Animals In Chimney
If you have a chimney without either a cap or a lock-top damper, it’s almost a guarantee that at some point in your chimney’s life an animal will find it’s way into your chimney. The most common animals are raccoons, squirrels, bats, birds, snakes, opossums, and chimney swifts.
It’s a common mistake that animals accidentally fall into chimneys. Typically there’s a specific reason that an animal will make their way into your chimney.
4 most common reasons:
- Mother raccoons will use the inside of your masonry chimney to build her nest and have children.
- The burnt smell on the inside of your chimney will simulate the environment of a burned out tree, which a raccoon considers to be a natural habitat.
- Chimney Swifts will use the inside of a chimney to build their nest. Similar to the raccoon, the chimney swift nests in the chimney because it reminds them of the inside of a hollow log.
Chimney Swifts are federally protected birds, and are one of the only birds with the ability to fly directly up. Because of this they’re able to exit the chimney after they nest there, but after they have children they will stay inside of your chimney for months until their young are able to fly.
- Snakes will enter into chimneys in search of food. They enter with an appetite and will search for eggs, baby birds, and even small squirrels who mistakenly entered into your chimney.
After this there are only three options:
- The animal is humanely rescued by a professional and returned into the wild miles away from a residential neighborhood.
- If the chimney has a damper installed, it is opened either intentionally or without being aware of the animal’s presence, and it makes it’s way into your fireplace. This could lead to the animal entering into your home, and potentially causing property damage.
- If left alone, it will remain trapped and suffer until it’s death. We don’t believe this should ever be considered an option. Not only is it inhumane, but it also leaves a larger problem for the home owner to face afterwards. It will cause serious odors to leak into your home, and possibly spread diseases to you and your family.
While every wild animal you encounter will carry risk of disease, there are some animals that have a higher risk than others. For example, raccoons have the highest rate of rabies out of any land animal, and many professional studies have come to the conclusion that over 50% are currently carrying rabies.
Bats are another likely carrier of rabies, and unlike raccoons will often travel in large groups, sometimes in groups of over 200.
Unfortunately when larger animals find themselves in your chimney, they also damage your liner, as well as the masonry, smoke shelf, damper, flue tiles, and mortar joints. The damage could range from a small repair to a complete rebuild if the smoke chamber has been affected.
A critical fact to keep in mind, is that animals have much more potent scents than humans. Once an animal makes a home inside of your chimney, their scent will remain and other animals will continue to come back over and over again if your chimney isn’t professionally blocked.
When considering a company to handle your animal removal, consider the following issues:
- Will the extraction be humane and not harm the animal or your property?
- Will the company be able to accurately inspect and repair your chimney’s structural integrity afterwards?
When it comes to your fireplace and chimney, ARC Chimney Sweeps of Mobile, AL is the best option. Give us a call today at (251) 545-4455 and set up your appointment.