A squirrel on a fence.

Determining If There’s an Animal in Your Chimney — and What You Can Do About It

In the winter, during frequent use, your chimney may not be the most attractive place for an animal to nest, but during the summer months, when you are seldom lighting a fire, a tiny critter may sneak into your chimney for refuge and never leave. If you notice any sounds of squawking, screeching, or wings flapping, you may have an animal trapped in your chimney. 

Sometimes, you may not hear the animal, but you can start to smell the animal. Unpleasant odors from animal droppings or a deceased animal can indicate that a critter has been trapped in your chimney. If you become suspicious that an animal is trapped in your chimney, you can also look for visual evidence. In some cases, you’ll be able to notice fur, feathers, and droppings from whatever is nesting in your chimney.

Common Animals That Get Stuck in Chimneys

Depending on where you live, the animals that can get trapped in your chimney may vary. Some of the common animals you may find in your chimney include:

  • Squirrels
  • Rats
  • Opossums
  • Birds
  • Bats
  • Snakes
  • Raccoons
  • Mice

In some cases, animals may be nesting in your chimney as a safe place to reproduce. Mice, raccoons, and rats can reproduce very quickly, and then you have a serious pest problem on your hands. 

How to Get Rid Of Animals in Your Chimney

The course of action will vary depending on what type of animal has been found in your chimney. Closing the fireplace damper when your fireplace is not in use can keep bats and birds from flying into your home in the first place. Adding an exclusion door to entry and exits points on the chimney can keep critters out as well. For mice and other small critters, it’s essential to repair all gaps and hopes bigger than a No. 2 pencil. Gaps commonly show up around exhaust pipes and ventilation grills.

Professional chimney sweeps caution against using any form of poison to get rid of an animal infestation in your chimney. Chimneys are full of nooks and crannies, and it is very difficult to remove dead animals. 

The best way to get rid of animals is prevention and regular maintenance, but if you suspect you have an animal in your chimney, professional help is available. For more information about keeping animals out of your chimney and our chimney services, including chimney inspections, contact us today!