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The Gutter Menagerie: 6 Critters that Live in Cluttered Gutters

Last Updated on April 21, 2023 by James Redding

Once upon a time, in a gutter near you, a ragtag group of critters gathered for an impromptu block party. But this party wasn’t BYOB. No, these party guests brought their own snacks, drinks, and sleeping bags—and they have no intention of leaving anytime soon.

If you’ve put off gutter cleaning for a tad too long, chances are your gutters have become a bustling real estate market for an array of uninvited guests.

Yes, your cluttered gutters—formerly pristine channels of solitude, quietly chaperoning rainwater away from your home—have been colonized.

Neglected, poorly-functioning gutters not only provide a welcoming environment for critters; they can also lead to serious property damage to your home’s foundation, roof, and siding.

But fear not—it’s not too late to evict these unwelcome guests and restore your gutters to their former glory. Join me as we embark on a safari through the wild, wild world of gutter dwellers:

1. Birds

First on the roster we have our melodious friends: the birds. In the gutter realm, they’re the snobbish aristocrats, taking up residence in prime gutter real estate, with their penthouse nests built with twigs, pine needles, and the occasional piece of palmetto frond.

A picture of The Gutter Menagerie: 6 Critters that Live in Cluttered Gutters with Holy City Gutterworks

Sure, they’re not exactly “pests.” But beware, for these winged squatters hold no reservations about raising a ruckus at the crack of dawn, serenading you with their greatest hits.

Bird droppings, you ask? They’ll provide that in abundance, my friend—especially on your roof, siding, and probably any vehicles in your driveway.

2. Rodents (Mice & Rats)

It’s time to shine a light on the stealthy gutter stowaways—rodents, particularly mice and rats. They are expert navigators of the gutter ecosystem and can create an array of problems for South Carolina homeowners.

These furry freeloaders are adept at squeezing into tight spaces, making gutters an attractive option for setting up camp. They’ll gladly treat themselves to a buffet of insects, seeds, and any other tasty morsels they can find in your debris-filled and/or clogged gutters.

Living in the Lowcountry, where rodents abound, it’s especially important to stay vigilant in keeping gutters clean and free of debris to avoid rodent infestations. While their tiny, whiskered faces might evoke an “aww” from some, the fact is that rodents can cause significant issues if left unchecked. Their gnawing can wreak havoc on your home—especially any nearby wood or wiring they can access from their gutter hideout.

They’re also known carriers of diseases and parasites in South Carolina, posing health risks to humans and pets.

Rodents are rather skilled at concealing their presence. You may not even realize you have an issue until the telltale signs of droppings or gnawed materials make their appearance. Although they may seem like quiet and unobtrusive guests, rodents can cause some serious headaches for homeowners. In order to prevent these fuzzy interlopers from establishing a foothold in your gutters, be sure to keep up with gutter cleaning and maintenance.

3. Squirrels

Next, we have the bushy-tailed bandits—no, not raccoons, although dirty gutters can attract them as well. But in this case, we’re talking about squirrels.

Charleston homeowners are no strangers to the Eastern Gray Squirrel, a common backyard foe notorious for raiding bird feeders and making a mess of gardens.  These mischievous rodents love poorly-maintained gutters, and treat them as both an all-you-can-eat buffet and a warm, cozy abode.

A picture of The Gutter Menagerie: 6 Critters that Live in Cluttered Gutters with Holy City Gutterworks

While seeing their playful antics may bring you joy (for a minute or two), squirrels really aren’t the ideal tenants for your property. They’ll gnaw through anything they can find, from wood to electrical wiring. Sure, they look innocent. But just like your roommate in college, they’re also freeloaders who’ll happily damage your property and steal your snacks without a shred of guilt.

4. Lizards

Let’s shift our gaze to the most cold-blooded residents of the gutter scene: lizards. We have a lot of them here in South Carolina; unlike other gutter critters, they prefer to lay low in the cool shade your gutters provide, feasting on a smorgasbord of insects.

While lizards generally keep to themselves, you still might not want them darting out all over your property. While it might seem like lizards would be good for controlling insect populations, they’re actually not as efficient or reliable pest control as you might think.

Plus, lizards are a food source for snakes—more on them in a bit.

5. Insects

Our multi-legged friends (well, frenemies), such as ants, mosquitoes, and even termites, consider gutters prime real estate.

According to Clemson University, approximately 10,000 species of insects are found in South Carolina. Many of them thrive in damp, still, cluttered environments, and if you neglect your gutters, you might as well send them an embossed invitation to set up camp.

Insects bring with them their undeniable talents for biting, causing itchy rashes, spreading diseases, and damaging your property. Still not convinced? Insects attract spiders and snakes. So, it’s best to not present all three with a perfect place to live on your home.

Remember the immortal words of Jim Stafford when he crooned, “I don’t like spiders and snakes”? Words to live by.

6. Snakes

Last and certainly least on our list, we have snakes. For these slithery serpents, dirty, unmaintained gutters offer shelter, hunting grounds, and easy access to an all-inclusive resort experience.

A picture of The Gutter Menagerie: 6 Critters that Live in Cluttered Gutters with Holy City Gutterworks

Whether they’re venomous or nonvenomous, snakes have a knack for making their presence known in the most dramatic fashion possible—especially when you’re trying to clean the gutters you’ve been neglecting.

Besides being arguably scary and potentially dangerous, larger snakes can actually cause damage to your gutter system, roof, or siding as they move around, searching for prey or seeking shelter.

In some cases, believe it or not, snakes can even contribute to gutter blockages. Either simply by taking up residence in your gutters or by bringing in outside debris after hunting for food. Blocked gutters can cause water to overflow, leading to potential water damage to your home’s foundation, siding, or roof.

Charleston Gutter Cleaning Services

Don’t wait for your gutters to become the talk of the town (and not in a good way). Contact Holy City Gutterworks, and bid adieu to these unwanted tenants the door—and relish the peace of mind that comes with a clean, well-maintained gutter system.

Give us a call at 843-352-9269 or click here to contact us!

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