Strange noise from loft..

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it sounds as if someone is sprinkling rice for a second or two onto the top of the ceiling boards. Happens just for a second or two and then nothing else for hours or more. Is this typical of mice? I have noticed it several times in the small hours recently. One time at about 3am there was quite a fluttering sound, like wings going beserk, which lasted a while but it really wasn't the time to get the step ladder out and wake the whole household! Sceptical friends have suggest birds perched on the gutter can sound as if they're in the loft, or may have dropped small items that roll the roof.
I can't see anything knawed in the loft, or any droppings.
One side of the house is fairly rough natural stone, easily climbed by critters I'm sure, and at the top there are plenty of gaps which the builders tried to plug with some sort of metal mesh (though not very well) after we complained about the starling we once chased out of the place.
Obviously I'd like to seal things up good and proper while still allowing ventilation. Any suggestions? The smallest mesh I can find is 6mm squares, and another usenet posting suggests some small fiends can still get through something even as fine as that!
If I can find a smaller mesh, would that keep out most wee beasties? Is that yellow-y spray foam stuff suitable for pluggin any other small holes, do rodents feed upon it happily, is it a toxic nightmare to spray it in a confined space on all fours?
The other noise we're getting sounds like something falling down inside the cavity wall... which leads to another question... the top of the cavity wall is open in the loft, so if anything can get into the cavity via the recent conservatory work it can in theory get into the loft. Am I OK to cover the top of the cavity wall, or does it need to 'breathe'?
I just want a quiet loft devoid of all lifeforms from mould upwards in size! HELP!
thanks.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.co.uk (Diphthong) wrote:
Hello Diphthong

Sounds like bats - although they tend to be more active at dawn/dusk than 3am. They also dump guano everywhere (almost identical to mouse crap).
It could be a bird, mouse or squirrel. Check for chewed stuff, especially wiring and plastic pipes - look behind boxes and in corners.
If a bird, most likely got trapped and is probably dead by now.

That'll be fine. I think mice can get down to about 10mm (by dislocating their jaw) but 6mm is /tiny/. Anything loud enough to bother you wouldn't stand a chance.
Always put some poison up there just to make sure that you haven't trapped anything in.

You rightly wanted to keep ventilation - ignore expanding foam.

Yes, it does need to breathe or you could end up with damp walls. Ok to use mesh over it though, if there is a chance of things getting up.
--
Simon Avery, Dartmoor, UK
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Diphthong wrote:

Mice can get through a space that just allows their skull through, basically about the size of a pencil. So mesh unless very fine, won't keep 'em out
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On 5 Dec 2003 08:14:20 -0800, Diphthong wrote:

bat's roost or block the bat's access. It is permissible in a house, but only under the supervision of English Nature. See <http://www.bats.org.uk/batlaw.htm
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<snip>
Sounds like either Mice, Bats or Demonic Possesion! Have a look for any droppings, if you can't find any it's probably the latter option.
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[snip]
If it's any consolation, my house is normally rodent-free but at this time of year we get a few little "visitors". So the RAT trap is set and makes a nice indent on the mice dispatched by it.
I'd clearly like to devise some sort of humane mice-excluder device that lures them to (say) the soffit area and then gives them a choice of one direction down a pipe and out of the house. Something with quite a few one-way ratchets so that once excluded there is no easy return. I'm getting tired of emptying the traps too.
HTH
Mungo
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On Fri, 5 Dec 2003 23:08:58 +0000 (UTC), Mungo Henning wrote:

They'd love that! Make your house into a playground for them wonderful. Experience has shown that the ones that come in when it gets cold outside will just keep coming back in unless you bump 'me off or transport them a good few miles.

Since we started the transportation of our "visitors" 4 miles up onto the fell tops we don't see them again. Our first ones where mid October, about half a dozen or so, haven't had one for weeks now. Previously, when we released at the bottom of the paddock, it would 3 or 4 per week nearly all winter...
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On Fri, 05 Dec 2003 23:54:49 +0000 (GMT), "Dave Liquorice"

Could be that you are bumping them off anyway. Maybe they are making their way back to your place and on the way get confronted by some wild animal looking for its lunch.....
PoP
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On Sat, 06 Dec 2003 05:30:34 +0000, PoP wrote:

Thats fine by me. I'm happier about possibly feeding the local predators than simply killing in cold blood and dumping in the compost heap. After all the Merlin, Brown Owls, Hen Harriers, Buzzards, Stoats, Weasles, Pole Cats, etc all have to live on something.
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Dave Liquorice wrote:

So give them freshly slaughtered corpses. And save you them and the mouse all that extra effort.

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On Sun, 07 Dec 2003 13:42:49 +0000, The Natural Philosopher wrote:

Some of those don't take carrion...
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On Sat, 6 Dec 2003 10:04:30 -0000, "Mary Fisher"

When I showed my grand daughter, 8yo, the paper that had been used by our "visitor" and the gnaw marks in a mars bar she took fright. She won't stay overnight now nor go upstairs un accompanied. This despite my having shown her nests with occupants in the wild.
Having trapped (break back trap) them in the past and found them to be woodmice I'm leaving this one alone (well I have set a mikk bottle with chocolate but doubt it will work).
AJH
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wrote:

I wonder why? Such a little thing compared with even an eight year old.
But people are irrationally frightened of all sorts of tiny things, such as flying insects (even moths which can't bite or sting!) and yet are happy enough to walk alongside or cross a busy road risking several hundredweights of metal hitting them.

That's a shame.

A house mouse was killed in our Ratzapper last night. I'm not frightened of mice but don't want them in the house. Why? I don't know. They're not in the pantry.
I'm as irrational as the next man - who set the trap, not me.
Mary

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On Sat, 6 Dec 2003 12:03:20 -0000, Mary Fisher wrote:

Most odd, maybe she hadn't realised that mice have teeth and very effective teeth. Or perhaps the nibbling of "human food" rather than "mouse food" upset her, young children can have a very black and white world view.

Make that over a tonne for the average car, 20cwt+...

I don't want them in the house because of the damage they cause. They'll nibble anything, cables, pipes you name it. I also don't want them wandering over the kitchen worktops where we prepare food, they leave a urine trail or finding their way to our food stores...
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I must have been about that age when I went to see my mother in the kitchen of the nursery where she was a dinner lady (this more than 50 years ago).
She told me to sit very still and quiet and watch the floor near the gas cooker. I did and was rewarded by seeing a mouse come out from behind the stove. I was fascinated.
Oh - those were the days when children did as they were told ... :-)
(and Mars bars were on coupons and hardly seen)
Mary
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Mary Fisher wrote:

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On Sat, 6 Dec 2003 10:04:30 -0000, Mary Fisher wrote:

Whats the problem? The mice are just outside the door along with shrews, voles and rats. What do people expect an sensible animal to do when it gets cold? It's not going to stay out in the cold when there is a nice warm place with plentifull food supply just through that hole...
We get an annual invasion around about mid October, when the first cold nights/frosts occur. The rest of the time the house is rodent free, well free of obvious signs of rodent... B-)
With young children there are small particles of food under the dining table or on the kitchen floor, you'd have to hoover after every meal to not have. One of the first indications of a "visitor" is a clean carpet under the dining table or clean kitchen floor. I've watched them foraging in the kitchen, they don't miss the tinyest a crumb. I guess townies aren't used to the wildlife being quite so obvious and close.

None, dust mites are everywhere that humans live. What do they quote? Half the weight of a 2 year old duvet is dust mite droppings or at least a significant percentage... I bet there aren't many places without woodlice somewhere or silverfish.
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I don't know. I have no problem, I don't know why others do.

I know that, you know that, but very many people can't bear the thought of it.

Absolutely.
Ah - you've hit the nail on the head. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence ...

Some of us are ... some of us understand that there are more rats per square whatever than there are in the country.

Now silverfish is the one thing I haven't seen in forty years in this house. I once saw a couple in an only occasionally inhabited ancient cottage on the North Yorkshire Moors.
I don't mind the mammals. I'm not worried about most lepidoptera or hymenoptera.
I don't warm to slugs or maggots (yes I KNOW some of them are baby lepidoptera). Woodlice are snapped up by the hens. We haven't had evidence of fleas since the cat went for his last trip to the vets.
But mostly we don't mind sharing our living quarters with other life, we share the Earth with far more than come in here. And as you say, there are Things which we don't know about and mostly can't see.
Mary

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Mary Fisher wrote:

Its the things that do damage that are the pain.
I had some serious mice in the last house...a 3/4 full bag of dried dog food vanished down to a few crumps *overnight*. I THOUHT it was rats, but on setting traps, we caught half a dozen enormous sleek fat mice.
Ive seen then sherd square meters of carpet, destroy car woring looms and underbonnet isnulation making nets in the air filters of laid up cars.
I like animals. I like the butterflies hat winter over. I like the bess that come in. I kill the wasp, and teh mice, because one stings and teh other is a dsease carrioer and dmagaes my stuff.
Rats are attacked on sight, I am afraid, as are pigeons and rabbits. And Muntjac deer too.
They are all utterly destructive and/or carry serious dieases I don't want.

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