Common Animals Found on Florida Roofs and How to Identify Them
Common Animals Found on Florida Roofs and How to Identify Them

Common Animals Found on Florida Roofs and How to Identify Them

Living in Florida means coexisting with many types of wildlife, some of which may take up residence on your roof from time to time. While most of these critters are harmless, it’s important to be able to identify them and take appropriate action if necessary to manage animals on roofs effectively.

Signs of Animals on Your Roof

Identifying the presence of animals on your roof involves observing a variety of telltale signs related to animals on roofs.

  • One of the most common indicators is unusual noises, particularly in the evening or early morning. Scratching, scurrying, or thumping sounds can suggest animals moving around or nesting.
  • Visible damage to roofing materials such as torn shingles, holes, or gnawed areas can be a red flag. You might also notice droppings or nesting materials like twigs, leaves, and insulation around gutters or roof edges.
  • Foul odors emanating from your attic or roof can also indicate animal activity, as decomposing organic material or waste accumulates.
  • Seeing animals directly on your roof, especially in the early hours or dusk, is a clear sign that your roof has become a habitat.

Monitoring these signs regularly can help you take timely action to manage any unwelcome roof residents.

Common Florida Animals Found on Roofs

Though Florida is known for surprises involving wildlife, here are the most common animals that can be found on roofs:

Squirrels

Eastern gray squirrel sitting on a tree branch eating nuts

One of the most frequent animals on roofs in Florida is the squirrel. These agile rodents are adept at climbing and can often be spotted scampering across rooftops or perching on chimneys and vents. There are several species of squirrels found in Florida, including the Eastern gray squirrel, the fox squirrel, and the Southern flying squirrel.

Identification: Squirrels are small to medium-sized rodents with bushy tails and large eyes. Eastern gray squirrels have a distinctive gray fur coat, while fox squirrels are larger and have a reddish-brown coat. Flying squirrels are smaller and have a furry membrane that allows them to glide between trees.

Raccoons

Raccoon in park in Montreal Canada

Raccoons are another common sight on Florida roofs, particularly at night. These intelligent and adaptable mammals are excellent climbers and may seek refuge on rooftops or in attics.

Identification: Raccoons are medium-sized mammals with a distinctive black mask-like pattern around their eyes. They have a grayish-brown coat and a striped, bushy tail. Raccoons are typically between 24 and 38 inches long, including their tail.

Opossums

Opossum or Possum Mother with Joeys riding on her Back

Opossums are marsupials that are found throughout Florida. Although they may seem intimidating with their sharp teeth and rat-like appearance, opossums are generally harmless and beneficial for controlling pests like mice and insects.

Identification: Opossums are about the size of a cat, with a pointed snout, rounded ears, and a prehensile tail. They have a grayish-white fur coat and are often seen playing dead (a defensive reaction) when threatened.

Roof Rats

Unfortunately, roof rats are a common problem in Florida, especially in urban and suburban areas. These rodents can cause significant damage to homes and pose health risks if their populations are left unchecked.

Identification: Roof rats are slender, with a pointed snout and large ears. They have a brownish-gray fur coat and a scaly, semi-naked tail that is longer than their body. Roof rats are typically between 6 and 8 inches long, not including their tail.

Birds

Various bird species may also take up residence on Florida roofs, especially those with large, flat surfaces or ledges. Common roof-dwelling birds include pigeons, mourning doves, and grackles.

Identification: Pigeons are plump birds with a gray body and two dark bars on their wings. Mourning doves are slender, with a long tail and a distinctive mournful cooing sound. Grackles are blackbirds with an iridescent purple or green sheen, and a long, keel-shaped tail.

What to Do If You Find Animals on Your Roof or In Your Attic

Animals on your roof will sometimes find their way inside, leaving you faced with the question of how to get rid of animals from the attic. Whether it’s on the outside or the inside, here are some suggestions:

1. Identify the Animal

A squirrel perched on a roof, looking around curiously.

Before taking any action, it’s crucial to correctly identify the type of animal you’re dealing with. Use the identification tips provided in the previous sections to determine whether you have squirrels, raccoons, opossums, roof rats, or birds on your roof. This will help you choose the most appropriate removal method.

2. Humane Trapping and Relocation

For animals that have already made their way inside, humane trapping and relocation are effective methods. Use live traps baited with foods that attract the specific animal you’re targeting. Once trapped, relocate the animal to a suitable habitat far from your home. Consider contacting a professional wildlife control service if you’re unsure how to do this safely and humanely.

3. Inspect the Area

Conduct a thorough inspection of your roof and attic to locate entry points and assess the extent of any damage. Look for holes, chewed wires, insulation displacement, and nests. Pay special attention to eaves, vents, and chimneys, as these are common access points for animals.

4. Seal Entry Points

Once you’ve identified the entry points, it’s important to seal them to prevent animals from re-entering. Use materials like metal mesh, caulk, or hardware cloth to cover gaps and holes. However, ensure that no animals are trapped inside before sealing, as this could lead to further issues.

5. Remove Food Sources

Eliminating potential food sources can make your home less attractive to wildlife. Keep pet food indoors, secure garbage bins with tight-fitting lids, and clean up any fallen fruits or nuts from your yard. In your attic, store food in airtight containers and remove any sources of standing water.

6. Professional Pest Control

If the problem persists or if you’re uncomfortable handling wildlife, it’s best to seek the help of professional pest control services. These experts can safely and efficiently remove the animals and implement preventive measures to avoid future infestations.

7. Regular Maintenance

Regularly maintain your roof and attic to prevent animal re-entry. Check for new damage or potential entry points, and keep your attic clean and clutter-free. Trim tree branches that hang over your roof to reduce access for climbing animals and install chimney caps and vent covers.

8. Stay Educated

Stay informed about the types of wildlife common in your area and the best practices for managing them. Understanding their behaviors and habitats can help you prevent future encounters and protect your home effectively.

Your Lakeland Roofers

When you need a roofing company in Lakeland, why not call the best – Stronghold Roofing & Solar? Our team of professional and experienced roofers can handle all your roofing needs, from installation to repairs and maintenance.

Call today for a free roof estimate!

FAQ’s – Florida Animals on Roofs

Should I be concerned about animals on my roof?

The presence of animals on your roof can cause damage to your home and pose health risks. It’s important to address the issue as soon as possible.

What should I do if I find an animal in my attic?

Identify the animal and use humane trapping methods to remove it from your attic. Seal entry points and eliminate potential food sources to prevent re-entry.

Can I remove animals from my roof myself?

It’s best to seek professional help for removing animals from your roof, especially if you’re unsure about handling wildlife or if the problem persists after initial attempts at removal.

How can I prevent animals from getting on my roof and into my attic?

Regular maintenance of your roof and attic, as well as eliminating potential food sources, can help prevent animals from accessing your home. Trimming tree branches that hang over your roof and installing chimney caps and vent covers can also be effective preventive measures.

Does homeowners insurance cover animal damage to roofs?

It’s best to check with your insurance provider for specific coverage details. In general, most homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage caused by rodents or other pests, so it’s important to take preventive measures to protect your roof.  However, if the damage is a result of a covered event, such as a storm or fire, it may be covered.  Contact your insurance provider for more information.

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