How to Get Rid of Animals in Your Attic: Raccoons, Squirrels, & Opossums

safely remove squirrels in your attic

You might think you’ve seen it all – raccoons in the garbage, squirrels in your bird feeders, opossums in your garage. These animals can seemingly invade anywhere if they try hard enough…including your attic. That’s right! These clever critters can make their way into your attic. Why are they going into your attic in the first place? And how can you get them out of your attic? Luckily for you, we’ve got the answers you need to keep your attic clear of nuisance animals.

Why are Animals in My Attic?

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we aren’t the only ones that seek out shelter, food, and other resources when we’re in our home. Our home easily provides more than enough resources to animals that make their way inside to survive. Most of the time, animals come into our homes in the search of shelter, protection, food, water, or a place to nest.

How exactly do these animals manage to get into your attic? Houses are built with vents, windows, and occasional gaps in the infrastructure. Despite how small these entry points might appear to you; animals can squeeze themselves through small cracks to gain access. Some animals will even make their own entryway into your home by gnawing, digging, or breaking things.

Before you decide just how to get animal out of your attic, you have to figure out what kind of animal you’re dealing with. Animals have specific characteristics and indicators that you can be on the lookout for. Learn some of the most common animals that might end up in your attic and how you can identify them.


Believe it or not, raccoons are common creatures that can end up in your attic. Typically, when they occupy the attic, they are looking for shelter to have their babies in. When you find a raccoon in your attic, you’ll typically be faced with a mother raccoon and a litter of babies – or a pregnant female raccoon. Raccoons usually come into your home by climbing. They have strong paws that can dig and rip through materials, especially if the outside of your home has a weak spot. They can tear holes through the roof shingles, make their way through screened vents, or make small gaps bigger.

Signs of a raccoon in your attic are:

  • Large droppings
  • Extensive damage (like shredded ducts)
  • Large tracks & pathways
  • Loud noises that include heavy walking, thumping, chattering, or growling
  • Nests in insulation


Squirrels are another common species that you can find in your attic. These rodents are experts at chewing their way inside, and once inside, they don’t stop chewing. Drawn to attics because of its warm, dry space, squirrels usually take up residence in attics to nest and have their babies – just like raccoons. These nuisance animals will typically come in through the roof and can pretty much climb anything.

Signs of a squirrel in your attic are:

  • Lots of small droppings
  • Nesting debris like leaves and sticks
  • Trails through insulation
  • Chewed wood and electrical wires
  • Scampering or scurrying noises


While it might seem like these critters couldn’t ever really make it up to your attic, they are great climbers! Mothers will enter your attic in search of a safe place of shelter to have their babies much like the other animals. However, these animals won’t force themselves into the house. They’d rather find a large opening and enter that way.

Signs of Opossums in your attic:

  • Slow, heavy steps from the ceiling
  • Lots of larger size droppings
  • Trails in insulators
  • A strong, unpleasant odor

Trapping and Removing Animals Made Easy

  1. Havahart Small 1-Door Live Animal Trap
    Havahart® Small 1-Door Live Animal Trap
  2. Havahart® X-Small 1-Door Trap
    Havahart® X-Small 1-Door Trap
    Out of stock
  3. Havahart® X-Small 2-Door Trap
    Havahart® X-Small 2-Door Trap
  4. Havahart® Medium 1-Door Animal Trap
    Havahart® Medium 1-Door Animal Trap
  5. Havahart® X-Large 1-Door Trap
    Havahart® X-Large 1-Door Animal Trap

How Do I Get Animals Out of My Attic?

Once animals are in your attic, they can cause some extensive damage. Ruining insulation can cause heat to escape, which can lead to a costly electric bill. They can also damage wires, ruin parts of the heating and cooling system, affect piping, and create more holes and entryways for other pests. Not to mention, some animals carry diseases, fleas, or parasites that you certainly don’t want to deal with.

It’s important that once you identify which animal is in your attic, that you start taking measures to remove that animal. First, don’t go near the animal in the attic. Note where it’s located. Is there a nest? Once you’ve noted where it’s located and where its nest is, you want to get a live trap. At Havahart®, we have many live traps for raccoonssquirrels, and opossums. Depending on which animal you’re dealing with, the live trap size varies, so make sure you identify the pest first.

After getting the correct size trap, you’ll want to place the trap near the animal’s nest or spot with the most activity. Bait the trap with food that the animals like; for instance, raccoons are drawn to marshmallows, squirrels are drawn to peanuts, and opossums like canned pet food. After baiting, wait a few hours. Check the trap frequently so that if you catch the animal, it’s not stuck inside the cage for a long time.

Once you’ve trapped the animal, it’s time to safely release them. Before you do this, make sure to check with your local game commission regulations to ensure that you’re legally releasing the animal in a place that you’re allowed to. When you go to release the animal, they might be frightened and skittish, so it’s best to approach slowly with caution. Depending on the cage you choose, you can simply open the cage to let the animal out. Check out this article for more information about releasing an animal without scaring or hurting them!

Animal Solutions at Havahart®

The best way to solve the problem of animals in your attic is to take preventative measures! At Havahart®, we want to provide you with repellents, traps, and other products that allow you to keep animals away from you home without harming them or putting yourself in any danger. Connect with us on our Facebook page and let us know if you’ve ever had an animal in your attic. Sign up for our E-Newsletter to be one of the first to know about new products, the latest deals, and exclusive information.


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