Wildlife in your home? How do wildlife get in?

Last Updated: May 2016

Do you hear noises in your attic, or hear scratching in the walls or chirping in your chimney? Then it is more than likely that you have wildlife in your home. In these cases the first step is to find out where exactly they are. The second is to figure out how they get in! Knowing what wildlife animal is on your property will help determine where you need to look.

Wildlife in your home


If you have mice on your property, then it will be tricky to figure out exactly how they are getting. Mice have the capability due to their size and dexterity to squeeze tiny entry ways. They are cunning creatures who find ways to enter through tiny cracks and holes. They dart in open doors and even in windows. Mice are good climbers and if you leave your windows open especially on the first floor it is possible they will enter in to your home.

Seal any gaps in your doors, cracks/holes on the outside of your home or any gaps between the window and the frame. Mice may also enter through vents, chimneys or around access holes created for pipes and cables. Sealing holes and cracks and putting screens on vents and chimneys is the best way to keep mice out. And don’t forget to keep your doors closed.


Although larger than mice, rats similar to mice can fit through very small holes. They can inhabit very small nooks and crannies inside a house, from walls to ceilings, crawl spaces and attics. Rats excretion as you will know is very dangerous, so it is vital if you have rats you have them removed and closely inspect for your house for their entry points. It is not always easy to spot entry points, but a brown grease marks is usually an identifier for it if used often. For rats, you may have to crawl into tight spots or in some cases dig which is why it is highly advised to hire a professional to get rid your rat problem.


Raccoons are extremely intelligent animals who have adapted to city and urban life in Toronto too well. Raccoons have different vision from humans. They are able to see the heat escaping from your home and approach that weak area and get inside. They might rip open a soffit or go through an open vent, tear a hole in the wall or even just climb through your pet door. Not only do they have great sight but they have a great sense of smell, so do not leave any pet food about as this attracts them and may lead the raccoons into your home. Below are common areas for raccoon entry. It is recommended to inspect these areas at least twice annually to make sure there are no holes or any weak areas that need to be replaced.


Squirrels, like raccoons enter through holes in the roof, rip soffits, go through an open vent, chimney or through a hole in the wall. Squirrels are usually more frightened of you than you are of it, so try making loud noises or play ongoing music or call a professional. Covering entry holes with metal mesh, capping chimneys and trimming trees back from your home will help keep them out. The above diagram shows entry points for raccoons as well as squirrels. These areas on your roof should be inspected twice annually to monitor and replace any weak areas.


Opossums are pests because they will do anything to break into your home. If a opossum learns you have food, in some cases they will return on a daily basis and cause havoc. Opossums will make a nest in your home by chewing through the exterior of your house to get into your walls, garage, attic etc. If opossums invade your home they can chew through wood, drywall, gnaw on electrics and rip up all insulation in your home. To prevent opossums from entering, remove all food sources, secure your garbage and put a wire mesh around your yard or house buried at a foot deep to stop them digging under it.

Always check for babies before removing an adult, and do not remove an adult and seal off the entry points as the babies will starve and die. The babies need to be humanely removed and reunited with their mother who will take them to another nest.

As explained, services and methods depend on the situation, the type of animal and how they get in. It is highly advised to wildlife proof your home, this involves sealing all vents and weak areas of your home with mesh. Surrounding your home with a foot deep mesh that will help prevent wildlife from digging under your home and gaining entry. You should check your home regularly throughout the year to see if there are any sign of animals trying to enter your home as the best method for wildlife control is prevention.

Who to Call For Wildlife Removal, And Things To Do Before Calling

Last Updated: Jan 2022

Do you have a raccoon, skunk, or squirrel causing damage on your property? If so, then perhaps you need wildlife removal services! Calling a professional wildlife removal service will help you remove and prevent wildlife from your property in a professional, humane and effective manner. But if you’re looking to take some steps before you contact a professional, here are some things that you can do!

Some points to remember about wildlife

  • It’s likely the animal is more scared of you, than you the animal
  • Wildlife removal should always be conducted humanely
  • Do not pick up, feed, or handle the animal
  • Never corner wildlife. Cornering may result in a defensive, aggressive animal
  • Always exercise caution when around wildlife

Encountering Wildlife

  1. If you think there is wildlife under your porch or in your attic, try to identify the entry point.
  2. Inspect the potential entry point after dark when the animal would have left to gather food.
  3. Inspect for tracks or use a thin layer of sand/flour at the entrance. Their print lefts in the sand/flour will help you identify the animal
  4. Identify the tracks Through research, or by asking a wildlife professional
  5. Do not seal the only entry point and trap the animal. Sealing the only entry point and trapping the animal inside can kill the animal by starvation. Please do not do this. There are humane alternatives. 
  6. To humanely remove the animal yourself discourage them from staying by setting up a bright light and leave it on through the day and night. You can also turn on a radio or other ongoing sound and leave it playing in the area. The animal will not like the light or noise and will eventually leave.

Never trap the animal yourself or set up your own traps as you may end up trapping the neighbors cat or your own pet.

Animal in your living space

If the animal is in your living space it is best to stay calm, close interior doors, leave the room, and let the animal find its own way back out through the open door or window. If necessary, gently use a broom to guide the animal outside. This actually happened to me before, I returned home from work to find my housemate freaking out. He had a raccoon behind his bed. This is extremely rare for the animal to come into the actual house. The raccoon came in the balcony door and went into my housemates room and was eating out of his garbage and the raccoon hid behind his bed when he entered. He was in there 20 minutes before he realized. To get the raccoon out I opened the window, left the room and closed the door behind me. I checked thirty minutes later and the raccoon had left himself. We make sure the balcony door is always now closed, it was quite funny, my housemate now laughs too.

If none of the above work call SOS Wildlife Control Incorporated toll free on 1-800-981-0330 who can safely and humanly remove the wildlife animal

Mother with babies

If you find wildlife animal with babies, it is recommended to call a wildlife professional. Do not handle any young, as the mother is usually nearby and can be protective. If you come across a baby animal at night, the mother is usual not too far. If you come across an injured or orphaned baby animal do not handle or disturb it! Finding a baby raccoon in your garden may happen when a mother is transporting her babies from one den to another. The mother will come back for the baby but it must be left alone as the mother will not come out unless she feels safe.

Wildlife should not be handled or transported by anyone but a trained professional as they can carry rabies and parasites. If you do find a baby on your property you can call Toronto Animal Services on 416.338.7297.

Wildlife may not be kept as pets

It is very common when people discovery orphaned wildlife to take it home and keep it as a pet, however this is illegal. Wildlife may not be kept as pets; people who do so risk injury from the animal and a fine. For more information on this check Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR)

If you are bitten or scratched seek immediate medical attention; if your pet is injured, seek immediate veterinary attention as raccoon’s are known to carry rabies.

Avoid Pest Problems

For any wild animal, deny them access to attractants, which can be food or shelter. Keep all garbage and composts in secure containers or enclosures as those odors attract pests. For long-term prevention against raccoon’s, squirrels, skunks, bat, mice etc. call a wildlife professional.