You were grabbing Christmas decorations from the attic and with the corner of your eye you caught a loose wire. And it’s not just loose—it appears to have bite marks and some of the wire insulation is completely ripped off. Luckily the wiring itself looks good! And luckily you’ve noticed it now and not when your lights stop working or worse—when you smell smoke descending from the attic! But why are your wires in such a bad shape? From our experience as Maryland animal removal professionals, there is probably a wildlife critter or some other pest in your attic. Here are a few ideas on what it could be.

Is it Squirrels?

Squirrels like to nest in attics, especially when they are about to have babies. Unfortunately, they are far from harmless little critters many people think them to be. They have massive and strong front teeth that they have to constantly exercise in order to keep them from overgrowing. This means they chew on things in your attic, whether it’s wooden beams, plastic storage containers or wiring that happens to run along the attic walls or ceiling. Squirrels cause over 30,000 fires every year, leading to thousands of dollars in property damage, and sometimes even fatalities. Here is a quick video we put together about squirrels to help you understand how dangerous they can be. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjOfniePBWI

Is it Mice?

Mice are fairly common pests no matter where you live. They also like attics and they like to chew. Sometimes they may chew to try if something is edible, and other times they just gather materials for their nest or wear down their teeth. Either way, if there are mice in you home, they could be in your walls and in your attic, and it’s possible they are chewing on your wiring.

Is it Rats?

Rats, like all rodents, also have teeth that need to be kept in check by constant gnawing. While they don’t go after wires specifically, wires often get in the way of whatever a rat is doing. For example, rats may chew holes or enlarge existing holes to get from one place to another. And because wires are often fished through holes in studs, there you go—wiring becomes an unfortunate casualty. Because rats are bigger than mice, they can cause significant damage to your wiring that may lead to power outages and even fire.

Signs of Wiring Problems

So, maybe you didn’t find any chewed-through wires in the attic, but there is something wonky going on with the power. This could also be a sign of wire damage caused by rodents. While rodents are not always the cause of electrical problems, it’s best to inspect the wiring anyway to rule them out. Here are some signs that your wiring may be damaged by rodents:

  • Alarms randomly going off for no reason
  • Lights flickering
  • Partial power outage
  • Tripping circuit breakers

If any of this sounds familiar, don’t delay getting your wiring inspected, especially now when Christmas lights put extra pressure on our circuits. Hopefully, your wires are intact and it’s just an electrical issue. However, if you or electrician discover gnaw marks, call a Maryland animal removal company right away—you could be a few bites short of a fire. At Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control we can help you identify which nuisance animal you are dealing with and get rid of it once and for all!