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The snow has finally melted, giving way to patio picnics, backyard BBQs and maybe even a few pool parties. Now that you can finally see your roof again, you may be surprised to find what’s been going on underneath. Pine needles and dead leaves aren’t the only things you’ll find in gutters. Here’s what could be lurking beneath the cracks.

  1. Birds. They’re in your yard. They’re in your trees, and they’re probably in your gutters too. Sorry, bird lovers. It’s true. Aside from leaves and brush, birds and bird nests are among the most common things found in gutters.
  2. Insects. Lots and lots of insects. Gutters are an insect’s dream home: they’re dark, secluded, full of gook and grime, and best of all, there are no humans.  Insects often breed in gutters, and the accumulation of dead leaves and other soot adds the perfect cover. If you’re noticing an influx of flies, mosquitoes or other bugs this year, your gutters may be to blame.
  3. Rodents. Do you ever hear soft scuttling sounds on your roof? Chipmunks, squirrels and other rodents love squatting in your gutters—especially when it’s raining. While they may be helping with your insect problem, the relationship is certainly not quid pro quo: Rodents tend to carry diseases, so remnants of their presence are both unsanitary and could potentially damage your gutters. Cute yes, but that doesn’t mean they should get free room and board.
  4. Snakes. Gutters can provide the perfect environment for snakes, lizards and other creepy crawlies, especially during warmer months. The water accumulated in your gutters may be what initially attracts them, but the shade, location and lack of interference is what makes them stay. Keeping your gutters clean and debris-free is an easy way to keep snakes and other critters at bay.
  5. Toys. Remember that neon Frisbee you used to own? What about that old badminton set? One second your kids are playing catch outside, and then one wrong throw and the ball is gone. Toys often get stuck on roofs, and when left unclaimed they tend to tumble down into your gutters—clogging your water flow and breaking the hearts of kids across America. All different types of balls—from tennis balls to baseballs and even a golf ball or two—have been found in gutters.

Wondering what’s lurking in your gutters? An accumulation of dirt and debris can cause blockage and possibly even a few unwelcome guests. A clean gutter system is your first line of defense against potential home damage. Make sure you start spring off right by cleaning your gutters.

Bonus & Brownie Points:  Which famous writer was rumored to have been found in a gutter? Leave your answer in a comment below!

  1. William Shakespeare
  2. JD Salinger
  3. Edgar Allen Poe
  4. Ernest Hemingway

Find any furry friends, lost toys or old writers in your gutters? Tweet us a picture at @NedStevens!

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