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How Do Wild Animals Get Into Homes

raccoon hiding in backyard

How Does Wildlife Enter My Home? 

Wildlife will often find any way they can to get into your home. Some common entry points for wild animals in the house include:

  • Chimneys 
  • Roof vents
  • Small gaps or cracks
  • Holes in shingles or siding
  • Holes underneath your house
  • Natural openings like doors and windows

Wild animals see your home as a sanctuary. It's warm, dry, and provides a perfect shelter for them during harsh weather. Wild animals often find the small and dark spaces of your attic, basement, garage, and walls to be the perfect habitat for them, especially if food sources are available. Not only can they damage the structural integrity of your home, but they can also carry dangerous diseases such as Salmonella, Hantavirus, Tularemia, and more. 

Signs of a Wildlife Infestation

If you suspect that a wild animal has found their way into your house, keep an eye out for the following signs: 

  • A strong, unexplainable odor: If a rodent dies inside your wall, the smell will be unavoidable. The smell of urine is also a strong indicator of a hiding rodent. 
  • Odd pet behavior: If you have a pet, they will likely sense the presence of wildlife in your home.
  • Droppings: Rodent droppings are one of the most common signs of an infestation. Make sure you wear gloves and a mask while cleaning up wildlife droppings because they can carry dangerous diseases. 
  • Holes: If you notice any holes or gaps in the structure of your home or walls, it may have been caused by a rodent trying to enter. 
  • Grease marks: When rodents squeeze through small gaps or holes, the oil on their fur can create grease marks on surfaces that they come in contact with. 
  • Noise: Wildlife and rodents are typically active at night. If you hear scratches from your attic or inside your walls, you likely have a rodent infestation.

Small Wild Animals in Florida

Our professional exterminators have compiled a list of common rodents and backyard animals they encounter in Florida. Understanding how wild animals are entering your house is a critical step for keeping them out in the future. Here are the most common animals that can get into your house.

Mice and Rats

Mice are capable of fitting through extremely small openings in floors, walls, and foundations. After they enter homes, they can be extremely difficult to get rid of. Mice may also enter the home through gaps in windows or ceilings, as well as around sewer lines. If drainage pipes are not properly sealed, mice may enter homes through sink or bathtub drains. They are known to find their way inside via entry holes around plumbing and oven gas lines. 


Squirrels are sneaky pests that can move through tiny holes, gaps, and openings. Typically, squirrels will reside in your attic after gaining entry through your roof or chimney, gable vents in the attic, or wall vents along your house.


Raccoons possess impressive abilities to squeeze into small spaces, allowing them to infiltrate attics through various entry points. Among their preferred access areas are the junctures where eaves converge with the roof structure, such as dormers or architectural bends that bring different sections of the roof together. Additionally, raccoons frequently exploit vulnerable spots like soffit vents, gable vents, and other roof vents to gain entry. Remarkably, these flexible creatures are even capable of tearing through shingles and wooden roofs, demonstrating their remarkable strength as they breach the attic.


Snakes usually enter at ground level through gaps or cracks. These openings can be remarkably small and are created by careless construction, settling of the structure, or by other animals. If you can see daylight through a gap, a snake could use that space to access your building.

Opossums and Armadillos

Other wild animals tend to use the variety of entry options described above. We often find opossums in attics, crawl spaces, decks, porches, and outbuildings like tool sheds. They will tear loose vents and rip holes in shingles or siding.

How To Prevent Wildlife from Entering Your House 

Dealing with an animal infestation in your house can be extremely stressful. The best way to prevent this from happening is by taking precautions around your home to make sure these animals can’t get in. While the most successful form of wildlife and rodent control is exclusion work to ensure that your home is sealed safely to ward off potential pests, there are some additional steps you can take to prevent wildlife from entering your house. These include:

  • Making sure not to leave any food (pet or otherwise) around the perimeter of your house where wild animals can access it.
  • Having locking mechanisms on garbage cans. Places near easily accessible food are where animals want to nest.
  • Cutting all trees and tree branches near the roof and keeping them at least a few yards away.
  • Taking measures to protect your plumbing areas. The openings around your plumbing pipes should be sealed so there’s a barrier between your home and wildlife.
  • Sealing any gaps or holes in the walls and structure of your home. These points are where insects, snakes, and small mice could enter.

While some wildlife seeks out shelter and food by making a nest in your home, others want to find their way out quickly. Either way, it's important to respond to a rodent infestation quickly before they potentially give birth or die while living in your walls. If you suspect a rodent or wildlife infestation, don't wait to reach out to the professionals at Tony's Pest Control. Our rodent control is highly trained in removing animals while ensuring the safety of you and your family. Check out our rodent control in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Punta Gorda, Lehigh Acres, and the surrounding area.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Did A Squirrel Get In My Basement?

Squirrels are likely to get in your basement if you have any cracks or holes in your home's foundation. These critters can squeeze through small openings, so don't discredit any crack you see!

Can Raccoons Break Through The Ceiling?

Raccoons can break through ceilings, but this usually only happens in buildings with drop ceiling tiles or damaged ceilings. Water damage, multiple raccoons, or urine damage from raccoons nesting in the ceiling for extended periods of time can all lead to ceiling breakthroughs. 

How Do Animals Get Into My Attic?

Animals get into your attic through small holes in the exterior of your home. While a small hole might not seem like a problem, animals such as rats or mice can actually fit through an opening as small as .5 inches in diameter. Animals will use tall trees nearby to climb up and enter your attic. 

How Do I Get Rid of Animals Under My House?

To get rid of animals under your house by yourself, you can either use one-way exclusion devices or create an escape route for the animal. However, both of these methods can be difficult and not always effective. It's best to call a professional for humane animal removal. 

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