piles of dirt & small pieces of material in basement in Adelphi

Asked January 1, 2020, 11:58 AM EST

What could be causing the pile of dirt & small pieces of material in my basement ? I live in Adelphi. I have seen about three piles in six weeks. I don't see any droppings. We have never had mice or rats before in our house. It is just my husband and me. No food in the basement. No food left out anywhere in our house. We are very careful about that. It seems whatever it is is not coming to upper level of the house. We live in Adelphi in a split level house. Thank you for a response. Nancy

Prince George's County Maryland

1 Response

Unfortunately, while we understand that you don't see any obvious causes, we cannot determine the cause of the debris from this information. It's good that you keep food contained and out of other areas of the house. Perhaps, if this is an animal, it is seeking the warmth and shelter of the building during winter. Dirt and debris could be a result of its entry and exit from the building.

One option to find more information, though not inexpensive, could be to acquire a "trap camera" to capture movement if it occurs. They are motion-sensitive and can take pictures as well as videos. If used, it should probably be mounted low, near the floor, given that this may be a small animal. Otherwise, if on a hard floor, perhaps a dusting of a non-food innocuous substance (perhaps sand, cat litter, or baking soda) around the areas the piles appear could help track the movement of any animal that might be causing it. As they crawl across the dust line, you might get a sense of what direction they came from (or went in). A baited trap may be the only other way to find the culprit. You could inquire with the DNR to see if they need to issue a permit to trap wildlife in this instance, though their answer may depend on what animal is suspected. Bait recommendations may vary with the animal as well.
https://dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/plants_wildlife/nw.aspx
If you wish, you can send us a picture of the dirt/debris pile and we can see if any elements of it are distinctive.

Miri