10 Living Things That Might Be Lurking in Your Gutters

It’s all too easy for homeowners to adopt an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality when it comes to cleaning their gutters. But in reality, an accumulation of debris can cause clogs and blockages, which leads to runoff water falling near a home’s foundation, where it can do significant damage.

But the dirtiest of the dirty gutters include more than just leaves and pine needles. These gutters actually house wildlife. Here are 10 strange things you might see in your gutter if you have been neglecting your gutter cleaning duties.

1. Plants. Not all of the living things are animals. If your gutters are extremely unkempt, then the nutrient-rich debris can form a level of soil into which weeds, plants, and flowers can take root. Rule of thumb: if flora is growing in your gutters, it’s time to clean them out.

2. Birds. A bed of leaves, twigs, and pine needles can make a wonderful foundation for a bird’s nest. Our fine-feathered friends won’t even have to go very far to get construction materials for their nests. And when birds start laying eggs in these nests, they could even become aggressive if you try to remove the nests.

3. Squirrels. The most common way these rodents find there way onto roofs and into gutters is via overhanging tree limbs. That’s why it’s wise to keep these branches trimmed back. A buffer of at least three feet is usually enough to disrupt a “squirrel superhighway” that leads to your roof.

4. Chipmunks. Gutters seem to be the perfect size for chipmunks. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to prevent them from setting up shop in your gutter. The easiest one is to use a gutter guard to keep them from getting into your gutters in the first place.

5. Feral cats. If your area is home to numerous cats that wander around, then there’s a good chance that some of them will climb up your home and nestle in your gutters. It’s a safe place away from natural predators. The most humane way to get rid of them is to trap these felines and take them to a nearby animal shelter.

6. Possums. If they get the opportunity, they will try to “play dead” in your gutters. These nocturnal creatures will amble onto your roof, laze in your gutters, and even give birth to a litter if they are left alone.

7. Raccoons. Like possums, raccoons will try to make themselves at home in your gutters. Using a metal cage trap — with a mechanism that is designed to slam shut and enclose the animal — is usually your best bet. And raccoons will eat almost anything, so baiting the trap is easy.

8. Lizards. Yes, even reptiles will crawl into your gutters and hang out. That’s because untended debris is a breeding ground for flies, mosquitoes, and other insects — which also happen to make up a lizard’s menu. Remove the food source, and the lizards will soon follow.

9. Snakes. Believe it or not, snakes have been found inside rooftop gutters. They either slither along overhanging limbs or climb up a downspout. Again, it’s all about sustenance: rodents and another small animals can be found in dirty gutters, and the snakes will be able to smell them there.

10. Earthworms. This may be the most quizzical discovery inside your gutters, but it’s true. It’s not known exactly how earthworms get into gutters, but some people believe that the worm eggs attach to bird’s wings or legs and are carried up to the gutters, where they hatch and beget worms.

Photo credits: kandlwindows.com,scenicreflections.com500px.com.

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I recently had the Gutter Helmet by Harry Helmet installed on my house. It not only looks amazing, but the guys arrived on time, were professional and efficiently got the job done. I am very satisfied with Gutter Helmet's attention to detail and fulfilling their work as promised. I will definitely tell my neighbors about the Gutter Helmet.
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I have had Gutter Helmets for 20 years. In all that time I've never had a problem until recently a bird's nest found its way into one of my gutters. The installer who came to replace the product was the same installer from 20 years earlier. Now that's impressive. Everyone at Gutter Helmet inclusive of the office staff were professional and a pleasure to work with.
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VERY happy with our entire experience adding Gutter Helmet by Harry Helmet to our house. Installing this was a great value for us. The gutters are working perfectly in heavy downpours and with year-long leaves and debris coming down from our river birches. Terrific customer service and a first class product.
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We needed our roof repaired due to wind damage. After several quotes, Gutter Helmet was the only company that went into our attic to look and see if more damage had occurred. If it wasn't for them taking the extra time to look at everything, we would have had rotting wood under our new roof. They were very professional and gave a fair quote.
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We just had Gutter Helmet installed on our gutters and couldn't be happier. They provided us with useful information about Gutter Helmet and cleaned up everything, leaving no mess behind. We definitely recommend Gutter Helmet to anyone considering this product.
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