As a homeowner or renter you run the risk of different types of animals living in your attic. The most common types of animals that are found in attics in Southern California include:

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Birds
  • Bats
  • Squirrels
  • Raccoons

If you’re like many people, when you learn that you have some sort of animal or animals living in your attic, your initial instinct may well be to exterminate or kill them. While this may be your first reaction, taking on killing animals infesting your attic on your own is a task that oftentimes is far easier said than done.

Legalities of Killing Animals Nesting in Your Attic

Before diving into tactics for killing animals in your attic, you need to understand that there can be some restrictions on what types of animals you can lawfully kill in your jurisdiction. Everywhere in Southern California, you have a green light to exterminate or kill mice and rats. The same cannot necessarily be said for animals like squirrels, raccoons, bats, and birds. Thus, before you embark on a do-it-yourself extermination program, you need to check to make sure you can legally eliminate a certain type of animal from your attic in that manner.

Body Grip or Snap Traps

The most common lethal device you can use to kill animals in your attic is what is called body grip or snap traps. These traps operate on a simple principle. These traps are baited with a food item that is appealing to the target animal. When the animal moves onto the trap to snare the food the trap is trigger. A metal bar snaps down on the animal killing it. 

At first blush, this type of trap may seem cruel in its operation. In fact, authorities on pest extermination maintain that this is a humane method of exterminating animals in your attic.

There are significant limitations to body grip or snap traps. First, they are designed to kill only one animal at a time. Thus, they do not represent a particularly efficient way of eliminating animals from your attic. 

Second, when you have animals in your attic, these types of traps are really only effective at dealing with mice and rats. Birds and bats really can’t be trapped and killed in this type of device. Raccoons and squirrels typically will not respond to a baited trap set in an attic at all. They tend to not forage for food within an attic itself and do so outside of that space.


There are different types of poisons on the market that are intended to kill animals. In California, these poisons are designed to kill mice and rats. They are not designed to kill squirrels, raccoons, birds, and bats. The reality is that animals beyond mice and rats generally will not be tempted by or attracted to poison bait in the first instance.

Poisons present another problem as well. They can present a risk to children and pets. Of course, you don’t expect your children or pets to access your attic. Nevertheless, you are better safe than sorry when it comes to using poisons to kill pests and the risk of harming your children or pets.  

Glue Boards

There are catch and kill products on the market known as glue boards that are used by some people to kill certain animals in attics. These traps ensnare mice and rats on a gluey substance on these traps. A trapped animal usually suffers for what can amount to an extended period of time once caught in the glue. This type of trap is considered not only inefficient but inhumane. 

Bottom Line on Killing Animals in Your Attic

As a practical matter, you really are only in a position to kill mice and rats that take up residence in your attic. Even when it comes to mice and rats, taking on their extermination on your own can prove to be a time consuming and many times ineffective process. 

With this note, you may want to give serious consideration to engaging the services of a professional extermination or removal service. By hiring a professional, you will have access to a company that has the experience and resources necessary to exterminate animals that appropriately can be killed when lodging in your attic. On the other hand, a professional will be able to deal with animals that need to be trapped and transferred alive from your attic.

Aftermath of Attic Animal Extermination

Following the extermination (or removal) of animals from your attic, you still have waste to clean up in the aftermath. Animal waste like rodent droppings can be challenging and dangerous to clean up. Thus, as is the case with killing or removing animals from your attic in the first instance, you are wise to consider hiring a professional to deal with the aftermath of a pest infestation in your attic. For example, a rodent dropping cleanup company can ensure that the waste left behind from an infestation in your attic is thoroughly and safely eliminated.