A quiet evening at home is disrupted by scurrying, scratching, crying, or clawing sounds coming from the chimney. You have critters in the fireplace – but now what do you do?
Even animals that find their way into your chimney may not be able to get back out. Because of this, it is important to contact a wildlife rescue group or chimney sweep company experienced in safely removing animals as soon as possible.
How did the critters get in?
From small squirrels to large raccoons, animals view chimneys as safe, protected areas to build nests and hide from predators. This means that animals will sometimes do whatever it takes to get into a chimney – even to the point of damaging the masonry or other chimney components.
One of the most common ways that critters get into your fireplace is by a damaged chimney cap. Even tiny holes and gaps in the mesh or wire sides may be big enough to allow a small bird or rodent to squeeze through. Likewise, larger animals such as raccoon have been known to worsen chimney damage in an effort to get into the fireplace.
Unfortunately, only raccoons are able to climb the slick walls of the chimney again and again; because of this, other animals may quickly become stuck, trapped, or disoriented in the dark chimney flue once they get in. Trapped animals often sound frantic, scratching, clawing, and beating their wings against the flue in an effort to get out.
How do I get the critters out?
It is important to leave animal removal to the professionals no matter how big – or small – the critter in your chimney is. Some birds, such as chimneys swifts, are protected by law under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and cannot be removed until after they have nested; an animal removal professional will identify the type of animal in the chimney and help safely remove the critters with minimal chimney damage.
If you have animal in your chimney it is important to leave the damper fully closed. Even partially opening the damper can create a space large enough for the animals to squeeze into your fireplace. This then gives them access to the rest of your home; a bird trapped in a chimney is much easier to remove than one flying around your living room! Homeowners should also not “smoke out” any animals; doing this can further disorient or even kill the animals in the chimney while potentially igniting nesting materials and other debris.
Keeping critters out
A well maintained and regularly inspected chimney is often the best line of defense against animal entry. Chimney sweeps can help identify any areas of damage or deterioration where animals could potentially get in; likewise, if you’ve had animal entry in the past we can help identify the areas the critters are getting in.
From squirrels to swifts, critters can cause significant damage to your chimney system. If you have animals in your chimney or have had problems with animal entry in the past, contact Lords Chimney today!