Asked on Oct 9, 2020

What animal did this?

Agnes ChrzanowskaLindaJoe Martel


Opened our back door to see this... the mulch/chewed wood was on the step. I had kicked some off before I realized what I was looking at.

I did hear a noise last night that sounded like a drill- which I guess could’ve been rapid chewing?

Im in Texas so there’s all sorts around here. I assume it was a furry creature - I am very confused:

18 answers
  • Betsy
    on Oct 9, 2020

    Hi Vanesha: Yikes! It could be anything. But, once you fix it, what you can do to prevent any further damage is to spray the area with 1 bottle of Oil of Clove (or Clove Oil, same thing) and about 16 ounces of water put in a spray bottle. You can get the Clove Oil in just about any store that sells candy making supplies, and it only costs about $2 and is about 2" tall. It smells great but tastes terrible, for a long time. Anything you spray it on will deter anything that has tasted it once from doing it again. Here is a site that talks about rotted door jams, but it could probably work for you, too. On the bright side, and there is always a bright side, it wasn't a person trying to get in :)

    Good luck

  • Chloe Crabtree
    Chloe Crabtree
    on Oct 9, 2020

    Looks like either a squirrel or if you are close to water, a beaver.

  • My first thought is a squirrel.

  • Vanesha Patel
    Vanesha Patel
    on Oct 9, 2020

    Squirrel makes sense we do get them running along the fence... it’s just so strange we’ve had squirrels around forever and this has never happened

  • Em
    on Oct 10, 2020

    Pileated woodpecker looking for insects will do it in a heartbeat. They look for soft rotting wood. Picture attached is what they can do in a heartbeat to a piece of wood.

  • Deb K
    Deb K
    on Oct 10, 2020

    Hi Vanesha, hope this link helps you out,

  • Cindy
    on Oct 10, 2020

    Hi Vanesha. I believe that damage was made by a Wood Pecker. Here's why: Wood Peckers love to chew on rotted wood. They also sound like a drill when chewing. And lastly, they can buzz right thru mulch leaving behind nothing but their damage. Good luck Vanesha. I hope you are well.

  • Redcatcec
    on Oct 10, 2020

    It is the work of a woodpecker, the drilling sound is the tip off. They have it all figured out and there are very few ways (practically nothing) to stop them when they start, the noise can drive the homeowner to distraction, They are an endangered species, so they are protected. Here's what one homeowner did with some results, why it made the "news" is beyond me:

  • Johnavallance82
    on Oct 10, 2020

    Hello there,

    Take this as a blessing, It has highlighted you have possible rising damp and need to get it looked at by an expert, or the very least have the timbers replaced before they collapse!

  • Chas' Crazy Creations
    Chas' Crazy Creations
    on Oct 10, 2020

    Drilling sound is usually a woodpecker.

    • Em
      on Oct 10, 2020

      Wood peckers make a rapping noise but when the wood is rotted you wont' even hear them.

  • Kathy Gunter Law
    Kathy Gunter Law
    on Oct 10, 2020

    Woodpecker gets my vote. That is so sad. If you have a co op or old fashioned hardware store, check with them for advice on how to prevent further damage. Definitely need to replace damaged boards.

  • Baxter
    on Oct 10, 2020

    According to this article, it would be unusual if a woodpecker did the damage at night. Woodpeckers are known as “diurnal” creatures. This means that woodpeckers are awake during the daytime, asleep during the nighttime and do not peck at night. Similar to humans, the sleep/wake cycle of a woodpecker follows the pattern of light. Maybe the damage was caused by a squirrel or possibly a raccoon?

  • Kmdreamer
    on Oct 10, 2020

    I’m going to guess a raccoon trying to get food. I think you could get a spray to put on it to deter them use wood fill to fix that then sand and paint.

  • Maura White
    Maura White
    on Oct 10, 2020

    My bet is a squirrel

  • Dee
    on Oct 11, 2020

    I had that problem with squirrels on the eaves of my house, they got up there and clawed their way thru the wood

  • Joe Martel
    Joe Martel
    on Oct 14, 2020

    Squirrels are not nocturnal. You're in Texas as am I. I am thinking more of a Norway rat hunting for a home near a current or future food source as winter approaches. They love to create habitats for their families in rotting wood, if the door ways wood was rotting, it was a likely point of entry to the house and all the spices of rat life. Normally they travel in packs of 10 or more. If you heard something like drilling they do emit a low humming when they are hard at work which through walls could sound like a drill. Go to the hardware store and grab a few rat bait stations (under $40) and put them out along the edge of your home. Should do it... Then get that door jab fixed. You should be fine.

  • Linda
    on Oct 23, 2020

    It looks like termite damage. Could the noise have been from a different location?

  • Agnes Chrzanowska
    Agnes Chrzanowska
    on Nov 1, 2020

    squirrel or termites

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