they invade.


  • Cautious, afraid of new things, smart
  • Typically will climb to attic or roof
  • Require .5 – 2.5 ounces of food per day
  • Require ~1 ounce of water per day


  • Curious
  • Typically stay on ground level
  • Require only ~.1 ounce of food per day
  • Don’t need to drink water daily

It’s common that you may never even see a rodent unless the problem is severe.

Their sightings are rare because they’re nocturnal and most active two hours after dusk. Luckily, there are many other indications that will signify if you home is infested.

Signs of an infestation are unmistakable:

  1. Gnaw marks on wires or food packaging
  2. Droppings in drawers, under the sink, and near food packages
  3. Holes chewed through walls as an entryway into the home
  4. Stale, musty urine smell
  5. Greasy rub marks against baseboards or bottom of walls
  6. Materials to nest with like shredded paper, dried plants, scraps of fabric

Here is a photo at one of our customer’s homes in Oceanside. We replaced the door sweep from the side door in the garage. On the left, rats have eaten away a large part of the door sweep. Their teeth are so strong they can cut through concrete, copper, aluminum, and cinder.

How do I get rid of rats scratching in my attic?

Keep in mind that rats and mice look for a home that will have a food/water source and hiding places. Here are a few do it yourself hacks to defend your home against any unwelcome guests:

  1. Seal any holes or cracks in doors, windows, or walls with steel wool. We suggest packing the wool in very tightly. Test if it’s sealed by looking through the hole at night. There shouldn’t be any light.
  2. Replace weather-stripping.
  3. Remove potential nesting materials (excess leaf piles, sticks, mulch, etc.)
  4. Clean dryer vents periodically to maintain security of opening.
  5. Trim back trees, ivy, and any vegetation at least two feet below the eaves. Branches can be used as a highway onto the roof or into the attic. If your trees will grow taller than your home, plant it four feet away from the house.
  6. Store firewood along fence line rather than the house. If possible, store wood 4-6 inches up off the ground.
  7. Be sure garbage is covered and cleaned on a regular basis.
  8. Don’t leave food lying around.

Don’t let them threaten another good night’s sleep

Not only do rodents carry diseases, but they can damage wires, walls, and insulation. If you are experiencing any of these problems, please contact us to learn more about our rodent control plans and how our specialists can help. Give our office a call at 760-233-2055.

Here is a quote from one of our rodent and pest control customers in Escondido:

“Have had a very good experience with this company for over one year now. Have used both exterior ant control as well as attic rodent control. Most recently, Kevin came to our house for a rodent evaluation. He was honest and detailed in his assessment. We chose the exclusion pathway to close off all possible entrances and Kevin and another crew came back and spent an entire day sealing off spaces. They were prompt, professional and friendly. They even helped get our neighbors dogs back in their yard when they were out troubling some older walkers. Very happy with their services.” Kristin R.

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    • Suzanne Hirsch

      October 11, 2020 at 5:27 pm

      Very helpful article.


      • Liz Kennedy

        October 12, 2020 at 8:09 am

        Thank you, Suzanne!


    • House insulation Auckland

      January 5, 2021 at 8:37 pm

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      • Liz Kennedy

        January 6, 2021 at 8:39 am

        Thank you.


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    Copyright by Kennedy Pest 2019. All rights reserved.

    Copyright by Kennedy Pest 2019. All rights reserved.