Because it opens to the outside, your chimney is often the place where wild animals can enter your home. The chimney is warm and feels safe, therefore many animals are attracted to this place to hide from predators or to make a nest. Most often right before during or after extreme weather.
- Do you hear noises in the walls, ceiling or inside your fireplace at night?
- Have you noticed an awful smell in your home, but can’t determine the source?
- Have you seen signs of birds nesting near your hood vent or bathroom vents?
In North Carolina, we have a wide range of wild animals that could infest your home via the chimney, including raccoons, skunks, opossums, birds, squirrels, rats, and other rodents. These animals can get inside your home’s wall or into your attic and become a major nuisance to you and your family. They can damage your plumbing and electrical systems, spread diseases and simply wreak havoc on the peace and comfort of your home. The Chimney Company believes in the humane treatment of animals, and we will do our best to ensure any animal removed will be released into the wild, or taken to a local shelter.
Animals Found In The Chimney
Raccoons, Opossums, Squirrel, Bats, Birds, and Snakes.
It’s a common misconception that animals accidentally fall down chimneys, that is just incorrect. Animals that usually find their way into a chimney commonly have a reason.
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The 4 most common reasons are:
A mother raccoon will use a masonry chimney to make a nest to provide safety and harbor her young. At the same time, a male raccoon will only enter a chimney to kill baby raccoons because he looks upon them as competitors. Sometimes the burnt smell of a chimney could remind a raccoon of a burned out hollow tree which could be considered a part of their natural habitat. Most animals have a nearly impossible time climbing back out of the chimney once they’ve gotten in there, a raccoon would be one of the few that can climb back out.
There is a migratory bird from South America that is commonly referred to as a Chimney Swift, these animals use chimneys to build their nests. A lot like raccoons, a chimney swift was used to using hollow trees for their homes, but with deforestation, they had to adapt to use other structures. Chimney swifts are one of the few birds that can fly straight up, giving them a distinct advantage for living inside a chimney. These birds are also federally protected and should only be handled by people who know laws involved and special considerations that need to be taken. It is also a federal crime to harm any of these birds or their eggs/babies, and is punishable by an up to $10,000 per bird fine.
Snakes will only enter a chimney with one thing in mind. They are absolute predators and they enter with an appetite that needs quenching. They eat bird eggs, baby birds, and baby animals. Often after the snake has entered the chimney and had its dinner, it is unable to get back out, resulting in an upset reptile.
Scared wild animals such as opossums, squirrels, and even mice will in lots of cases scurry down a chimney when a bad storm is quickly approaching. The problem with this scenario is that once the storm has passed, the animals find themselves stuck inside the chimney.
From this situation only one of three things can happen:
The animal could be rescued (preferably by a professional like The Chimney Company)
The damper is open and the critter finds its way into the fireplace, and if the homeowner doesn’t have glass doors, well now you have a guest in your home. Hence, the term nuisance wild animal.
Or, left to its own unrescued, with a closed damper it will slowly and painfully die from starvation or dehydration. This should never be an option because it is not only inhumane, but now you have a larger problem. A dead animal in your home poses all kinds of problems from long lasting terrible odors to potential disease transferring health issues, and usually leads to a more costly call out.
Finally The Chimney Company highly recommends getting a chimney cap for your chimney so that animals cannot get back in. This is important, because the odor left behind from wild animals often attracts other wild animals, letting them think that this place is a safe home. Don’t be a victim of repeated animal intrusions call us today at 850-972-1020!