A chimney can be an appealing dwelling for a squirrel, much like a spacious, hollow tree. It’s often the case that a female squirrel will choose a chimney as a safe nesting place for her offspring. Squirrels are adept climbers, but in some cases, they might accidentally fall down a slippery metal chimney flue and become trapped. Here’s what you can do in such situations:
If a squirrel has fallen into your chimney and is struggling to climb out, you have two options: either open the flue and allow it into your house before capturing it or lower a thick rope all the way to the bottom of the chimney for the animal to climb out. If squirrels have chosen your chimney as their home and can navigate in and out easily, you need to undertake removal measures. Importantly, refrain from starting a fire as this could severely harm any young squirrels. You can set traps at the top of the flue or install a mesh with a one-way exclusion door that lets them leave the chimney but prevents re-entry. If there are baby squirrels above the fireplace who are unable to climb out, carefully open the damper and remove them by hand using a thick glove, then return them outside to their mother. Once all the squirrels have been safely removed, install a steel chimney cap atop the flue to prevent future intrusions.
Squirrels may seem adorable when observed from a park bench on a sunny day, but they can pose significant problems when they invade your chimney. The most commonly encountered species is the common gray squirrel. These creatures are typically harmless when residing in your trees, but they can cause substantial damage and health risks once they infiltrate your chimney or other areas of your home.
Squirrels can squeeze through the tiniest cracks and often establish their nests in your walls and attics. They’re attracted to secure, warm places for nest-building and breeding. Their nests, composed of dried twigs, leaves, cloth scraps, and hair, can be highly flammable, especially given that squirrels may chew through your electrical wiring, posing a fire hazard. Moreover, squirrels can die in hard-to-reach places, creating unsanitary conditions and a pervasive odor.
If you’re dealing with squirrel issues, consider the above DIY tips to address them effectively.
How Are They Getting in the Chimney:
First, determine how the squirrels are accessing your chimney. Typically, this is straightforward – the chimney’s top, also known as the flue! If it’s uncapped, this presents an effortless entry point. However, squirrels can sometimes find alternative routes. They are notorious for enlarging pre-existing holes in your walls and roof to gain entry. They may also infiltrate your home via ventilation systems. Once you’ve identified the squirrels’ entry points, it’s time to set up your traps.
Capturing squirrels can be a challenging task, and it may even be illegal in certain regions. To ensure you’re not violating any laws, reach out to your local humane society or fish and game office to inquire if squirrel trapping is permissible on your property. If it’s allowed, you can procure both lethal and non-lethal traps from a hardware store, or rent one from the humane society. Use enticing bait like peanut butter or fruits to lure the squirrels into the trap. However, keep in mind that traps may not always be effective with squirrels. They are naturally cautious creatures and may not easily fall for such setups.
Install Chimney Cap:
After successfully trapping the squirrels, it’s necessary to relocate them at least 10 to 15 miles away from your home to prevent their return. Once all the squirrels have been moved, you should thoroughly inspect your home and mend any holes or vents they used for entry. Regarding the chimney, the most straightforward and effective solution is to fit a steel cap over the flue.
After trapping the squirrels, you’ll need to clean the areas they’ve inhabited, which can be quite challenging and potentially dangerous with a chimney. The odor from squirrel urine and droppings can permeate the wood in your home if not properly cleaned. Moreover, squirrels tend to destroy insulation, which will likely require repair. Catching squirrels and cleaning up their mess can be difficult; if you’re unsure about any part of the process, it’s best to call a professional.
Visit our main Squirrel Removal page for more details on handling squirrels in your chimney. Are you hearing scratching noises in your chimney or fireplace? Is there a deceased squirrel causing an unpleasant smell in your chimney cavity? Or perhaps a nest of baby squirrels? Learn about the potential damage they can cause and how to remove them from your chimney.
Chimneys are attractive to squirrels because they resemble hollow trees, providing a safe, dry place for them to live and for females to raise their offspring. If you hear noises during the day, it’s likely a squirrel has moved in.
It’s problematic if the damper is closed, as this provides an ideal nesting spot, posing a fire hazard. If the damper is open, the squirrel might find its way into your house and start gnawing on your furniture. Additionally, starting a fire could result in the tragic death of the animals and leave your home smelling terrible.
Installing a chimney cap is the most reliable way to prevent squirrels from entering. However, if they’re already inside, several eviction methods exist. Squirrels frequently leave their nests in search of food and water, so a trap at the top of the flue can capture the adult. If it’s a nursing mother, you can rescue the babies and relocate the family.
If a nest is located above the damper, it may fall out when opened. Prepare a ground trap or be ready to catch the squirrel when it falls. If your fireplace is enclosed with a door or screen, set baited humane traps inside for the squirrel to trap itself. Use moist, sweet bait like fruit.
Repellents can also be useful. Products like coyote urine-based raccoon eviction fluids often drive squirrels away. Alternatively, you could try snaring them from above using a long pole, although this might require more agility than the squirrels possess.
Squirrels are adept climbers and can easily scale masonry chimneys, but they can get trapped in slick metal flues. In such cases, wildlife experts usually resolve the situation by lowering a weighted, thick rope down the flue for the animal to climb out.