Animals Found in Chimneys

Animals In Your Chimney

Critters getting into your chimney is not an uncommon occurrence, with birds, squirrels, snakes, bats, opossums, and raccoons the most likely inhabitants. More often than not they ended up there for a legitimate reason, as opposed to by accident.

The 4 most common reasons are:
  • Mother raccoons see masonry chimneys as the perfecting nesting spot for their young. Male raccoons have a different idea, as they want in there to get at the little ones, who they see as competition.It is the scent of a chimney that is atractive to these animals, as it is similar to the smell of burnt, hollowed out logs, which is where they usually reside. The problem that most animals face once they get inside the chimney is getting back out. Raccoons are one of the few beasts that can extricate themselves from that spot.
  • The chimney swift is a migratory bird from South America, and they love to make their nests in chimneys. Their reason for doing so is similar to that of the raccoon in that they usually nest in hollowed out trees. These birds are actually perfectly suited to a chimney space, as they have the ability to fly straight up. It should be known that since chimney swifts are federally protected, their removal should only be performed by those who are trained, and who are familiar with the regulations.
  • Snakes don’t usually slither down chimneys, but they will if they think that a tasty treat waits inside. Birds, their eggs, and other baby animals are usually what they are looking for.
  • Opossums, squirrels, and sometimes even mice will make their way down a chimney if they are scared, which is often when a big storm hits. It’s a safe shelter to be sure, but on that quickly becomes a trap when they cannot get out once the storm has passed.
There are basically three options when an animal is trapped in your chimney:
  • A trained professional can come to the rescue (preferred option).
  • An open damper and no glass doors on your fireplace could well mean that the trapped animals make their way into your home.
  • Ignore the problem and allow the animals to die a slow, painful death. This is not a good option for a number of reasons. First of all, it is totally inhumane. Secondly, a dead animal in your chimney is eventually going to start to decay and stink. That can lead to potential health issues that need to be addressed. The solution to this is trickier, and usually more expensive.

Here at ARC Chimney Sweeps of Metairie, LA we have dealt with every chimney issue you can imagine, including the humane removal of animals who have become trapped. Frequent inspections of your fireplace and chimney will help prevent the vast majority of these problems.

Book an inspection by giving us a call at your earliest convenience at (504) 322-3654.