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Old 10-14-2017, 03:49 AM
 
4,187 posts, read 3,103,158 times
Reputation: 8085

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This is not a paranormal mystery, but some of those of you who are fellow skeptics are VERY good at solving problems, so I got one for you.

I was recently fortunate enough to purchase a home with my wife. She snores like crazy, so our first night there, instead of sleeping in our room, I slept on a clean/new matress that the former occupants had left in the family room, presumably because they did not want to move any more stuff.

About three in the morning, I started to hear scratching noises coming up from an insulation duct from below the house. They went on and off for an hour, and would grow and subside in intensity. Just a wee bit disconcerting because the house passed inspection. I come home/stay up late, and did not hear it again until last night at about 0400. Tonight again at about 0130. Lasted about a half hour tonight.

It is just a crawl space below the house, and I am thinking of leaving some rat poison, but then again, annoying as this is, I would feel very bad about hurting a critter if it was not any harm to the house or my family. I don't think it is rats or mice, because I don't hear them scurrying, don't hear high pitched vocalizations, and it seems like it is louder scratching than a rat could manage. Also, again, the house past pest inspection.

Questions:

1) What critter would get in there and scratch like that?
2) Why? Why would it re-burrow every night?
3) Is it doing any real damage?
4) Is there another plausible explantion? I have never owned a house--can pipes or something make a noise like that?

Thanks pals.

Last edited by cachibatches; 10-14-2017 at 03:58 AM..
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Old 10-14-2017, 07:14 AM
 
Location: Michigan
2,603 posts, read 2,018,346 times
Reputation: 6216
You'd be amazed at how loud small mice can be, much less a rat or red squirrel. However since you don't even tell us what state you live in, it's hard to guess what sort of animal could be under your house.

As for poison, I wouldn't recommend it. If they die under there, it'll stink badly for at least a week. Better you cruise all over your foundation and look for openings. A mouse only needs a hole as small as a PENCIL size to get into the house. If you live in a state with roof rats or even squirrels, you need to make sure there's no openings up there either.

If you find any openings, stuff them with steel wool. If your siding goes down too closely to the ground, you need to remedy that issue so they don't burrow up and under your siding.

P.s. You should probably have this thread moved to the HOUSE forum.
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Old 10-14-2017, 11:28 AM
 
5,462 posts, read 8,669,339 times
Reputation: 3543
Opossums, raccoons, skunks, mice, rat, even outdoor or stray cats, are a few that will dig through insulation (especially that covers heat ducts) to find warmth. Even if there are no heat ducts under the house, they'll still dig through the vapor barrier and insulation to seek warmth. If left undisturbed, animals such as rats and mice will chew their way through to get into the walls and even ceilings. Not only do they enjoy the warmth for themselves, they'll use it to give birth to more mice. Mice and rats can reproduce very quickly.

If the holes for plumbing lines, etc., are even a tiny bit too large, mice will find a way to get in by chewing or clawing at the wood and ultimately get into the house. There are spray can foams that harden you can use around drains under the sinks to help block access to mice and rats. Or as mentioned, use steel wool. They aren't going to easily chew through that.

We had an infestation of mice a good number of years back, and saw them scurrying around inside the house and scratching behind the walls. We set out a variety of traps, and we also had several cats to help keep pests away. Blocking any openings around the foundation using plywood cut to fit the openings snugly will help keep unwanted critters from getting under the house. In the winter, closing off the foundation openings with the plywood will also help keep cold air out. Installing heavy mesh screens can be used in the openings during the warmer seasons to allow air to circulate under the house while keeping pests out.

And yes, they can do damage in the walls and ceilings by chewing through electrical wiring. We had an old electric cook stove that the mice in the house got into and destroyed the wiring to the stove top elements. We set out a few "large-sized" live rodent traps using peanut butter as bait. Mice and rats are always looking for food. The traps could hold a good number of mice. The mice could get in, but they couldn't get out until you open the lid of the trap. The options were to either submerge the traps in water and drown the rodents, or take them a long distance away (preferably a field or wooded area) and release them. You don't want to release them in your yard though because they'll be right back to your house again.

There are also other traps that ultimately involve water that you can easily make. Check YouTube or drop me a message and I'll find a link or two for you.
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Old 10-14-2017, 12:10 PM
 
4,187 posts, read 3,103,158 times
Reputation: 8085
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeBear View Post
You'd be amazed at how loud small mice can be, much less a rat or red squirrel. However since you don't even tell us what state you live in, it's hard to guess what sort of animal could be under your house.

As for poison, I wouldn't recommend it. If they die under there, it'll stink badly for at least a week. Better you cruise all over your foundation and look for openings. A mouse only needs a hole as small as a PENCIL size to get into the house. If you live in a state with roof rats or even squirrels, you need to make sure there's no openings up there either.

If you find any openings, stuff them with steel wool. If your siding goes down too closely to the ground, you need to remedy that issue so they don't burrow up and under your siding.

P.s. You should probably have this thread moved to the HOUSE forum.
Thanks. I live in Cali.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
Opossums, raccoons, skunks, mice, rat, even outdoor or stray cats, are a few that will dig through insulation (especially that covers heat ducts) to find warmth. Even if there are no heat ducts under the house, they'll still dig through the vapor barrier and insulation to seek warmth. If left undisturbed, animals such as rats and mice will chew their way through to get into the walls and even ceilings. Not only do they enjoy the warmth for themselves, they'll use it to give birth to more mice. Mice and rats can reproduce very quickly.

If the holes for plumbing lines, etc., are even a tiny bit too large, mice will find a way to get in by chewing or clawing at the wood and ultimately get into the house. There are spray can foams that harden you can use around drains under the sinks to help block access to mice and rats. Or as mentioned, use steel wool. They aren't going to easily chew through that.

We had an infestation of mice a good number of years back, and saw them scurrying around inside the house and scratching behind the walls. We set out a variety of traps, and we also had several cats to help keep pests away. Blocking any openings around the foundation using plywood cut to fit the openings snugly will help keep unwanted critters from getting under the house. In the winter, closing off the foundation openings with the plywood will also help keep cold air out. Installing heavy mesh screens can be used in the openings during the warmer seasons to allow air to circulate under the house while keeping pests out.

And yes, they can do damage in the walls and ceilings by chewing through electrical wiring. We had an old electric cook stove that the mice in the house got into and destroyed the wiring to the stove top elements. We set out a few "large-sized" live rodent traps using peanut butter as bait. Mice and rats are always looking for food. The traps could hold a good number of mice. The mice could get in, but they couldn't get out until you open the lid of the trap. The options were to either submerge the traps in water and drown the rodents, or take them a long distance away (preferably a field or wooded area) and release them. You don't want to release them in your yard though because they'll be right back to your house again.

There are also other traps that ultimately involve water that you can easily make. Check YouTube or drop me a message and I'll find a link or two for you.

Thanks. Yeah. I'd probably take them to the field. I do feel bad about hurting anything.
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Old 10-14-2017, 03:33 PM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
8,025 posts, read 6,398,760 times
Reputation: 27798
You should have the ductwork under the house inspected again. It sounds like an animal has made a hole and moved in. You don't want to accidently heat and air condition your crawlspace, so you need to get any holes in the ducts fixed if they exist. It's possible that it was missed by the inspector. A heat and air contractor can do a test where they seal off the registers and then blow air in the ducts to determine the leakage level. A catastrophic leak would indicate a hole or a disconnected duct. I once inspected a crawlspace where a stray cat had crawled through a hole and made its bed in the ductwork below the house. Rats or other rodents carry some pretty bad diseases that can be transmitted by breathing particles of their dried urine or feces, so having them in the ducts that pump air into your home could be bad for your family's health.
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Old 10-14-2017, 05:56 PM
 
5,003 posts, read 14,410,771 times
Reputation: 2474
Get a live trap and put food inside it we had squirrels in our attic covered up the holes, but covered one with a thin cardboard and they panicked after getting out because they thought they were trapped. Then we nailed up a board loosely, and when we knew they were gone we nailed it up good. Like you I didn't want to kill them or there babies.
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