When you hear a noise coming from your chimney, it is likely to be an animal. In some cases, it will be a branch scraping the sides of the chimney, but if the noise happens frequently, sounds like a squeak or other animal-related noise, or seems to be lower down in the chimney, then you can safely assume it is in an animal. Your priority should be getting the animal in question out of the chimney, whether or not you plan on using it in the near future. Animals can cause a great deal of damage to the chimney in the form of nesting and waste materials and you don’t want them to encourage to stay as that will pose an issue if you ever want to use your fireplace.
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Are They Stuck Or Did They Enter On Purpose?
The first thing to figure out when you realize that there is an animal in your chimney is whether they are stuck or if they came inside on purpose. Wildlife that climb trees and walk on roofs may easily mistake your chimney for a tree and then accidentally fall inside without a way to get out. It is also possible that a raccoon or other animal decided that your chimney made the perfect spot to give birth to and raise her young. In most cases, you will be able to tell whether the animal is stuck or not based on the types of sounds they make. Those that are stuck tend to be more frantic in their movements, scratching repeatedly or flapping their wings. If an animal entered your chimney on purpose, their noises will likely be less frantic and more regular in nature. If you only hear the sounds at a certain time, assume they animal took up residence there on purpose. Hearing the sounds of baby animals is a giveaway that your chimney became the den of choice for an animal.
Most Common Animals In Chimneys
Unfortunately, you will have much better luck getting an animal out of your chimney if you know what type of animal it is. The wildlife that most commonly gets stuck in chimneys include squirrels and birds. Raccoons are among the most common intentional occupants. You should be able to make an educated guess about the animal in question based on the type of noises it makes, when it makes it, and any feces that are visible. Knowing the type of animal will guide your actions to some extent in getting them out.
NEVER Smoke Out The Animal!
Before getting into how to actually get the wild animal out of your chimney, you need to know NEVER to smoke it out. If the animal is trapped, this won’t do anything as it can’t get out on its own anyway; you will simply kill it by burning it alive. If the animal is a denning mother, it won’t be able to gather all its babies and leave, once again leading to death. In the best case scenario, the animal escapes with only mild burns, but that is still an inhumane option and it is unlikely to work.
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How To Get The Animal Out
If you have determined that the animal in your chimney is probably stuck, then all you have to do to get it out is offer it a way of escaping. As soon as it sees the way out, it will follow as it wants to leave as much as you want it to. In the case of squirrels, you can lower a thick rope down, tying it securely to the top of the chimney and ensuring it is long enough so it can reach the damper. The squirrel should climb out. If the squirrel is in the fireplace or below the damper, just set a live trap with bait and release it outside. In the case of a bird, you should try to open the damper but close your fireplace’s doors. Once the bird is in the fireplace, gently put some cloth over the bird so it calms down enough to let you take it outside. If it escapes into your house, just provide it an escape route. In the case of raccoons or other animals in your chimney that chose to be there, the best solution is sadly to wait and let the babies grow and everyone move out. You can also get them out with a special trapping system that any wildlife professional should have. In fact, hiring a pro is the safest and most effective way of getting any animal out of your chimney.
Making Repairs And Preventing More Animals
After you have gotten the animals out of your chimney, don’t use the structure until it has been inspected and thoroughly cleaned. You will need to remove nesting material, waste products, and anything else. Consider having a professional do this as they will have the proper tools. You also need to put a chimney cap in place so more animals don’t get inside in the future.
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