Hearing scratching in your walls and other sounds from within your home can be an excellent start to your own horror story. But don’t worry — your house isn’t haunted. And you’ll be relieved to learn that this is an unexpectedly common household problem.
More often than not, these noises in your walls are often caused by pests. You have some uninvited guests who are now calling the walls of your home their new home.
8 Possible Reasons for Scratching in the Walls
The scraping noises that you hear from within the walls of your home are typically caused by the animals currently taking up residence in your home. These scratching noises are usually produced by the legs of these animals rubbing against the surfaces and other objects on your wall. Take a look at the common culprits behind these noises:
The most common cause behind the scratching in your walls and scampering feet would be mice. These creatures love to scratch, chew, and gnaw on everything they see, including the wood panels of your walls.
Aside from the scratching sounds, rats are also rather bold and would run around the space within your walls, especially when the house is quiet, and they feel safe wandering around for food. This will typically happen at night when rats are most active, so expect the scratching and other noises to be more prominent then.
Squirrels don’t generally make their homes in walls, but they can get trapped there. Squirrels like to explore new spaces, and they would have difficulties tracing back their steps from within the walls.
When you have squirrels within your walls, you’d hear scratching sounds during the day, which is when these animals are most active. These sounds can be the squirrels attempting to get out of the confines of the wall. And since squirrels move randomly, you may also hear other noises aside from the scratching.
Similar to mice, rats are also notorious wall-scratchers. These pesky creatures can keep themselves busy by chewing through drywall, plaster, wood, and other materials used to build walls. Rats are also more active during the night as they scavenge for food.
Apart from being inside the actual walls, you may even hear scratching sounds due to the rats chomping on any wires or piping that’s installed in your walls. They’ll chew and scratch anything that they can sink their teeth in.
Raccoons are not small creatures, but they can still sneak their way into your home and then slip into walls unnoticed until they get trapped through the narrow wall paneling.
With raccoons, you may even hear lots of noises indicating that the animal is in distress and wants to escape. Identifying and getting the raccoon out is easier than other smaller critters.
Another possible cause of the scratching noises on your walls is bats. Bats can fall into the wall crevices of your home when learning to take flight and get stuck inside. Like rodents, bats are also a complete no-no for your home because they are known to carry diseases.
Bats can also make scratching and flapping noises with their wings. And being nocturnal creatures, the sounds will almost always occur during the night. Note that when they fly to the highest part of the wall only to encounter the ceiling, the bats will fall against the wall and can become disoriented. And if they can’t fly, they will scratch the walls to climb out of their confinement.
You may be surprised to learn that birds can also get trapped inside your walls. Just like bats, birds can also accidentally fall and get trapped within the walls.
The good news is that it’s easier to identify if there’s a bird stuck inside your walls, as you will also hear other bird sounds like chirping when attempting to flee or find a space to get through.
Another possible cause you’d hear scratching sounds on your walls would be if a chipmunk gets into the wall and gets stuck inside. This is surprisingly common, and chipmunks enjoy the secluded and limited space inside your wall, attics, and other quiet areas of your house.
The concern here is they love to chew and gnaw, which would undoubtedly cause expensive damage to your walls and other interior fixtures.
Possums prefer sheds and attics to settle in, but if they end up in your walls, they will make their homes there, even if the space is limited.
The scratching in the walls is not the only noise that possums make — you can also expect to hear shrieking, hissing, and smacking sounds, especially if there are baby possums within the walls.
What Should You Do about It?
Getting rid of these unwelcome visitors and allowing them to return to their natural habitats is important.
If you are sure that there’s something in your walls, it’s best to contact your local wildlife control or pest control services so they can evaluate the situation and provide you with the best recommendations.
To prevent this situation from happening, here are a few tips you can follow:
#1. Ensure that all possible entryways are closed off and that all cracks are sealed.
#2. Keep the perimeter of your home, especially your yard, well-maintained and clean, with your gutters free of debris like acorns and rotten fruits.
#3. Dispose of your leftover foods properly and store your food supplies in airtight containers.
#4. Regularly trim the branches, shrubs, and vines that these animals can use to access your home.
#5. Fix leaky pipes and faucets, so you don’t create a water source for these animals.