As uninhabitable as a chimney may seem to you, it can serve as a home to many critters. Besides birds and squirrels, raccoons are some of the larger animals that tend to nest in chimneys. As Maryland raccoon removal experts, we’ve helped many homeowners in Bethesda, Silver Spring, Columbia and other areas evict these unwelcome guests. Here is everything you need to know about raccoons in the chimney.
Why and How Raccoons Get in the Chimney
A chimney is as good as any other shelter for raccoons, especially for expecting mothers. It’s dry, secluded and warm—everything a mother raccoon would need to give birth to and rear her young. And if you think there isn’t enough room in your chimney for a family of raccoons, think again. Between the smoke shelf and the damper’s surface area, a mother raccoon has enough space to live comfortably. You may notice her presence by scratching and squealing noises behind your mantel. In urban areas where chimneys are more common than trees, raccoons may be more tempted to nest inside the flue. However, not all chimneys are easily accessible for raccoons. Chimneys with properly installed chimney caps are unlikely to get invaded. If your chimney is uncapped, however, raccoons take it as an invitation.
How to Get Raccoons Out of the Chimney
Thankfully, inside a chimney there is very little for raccoons to destroy or damage, unlike in the attic. But keep in mind that a raccoon living in your chimney is probably foraging for food on your property. It may be digging through trash, stealing your pet food and wreaking havoc on your flower beds. This is why many people choose to evict raccoons rather than waiting for them to leave.
Don’t’ Light a Fire
Whatever you do, don’t light a fire if you suspect that raccoons are living in your chimney. “Smoking them out” won’t work, and in the best-case scenario you will end up with a stressed animal running around your house.
Call Raccoon Removal Professional
A mother raccoon will eventually leave your chimney once her young are old enough. If you can wait about 8 weeks and raccoons are not bothering you otherwise, then it’s best to wait it out. But if waiting is not an option or raccoons have become a nuisance, we recommend calling a Maryland wildlife control company to handle the eviction. At Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control, we use special live traps to capture the mother raccoon when she is exiting the chimney. We then carefully extract the babies if they are too young to climb. This approach ensures that all animals are safely removed and remain together. We do our best to remove and rehabilitate nuisance wildlife in the least stressful way possible. The reason we recommend hiring a professional is because raccoon removal from the chimney can be tricky and dangerous. It typically requires setting traps on the roof, which should be left to a professional. Then a chimney cap will need to be installed, and all the debris from the nest will need to be removed before you can resume using your fireplace, which we can also assist you with. Contact us today if you think there is a raccoon or another animal in your chimney.