The summer is coming to an end and nights are already starting to get chilly. It’s not long until we cuddle up in oversized throws, grab a cup of hot chocolate and open the fireplace season. But before you start your first fire, we urge you to check your chimney for wildlife, especially if you have a traditional wood-burning fireplace and an uncapped chimney. As a Maryland wildlife removal company, we know for a fact that unused chimneys are one of the favorite nesting spots for a few types of critters. Just recently, we responded to a call from a local Maryland customer who had a raccoon mother and 4 babies living in the chimney. The family comfortably settled on top of the firebox behind the damper. Besides raccoons, animals such as squirrels, birds and bats can also be found nesting in chimneys.
Signs of Raccoons in the Chimney
If you have raccoons living in your chimney, you will typically hear animal noises above the firebox. There may be scratching, rustling and even yelping if there are babies involved. The raccoon is the largest of the critters that may inhabit your chimney, so they are usually the easiest to spot, yet one of the most difficult to remove.
Don’t Start a Fire if You Have Animals Living in Your Chimney
Starting a fire when there are critters in your chimney is not recommended for many reasons. First of all, you risk killing the animals, which is certainly not a humane solution to a human-wildlife conflict. If that doesn’t bother you, think about the unpleasant smell your home will fill up with, as well as how difficult it may be to remove dead animals from hard-to-reach places such as inside your chimney Second of all, keep in mind that raccoons and squirrels frequently nest on top of the damper, which you will have to open in order to draw the smoke out. Opening the damper may cause the litter of soot-covered animals to fall into your fireplace and go berserk inside your house. So what should you do if you think there are animals in your chimney? Contact Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control right away! We will send a professional to safely and humanely evict all unwanted critters out of your chimney. Typically, raccoons have two den sites, so in the situation we described above, we forced the mother raccoon to move out of the chimney and go to her other den. In other circumstances, a raccoon may be captured in a live trap or physically extracted out of the chimney with special tools.
Preventing Raccoons From Nesting in Your Chimney
It’s actually relatively easy to stop raccoons and other critters from building nests in your chimney. All you need to do is install a stainless steel chimney cap, which is what we did for our customer. Besides keeping the critters away, it also protects your chimney from rain, snow and other types of precipitation. Think your uncapped chimney could use an inspection before the fireplace season? Give us a call and we’ll be happy to help!