Squirrels are cute and cuddly from a distance, but an unwanted squirrel in your home can cause all types of serious problems, so it’s important to remove a squirrel from your chimney right away.
These animals can be infected with rabies though it’s rare for a person to contract rabies. They can also carry pathogens like salmonella, introduce fleas to your home and pets, as well as spread disease.
Chimneys are a favorite place for squirrels to try and make their homes, especially when the cold winter months arrive. It’s a great place to stay warm and safe from predators.
And sometimes, they simply get curious, wander in and find that they can’t get back out. If you hear the frantic scratching and scrambling of squirrels in your chimney, they are probably trapped unless you see them climb out on their own. They may also panic and exit through your fireplace or HVAC ducts.
While there are a number of ways to remove a squirrel from your chimney, the best way is to simply call a professional. Our team at Chimney Sweeps of America is experienced with humane animal removal and will help you take care of squirrels, bats, birds and raccoons the right way.
If you decide to go the DIY route, here are few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.
DON’T Use Smoke or Fire
Never use smoke or fire in your attempt to remove a squirrel from your chimney. This can be dangerous to the trapped animals and their babies. There are many other more humane options.
DO Make Loud Noises
If the squirrel ends up in your fireplace, hopefully behind the glass or screen, try to make loud noises to scare the squirrel back up above the damper.
If that works, close the damper. Now you can use a rope to remove a squirrel from your chimney.
DO Offer a Rope as an Escape Route
Hang a three-quarter-inch or thicker rope down your chimney so the squirrel can use it to escape. Tie the rope to the top of the chimney and give it enough length so that it can reach the damper or smoke shelf. Make sure whatever you use, you can pull it up when you are done.
Hopefully, the squirrel will use the rope to climb up and out of the chimney within a few hours during the day.
Once you’re sure the squirrel has safely escaped the chimney, then go ahead and remove the rope. Cover the chimney with a commercially made cap.
This can be dangerous, so be careful as you climb the roof to reach your chimney. If you’re not big on heights, have a steep roof pitch or simply don’t feel like dealing with pesky squirrels on your own, you can always call in a professional to help you out.
DO Catch and Release Them
If noise doesn’t motivate the squirrel to leave the fireplace, then you will need to use a live trap, which can typically found online (e.g. Ace or Home Depot) or perhaps at a nearby feed store. Again, you may need a professional at this point.
First, close all the interior doors in the room and open either an outside door or window, including any screens. Choose a door or window that can be seen from the fireplace. If the squirrel gets out, you won’t want to chase it. The open door or window is the squirrel’s exit.
Next steps to remove a squirrel from your chimney:
- Bait a humane live trap with peanut butter and carefully open the fireplace. Most squirrels will be scared and retreat to a back corner of the fireplace when you open the fireplace screen. It may also make a run for it, so brace yourself for that possibility, too.
- Slowly place the live trap inside the fireplace and quietly shut the doors.
- Leave the room to let the squirrel enter the trap.
- Once the squirrel is in the trap, very carefully take it outside. Stand behind the trap and open it. The squirrel will usually run out right away. If it doesn’t, pull the door open and secure it with a zip tie. Stand back away from the trap and let the squirrel leave when it’s ready.
DON’T Relocate the Squirrel
Some people think you can trap the squirrels and then take them to some other location to live. Most squirrels won’t survive the move and more than likely another squirrel will take its place in your yard.
DO Cap the Chimney
Most squirrels are trapped in your chimney by accident, so they probably won’t return. A professional can help you put a cap on the top of the chimney to prevent any future squirrel or other animal visits. A professional will know about building codes and venting considerations for the cap.
DON’T Hesitate Calling the Pros to Remove a Squirrel from Your Chimney!
Getting rid of invading squirrels can be scary and sometimes dangerous. It’s best to hire someone who knows what they are doing and knows their way around chimneys. They can protect the animals and your family from harm as well as provide you with a lasting solution for your squirrel problem.
If you need to remove a squirrel from your chimney, the job can be a real hassle. For the squirrel’s safety and your own, you should always call a professional. Our team at Chimney Sweeps of America are versed at humane animal removal. We have the experience, equipment and training to do it without harming the squirrels, and we can help prevent them from returning.
If you’ve got a rustle in your chimney, call or contact us today.