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Who Chewed That Hole in the Soffit?

By Chris Williams on May 22, 2013.
Soffit hole in house

Question

When my husband was cleaning the roof gutters, he noticed a good-sized hole in the soffit at the corner of the house. It was pretty clear that something had chewed an opening but we don’t know what. He didn’t see anything when he went up into the attic. Any idea what made the hole?

Answer

The answer to your question depends largely on the size of the hole. Possibilities range from a mouse to a raccoon, but the easy answer is a squirrel. Squirrels like to nest in attics. If they can find any kind of an opening or an edge from which to start, they will chew a hole, 1-1/2 to 3 inches wide. Sometimes they can find a gap around attic vents, or dormer corners, edges of fascia boards, or even knot holes. They prefer to gnaw on soft and unpainted wood, and soffits usually fit the bill.

Evidence Indicating a Squirrel

The squirrel may have been scared away before it could start a nest in your attic, or the nest may be hidden and your husband just didn’t see it. The nest is usually an accumulation of leaves, insulation, and chewed up paper or fabric, or other soft materials, often tucked away under the eaves. You may also find squirrel droppings or piles of nuts, seeds, pinecones, or acorns that have been hoarded by the squirrel. If the nest has been there for some time, you might smell squirrel urine. Most people are first alerted to the presence of a squirrel in their attic when they hear the scrambling noises as it moves around.

It’s not easy to scare squirrels away once they have established a nest in an attic. Often, if you seal up the first opening, the squirrel will simply chew another. Or, by sealing the opening, you risk either sealing the squirrel into the attic, or blocking it from getting to any babies. You should give us a call. Our technicians can check the attic for a nest and can humanely trap and remove any squirrels. We are experts in squirrel-proofing homes and can seal and screen openings to keep squirrels from getting into your home in the future.

Photo credit: kightp / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

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