Have you ever looked up to your gutters and noticed that one side is bent horribly out of shape? It may be cracked or it may just be dangling off the side of your home. It can be a shocking sight, but that gutter didn’t break itself and it didn’t happen so quickly overnight. When a gutter is so mangled that it’s hanging off the side of your home, there’s a good chance an animal may be the culprit.
The fact is that clogged gutters aren’t just blocking water from getting off your roof and down to the ground. They’re also creating a home for animals and pests that live nearby. You might think that your gutters would be too small or narrow to be a hospitable home for any animal, especially bigger ones such as racoons, but not all animals are as picky about their homes as humans. A gutter will do just fine for them.
So if you notice a clogged rain gutter that’s been bent, it could be an animal living inside it. Here’s how a clogged rain gutter can become an ideal home for an animal or pest and what to do about it.
Why animals like to make their homes in a clogged rain gutter
To us, a clogged rain gutter seems like the least hospitable place for an animal to make its nest, especially when your property has so many tall trees, but your gutters offer a lot of benefits.
A clogged rain gutter can be a particularly good place for animals that build their nests out of sticks and leaves. When your gutter becomes clogged, that debris is caught there, creating a pre-made nest that any animal would be happy to live with. Sure, it may get a little damp when it rains, but other than that, this nest couldn’t get much better.
The location of your clogged rain gutter is also a big plus. Squirrels and rats prefer higher places because they want to be safe from predators on the ground. Your gutters give them a prime viewing spot to avoid becoming lunch for a coyote or bobcat — or even a house cat.
Because gutters are so high off the ground, they can offer shelter and safety for animals looking to have babies or lay eggs — but on the flip side, this can also attract some predators
Damage to your gutters and home
A bent gutter hanging off the side of your home is just one example of what could happen when an animal decides to take up residence in a clogged rain gutter, but the truth is, there are less obvious, but more damaging problems that could arise if an animal makes its home there.
For one thing, a clogged rain gutter will stop the natural flow of water from your roof to the ground, and it could lead to damage to your foundation, which is what gutters are designed to protect. If too much water makes its way down to your foundation, it can cause serious — and serious expensive — problems such as flooded basements, erosion and even foundation shifts. Fixing these problems will cost you thousands of dollars, and if you put them off, you’re going to have a hard time selling your home. Every house inspection is going to note the problems with the foundation, and if you’re not willing to fix the problem, no one’s going to want to invest in a home that’s crumbling.
A clogged rain gutter can also lead to holes in your roof, which is exactly what many animals and pests are looking to exploit. Over time, that water that’s building up from the clogged rain gutter and spilling over can rot the wooden frame of your roof. This creates an easy entrance for animals to get into your attic and start making their homes in a safe, warm environment. On the plus side, they’ll be moving out of your gutters, but now you’ll have a whole new problem on your hands.
Of course, having a racoon or other larger mammal living in your clogged rain gutter could break them altogether. You may have a bent gutter, as we previously mentioned, but there’s also the chance that your gutters could come crashing down. They could also crack, which would drop that water straight to your foundation.
Replacing your gutters can be costly, so it’s better to keep animals out of your gutters altogether by keeping them clear of debris.
Types of animals and pests that can be found in your gutters
You can probably guess a few of the culprits doing damage to your clogged rain gutter. After all, it’s not uncommon to see squirrels scampering across your roofline. But some animals that like to make their homes in your clogged rain gutter may surprise you, but if you think about it, it all makes a lot of sense.
So which animals are responsible for causing all of this damage to your clogged rain gutter and home? Take a look at our extensive list.
Raccoons like the safety of being high up and away from predators, and while some may give birth in your clogged rain gutter, what they’re really looking for is a way into your warm attic. They can access your roof from a hanging tree branch or even climb your drain spout, but what they really want is easy access from their home to your trash.
Possums can be hard to catch in the daytime. Like raccoons, they’re nocturnal animals, so unless you’re staking out your gutters, you probably won’t see them, especially when they decide to play dead. If left alone, possums will laze about in your gutters and might even reproduce.
Squirrels are probably the most common rodent found in your gutters. They like to use tree branches to get over to your roof and set up a home in your clogged rain gutter. Like raccoons and possums, they’re looking for a way into your attic as well, so don’t give them the chance.
You may think that it’s uncommon to see rats hanging out on a roof, but these days, roof rats are far more common in Houston than you would think. They’re mostly looking for a way to get into your warm attic, but they’re not opposed to hanging out in your gutters.
You probably know already that birds use twigs and leaves to build their nests, so a clogged rain gutter is sort of like a prefabricated home for them. They might add a little more and then start laying eggs. This could become a major problem. Not only will the added sticks and leaves clog your gutters even more, but when you try to remove the nest with eggs inside, the bird may become aggressive.
If you’ve noticed feral cats roaming your neighborhood, then there’s always the chance one of them will decide to live in your clogged gutter. It’s not a popular destination for feral cats, but it is high away from predators. If you do find a feline, the best thing to do is trap it and take it to an animal shelter, preferably a no-kill one.
Mosquitoes are less interested in your attic and the debris caught in your clogged rain gutter. What they’re really after is the standing water stuck because of the leaves and sticks. Mosquitoes like to lay their eggs in standing water where predators will be less likely — though not impossible, as we’ll soon see — to get at their eggs. Overtime, this can cause a mosquito infestation that can make going outside almost unbearable.
Surprising, right? Why would a lizard want to live in a clogged rain gutter? It makes sense once you think about it. Lizards like to eat insects like mosquitoes, so if you have mosquitoes constantly laying eggs around your clogged rain gutter, that’s an almost endless supply of food for a lizard.
Like lizards, snakes go where the food is. If you’re got a rat or possum having babies in your clogged rain gutter, that’s too much of a snake. Snakes can usually slither down from a branch hanging over your roof or even climb a drain pipe. In your gutters, they’re able to smell the small rodents that they like to eat.
If you’re like most people, you’d probably like to go the rest of your life without encountering a snake in your clogged rain gutter. If you’re diligent, then this is an achievable goal.
How to detract animals and pests from making homes in your gutters
Now that you know what’s been living in your clogged rain gutter, you may be more anxious than ever to find a way to keep them out. Considering all the possible damage that could be done and the costs needed to fix those damages, it’s best to stop these animals before they start putting up “Home Sweet Home” signs in your gutters.
While many animals can climb your gutters, it may seem like you have no real way to keep them off your gutters, but you can make it harder for them. For one thing, you can keep your nearby trees trimmed so that no branches comes close to touching your roof. These branches are like makeshift bridges to racoons, roof rats, squirrels and other animals who want to move from a tree to your gutters and attic. In fact, they make attics look even more appealing because they offer an easy way to get back down to the ground to look for food.
Get into the habit of trimming your trees regularly to get rid of these bridges. If you’re uncomfortable doing the work yourself or your trees are just too tall for your ladder, you can always hire a professional to come and trim your trees for you. It can feel like an extra service that you’ll need to pay for, but in the long run, it will probably save you money.
You can also install gutter guards on your gutters to deter animals from making their homes in your gutter. There are different types of gutter guards that can be installed, but the most basic is usually a type of mesh that goes across the opening of the gutter. Water can still get through, but leaves and sticks are left on top. Gutter guards will keep the water moving, but if you left the leaves and sticks stay on top and build up, the weight could damage your gutters. Having gutter guards is a great level of protection, but some homeowners install them and then think they never have to monitor their gutters again, and that’s not true.
The best way to deter animals from setting up a home in your gutters is to keep them unclogged. At Advantage Pro Services, we’ve seen the damage that can be done first hand when a homeowner doesn’t keep the gutters unclogged.
Cleaning a clogged rain gutter can be time consuming and even dangerous if you don’t have a tall enough ladder. Most homeowners prefer to think of their gutters as out of sight and out of mind, but ignoring the problem certainly won’t make it go away. The more you put off cleaning your gutters, the bigger the problem may become.
That’s why we at Advantage Pro Services recommend regular gutter cleaning services to make sure no animal decides to make a home in your gutters. Our experts use a three-step process to make sure you gutters look spotless everytime. We first work to secure every possible opening to your home where water may get inside. We want to prevent this from happening, so we check your home first to make sure there are no openings.
Then we tackle the tough task of cleaning out your gutters. Our experts use stabilizers to ensure that we’re not putting more pressure on your gutter system and causing more damage.Once the cleaning is finished, we remove all the debris from your property so you don’t have to get rid of it yourself.
Our process guarantees happy customers and unclogged gutters. We make sure that our customers’ gutters never become homes to animals and pests.
We want to know: What animals have turned your clogged rain gutter into a home? Share with us in the comments and let us know how our services can help.