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Why Do I Hear Scratching in My Walls at Night?

Nighttime is usually the quietest time of the day when everyone can enjoy peace and quiet after a busy day. But sometimes, these quiet times are ruined by noises coming from the walls inside the house. Scratching noises in the night can leave many people wondering, “Why do I hear scratching in my walls at night?” 

In this article, we’ll try to figure out what’s making these strange noises and solve these mysteries that are often hidden in the dark. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Listen to the sound to determine if the noises coming from your walls are from your neighbor or the animals inside your home. Wild animal noises are extremely unpredictable and inconsistent. 
  • Some of the most common animals that live behind walls are birds, squirrels, rats, mice, and even big raccoons.
  • To stop the noises coming from your walls, you should find out what kind of creature is in there before taking steps to get rid of it. 
  • For the safety of everyone, it’s best to call a professional to handle the situation. 

Why do I hear scratching in my walls at night?

When you hear scratching sounds coming from your walls, it’s often because unwanted guests are already inside. Creatures like mice, rats, squirrels, or even birds might be the culprits. To solve this problem, you should investigate the situation and, if necessary, hire pest control or animal removal experts. 

Possible reasons behind the scratching in my walls at night

Baby mouse
Baby mouse | image by Nick Harris via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

There is a good chance you hear scratching sounds from within your walls at night because of rodents or other small animals that make their home there. They could be as small as insects and spiders or as large as mice, rats, or even raccoons. These unwanted guests can enter your home by taking advantage of the many cracks and crevices around your house that provide entry points for them. 

If you have them living inside your walls, they can cause damage to the structure of your home, which will lead to structural problems and may even make it difficult for you to sleep at night due to the noise they make. 

Is it an animal… or other possible noises?

The best thing you can do if you are still trying to decide whether the sounds you are hearing are coming from an animal that’s living inside your walls or simply some noise coming from your neighbor is to pay attention to the sounds that you are hearing. 

If the noise is coming from your neighbor, it’ll always have the same characteristic quality. It could be any noise, and it could be caused by anything that’s either loose or not in its proper place.

On the other hand, if the sounds you’re hearing aren’t always the same and include some sounds of scratching, there’s a good chance that an animal has made its way inside your walls and is causing the problem. 

This is especially important if you have discovered holes in your walls or ceilings, which could allow certain animals to gain access to your home. 

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Possible animals behind the scratching

Rats and Mice

Rats on lumber
Rats on lumber | Image by Silvia from Pixabay

Your home’s walls may be home to various animals, the most common of which are rats and mice. Typically, these pests will try to enter your home by gnawing or chewing holes in the wood.

It’s also possible that mice are entering your home through the many cracks and crevices that are present in your walls. They favor living inside houses because this provides them with warmth, protection from their natural enemies, and easy access to a source of food that they can find inside your home. 


Red Squirrel foraging in the grass
Red Squirrel foraging in the grass | image by hedera.baltica via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Squirrels also have a tendency to make their homes within the walls of human structures. You can tell them apart from rodents like rats and mice if you listen for their presence in the early morning and later in the day, as this is when they’re the most active. Since their teeth never stop growing, you might also hear sounds like chewing coming from your walls when they’re around. 


Eurasian collared doves
Eurasian collared doves

There’s also a chance that the noises you hear in your walls come from birds. These creatures are easy to recognize because, alongside the sound of scratching that they make, you’ll also hear plenty of chirping coming from them.

The chirping becomes louder as more birds join the party, and the more chirpiness you hear, the greater the likelihood that you’ll discover a flock of birds nesting inside the walls of your home. 


Raccoons in swamp
Raccoons in Swamp | image by pedrik via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Even though they’re one of the most active animals at night, raccoons can sometimes be heard making noises during the day. They have a heavier build than rats and mice, which enables you to distinguish between the two because they’re more noticeable when they walk across the walls. If these animals are living within your walls, you may also hear baby raccoons squeal and adults chattering. 

What to do if you hear scratching in your walls at night?

  • It’s important to know what kind of creatures you’re dealing with if you hear noises coming from within your walls. Although rodents like rats and mice are the most common, many other species could also make their home there. 
  • Once you know what kind of creature is living there, you can take steps to trap it or lure it outside the walls. This will stop them from returning and potentially breeding inside your home.
  • If you want to solve the problem and avoid further injury, calling in the experts is a good idea. They know what they’re doing and can help you out in a variety of sticky situations. 

How to Prevent Future Infestations?

Prevention is essential when it comes to warding off unwanted visitors in your house. You can help prevent future infestations by doing the following:

  • Check the walls and ceiling of your home for any holes, and then patch them up as soon as you can. 
  • It’s essential to remove all debris from your gutters and yard as much as possible, particularly any fruits or seeds that could entice different kinds of animals.
  • Don’t leave food or water for your pet outside overnight; doing so will attract unwanted visitors like mice.
  • Make sure the trash bags are secured by tying them up tightly.
  • Keep your house clean by clearing away any clutter that might provide easy cover for pests in areas of the house where they might be hiding.
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As homeowners, it’s our job to keep our homes safe and undamaged by acting quickly when we see signs of unwanted visitors. Hiring a professional pest control service or animal removal service is the best and most humane way to get rid of pests or unwanted animals in the home. This will allow us to return to living in peace in our own space while still caring for the wildlife around us.


  • “Do’s and Don’ts of Pest Control”, United States Environmental Protection Agency, May 31, 2023, epa.gov