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How to Know Which Animal Is Living in Your Basement?

A basement often becomes a shelter for small animals, especially if it’s not well sealed. It’s a dark and humid place that presents a safe space from the elements, and sometimes even has some food in it. All of these are attractive qualities for wildlife and you shouldn’t be surprised if you find some of it in your home during the winter. 

It’s useful to know which animals you’ve got wandering around. Some of them aren’t dangerous at all, while others may require you to call an exterminator. 


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Squirrels are some of the most common animals you’ll encounter in your home. They will easily find their way through the cracks and into your basement, especially so if you have some food stored down there. They are small and very afraid of people, making them harmless. They can, however, cause property damage to wooden structures and sometimes to wiring. 

The first thing you’ll notice if you have a squirrel in your home are the noises that will probably start at night, once everything is calm around the house. It’s also easy to notice damage that a squirrel does to the wooden structures in your basement simply by chewing at them. 

A foul smell will start to be noticeable after a while as well and, upon a close inspection, you’ll notice droppings and squirrel footprints on the ground. Squirrels also tend to fight and make quite a bit of noise while doing it. 


Skunks are quite large and can be rather scary when you find them in your basement in the middle of the night. However, you’ll probably notice them before you meet them eye-to-eye due to the foul smell that they are most well known for. 

Skunks fear people and other large predators and it will take quite a harsh winter and a promise of food indoors to get them into a basement.  

There’s no easier animal to spot than the skunk, you’ll notice the smell right away and that will probably cause you to call a professional exterminator to deal with the problem responsibly and safely. 


Raccoons are the biggest animal that most homeowners will find in their basements. They are also one of the scariest since they can cause quite a lot of damage. It’s this size that makes them easily noticeable. They will make a lot of noise and usually break things along the way. 

Raccoons are dexterous, meaning that they will use their hands to break things, pull out wires, and rip off fences and roof shingles. They also carry a variety of different diseases. It’s best not to approach them on your own but to call a professional to do so.  


Rats and mice are the most common rodents out there and can be found anywhere in the world. They will probably be drawn to your basement in the winter when they’ll look for warm shelter. Food in the basement is also something they can’t resist. 

These animals are too small to notice when moving around and the best way to hear them is in the walls since they’ll make noise while trying to tear through this and any other barrier. If a rat has managed to go through the wall, you’ll also notice small, round, black droppings all over the basement. 

Rats also carry a lot of microbes that may end up being dangerous to the occupants of the home. There are simple traps that you can lay yourself and plenty of them are made not to hurt the animal itself, but to allow you to release it to the wild. 


Birds will find their way into your attic or basement during the winter. This is common in parts of the country where the winters are harsh and the birds have no place to go during the cold months. For the most part, birds aren’t dangerous at all and they may only cause damage by bumping into things. 

Birds will usually occupy the home to nest and once their eggs are hatched, they’ll leave without the owner having to do anything about them. The nesting is where they probably cause the most damage to the property, sometimes by tearing a piece of rug to provide a warm environment for their eggs. 

The best clue that you have a bird in your home is that you’ll hear more bird noises than usual. Other than that, it may take some time until you notice any damage or until any damage is made. 

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The Cause of the Problem 

Animals are simply drawn to warm shelters and if the conditions outdoors are too hard on them, they’ll try to find a home in your basement. The only thing to do is to make sure that the basement has no cracks and that it’s well sealed off. That will keep most animals out. 

Once you’ve dealt with the animals found in your home, it’s best to find experts in basement waterproofing and set up a free inspection to find out how the animals are getting in. For the most part, sealing a basement isn’t too difficult.