Cold Temperatures Cause Animals to Take Shelter in Oxford Attics


An A All Animal Control (AAAC) truck with a recent catch of racoons. Photo courtesy of Jessica Earley

By Annie Craver

The sound of rain or the slight breeze from a fan may soothe you into sleep, but the sound of animals scurrying around in the attic is enough to keep you up all night.

Many people living in Oxford have experienced the endless noise of animals running around in the attics or on the roofs of their houses. With the winter here, there are plenty of critters who will come in from the cold if we let them. “During colder months we receive more calls about wildlife seeking shelter in attics or small crawl spaces because they are trying to find a warm place to stay,” said Jessica Earley, owner of AAAC Wildlife Removal of Cincinnati, which catches pesky critters throughout the region.

Many animals like rats, skunks and raccoons carry harmful diseases or sprays. Earley said, “Some diseases these animals can carry include fleas, ticks, lice, tuberculosis, and rabies, and can be harmful to household pets.”

Junior Julia Asphar, living in an off-campus house on Collins Street, recalled multiple nights both last and this semester of lying in bed and hearing the clicking of animals over her head. “It’s just gross knowing they are up there and not being able to control it. The noises are the worst part,” she said.

According to the nationally known pest control company Terminix, the most common animals one can find in the attic include raccoons, squirrels, other rodents and possums. In Oxford, there have been recent reports of another group of animals seeking shelter – skunks.

Junior Maddie Sackett lives with friends in a house on Main Street; she said last semester their contractor caught “three possums, two skunks, a raccoon and a groundhog” seeking shelter in the attic of the house. Sackett also said that just this past Friday, the house was made aware that there was a skunk in one of the traps set up by their landlord. “There are times it sounds like fight club up there; they are that loud,” she said.

While last semester the students were able to get someone out to go into the attic and check out the situation, the attic hasn’t stayed clear for long. “It’s happening all over again,” Asphar said. “We have called our contractor multiple times and all they do is set up traps when they really need to go into the attic and inspect the situation.”

As for what residents can do to prevent such incidents, Angela Schatzle, a public safety assistant with the Oxford Police Department, said people are welcome to call animal control, but they are likely just to be referred to a professional pest control company in such cases. Tips for dealing with various species of unwanted wildlife houseguests are available on the website of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

In the case of an unwanted animal that has entered your property, AAAC’s Earley says “Please do NOT try to remove it yourself. Handling wildlife can be dangerous, and in some cases, illegal. Wild animals can exhibit a wide range of behaviors and without the proper tools, do-it-yourself attempts might result in bodily harm, property damage, or suffering for the animals.”

As of this week, both Sackett and Asphar had to reach out to contractors again, but were waiting to hear back about when someone would be coming to take a look in the attic.