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Squirrel in your chimney? 5 signs you need to watch out for!

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Do you sometimes hear strange sounds coming from your chimney? It could be a squirrel in a chimney sound or some other small animal.

If you have a squirrel in your chimney, you may be able to hear it running around or scratching. You may also hear thumping sounds as the squirrel jumps from one place to another.

Squirrels like to live in attics, chimneys, and other enclosed spaces because they offer protection from cold winter weather and predators.

However, this can mean many problems for most homeowners. Squirrels can be noisy and destructive, and they can carry diseases. As a result, both your family and home are at risk if there’s a squirrel in your chimney.

So, how can you tell if a squirrel is living in your chimney? This guide will help you figure it out!

Is There a Squirrel in My Chimney?

If you’re sitting in your living room and suddenly hear scurrying, scratching, or chewing noise coming from your fireplace, there’s a good chance you have a squirrel in your chimney. But how did it get there, and what should you do about it?

First, take a deep breath and try not to panic. It’s likely that the squirrel wants to escape the cold weather and isn’t looking to cause any trouble.

Additionally, squirrels often use chimneys as a safe place to nest and escape from predators.

While they may seem harmless, squirrels can cause significant damage to your chimney by chewing on the bricks or nesting material. In addition, their droppings can contain harmful bacteria that can put your family at risk. If you suspect that you have a squirrel in your chimney, it’s best to call a professional to remove it.

How to Tell Which Animal is in Your Chimney? (Based on Sounds)

You might also be confused about the animal you heard in your chimney. If the noises were soft and high-pitched, it was probably a squirrel.

But if the noises were different,  consider the following table to know which animal might be roosting in your chimney:

Animal SoundsLikely Animal
Scurrying, soft and high-pitchedSquirrel
Lound and deep from your chimneyRaccoon
Chirping, cooing, or shufflingBirds
Scratching or rustlingBats
Screeching and scratchingRodents, rats, or mice

Signs You Have Squirrels in Your Chimney

Squirrel in chimney sounds isn’t the only way to tell you to have squirrels in your home. If you see the following signs, a squirrel has likely made its way into your chimney:

1. Scratching or chewing noises coming from your fireplace

Scratching or chewing noises coming from your fireplace are the most common signs that you have a squirrel in your chimney. Squirrels use their sharp claws and teeth to climb up the bricks and make their way into your home.

2. Squirrels running up and down your chimney

Another common sign of squirrels in your chimney is if you see them running up and down outside your home. This is usually a sign that they’re looking for a way to get inside or escape from predators.

3. Damage to your roofline or shingles

If you notice damage to your roofline or shingles, squirrels may be using your chimney as an entry point. Squirrels are known to chew on wood and other materials to create a nest inside your home.

Additionally, squirrels can chew your chimney flashing, which are the metal pieces that seal your chimney to your roof. This can cause water damage to your home and lead to expensive repairs like replacing your roof.

4. Droppings in or around your fireplace

Squirrel droppings can contain harmful bacteria that can put your family at risk of illness. If you notice droppings in or around your fireplace, it’s best to call a professional to remove the squirrel and sterilize your home.

5. Squirrels entering or exiting your home during the day

Squirrels are typically active during the day, so if you see them entering or exiting your home, it’s a good sign that they’re using your chimney as an entry point.

These are just a few signs that you have squirrels in your chimney. If you suspect that you have a squirrel in your home, it’s best to call a professional to remove it.

How Do I Identify the Source of the Sound?

If you want to figure out which animal is in your chimney, it’s essential to identify the sound source. Generally, animals make noise for two reasons: to escape from predators or find food.

If the animal is trying to escape from a predator, it’ll likely be making loud, frantic noises. On the other hand, if the animal is looking for food, it’ll be more likely to create soft, gentle noises.

Once you’ve identified the sound source, you can narrow down which animal is in your chimney by differentiating it from the table above.

Can a Squirrel Get Stuck in a Chimney?

Yes. If a squirrel climbs into your chimney and can’t find its way out, it could become stuck. This is especially common if the squirrel is young or if the weather is cold outside.

Additionally, squirrels can exit chimneys constructed of mortar, stone, or brick as long as there are nooks and cracks to grab on to since they have a firm grip. However, they will be trapped in the event of smooth metal tubes.

How to Remove a Squirrel Stuck in Your Chimney?

The best way to remove a squirrel from your chimney is to call a professional. They have the experience and equipment necessary to remove the squirrel from your home.

If you try to remove the squirrel yourself, you could injure yourself or the animal. Additionally, if you leave the squirrel in your chimney, it could die and start to decompose, which would create a terrible odor in your home.

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, the best approach to get a squirrel out of your chimney is to build a squirrel chimney trap at the top of the flue, which captures the animal as it leaves.

If infants are inside the nest, they may be removed using a long chimney snare pole (ideally by a wildlife expert or chimney contractor).

How Long Does it Take a Squirrel to Die in a Chimney?

It depends on the squirrel and the circumstances. If a squirrel is trapped in a chimney without food or water, it could die within two to three days. However, if the squirrel has access to food and water, it could survive for weeks or months.

Additionally, if the weather is cold outside, the squirrel may not be able to find enough food and water to survive, and it could die within a few days.

Can Squirrels Get in Attic Through the Chimney?

Squirrels can enter your home through the chimney, but they can also get into your attic through other openings, such as holes in your roof or gaps in your eaves.

Additionally, uncapped or poorly-capped chimneys provide an easy way for squirrels to get into your attic. If you have an uncapped or poorly-capped chimney, it’s best to call a professional to have it repaired.

Do Squirrels Make Nests in Chimneys?

Absolutely. Squirrels may use chimneys as nests. A chimney is similar to a tree for a squirrel or a family of squirrels since it is tall enough and has lots of holes to hide in and avoid predators.

More importantly, a chimney is an ideal nesting spot for squirrels because it’s warm. If you have a fire going in your fireplace, the temperature in your duct can reach up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

This warmth is especially beneficial for infant squirrels since they can’t regulate their body temperature as well as adults.

What Are the Dangers of Having Squirrels in Your Chimney?

There are several dangers associated with having squirrels in your chimney. The most common disadvantages include:

1. Health Problems

According to Critter Control, squirrels are known to carry diseases, such as:

  • Leptospirosis: This is when a squirrel’s urine comes into touch with an open wound. Headaches and rashes are just a few of the side effects. There are many more, including nausea and vomiting.
  • Salmonellosis: Salmonella bacteria cause this illness, which may be acquired by consuming contaminated food or water. Diarrhea, vomiting, and intestinal cramps are some of the symptoms.
  • Lyme Disease: Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, which can be transferred to humans through a tick bite. Fever, headache, and tiredness are early indicators.
  • Rabies: Rabies is a virus that attacks the central nervous system and is fatal if not treated immediately. Symptoms include fever, headache, and fatigue.
  • Tularemia: Lastly, squirrels may also carry tularemia, a bacterial infection transmitted to humans through contact with infected animals or tissues. Symptoms include fever, chills, and skin ulcers.

These are just a few of the diseases that squirrels may carry. If you come into contact with a squirrel or its urine, it’s essential to see a doctor as soon as possible.

2. Carbon Monoxide Problems

Another danger of having squirrels in your chimney is the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. They may do this if they build a nest near the top of the flue, which can block airflow.

Additionally, chimney liners made of terra cotta or metal can also be damaged by squirrels. This damage can lead to cracks, allowing carbon monoxide to enter your home.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that can be deadly.

When carbon monoxide builds up in an enclosed space, it can cause serious health problems, such as:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion

If you or someone in your home is experiencing these symptoms, it’s essential to immediately get out of the house and into the fresh air. Then, call 911.

3. Bad Odor

If a squirrel dies in your chimney, it will start to decompose and release a foul odor. Additionally, the urine and feces from the squirrel will also create an unpleasant smell.

4. Destruction and Noise

Squirrels may also cause damage to your chimney. They could gnaw on the bricks or mortar, which could weaken the structure of your chimney. Additionally, their nests can block the flue, which could cause dangerous gases to build up in your home.

Squirrels may also create noise pollution. You can hear them running around in your attic or chimney, and you can also listen to them fighting or mating.

5. Fire Hazard

Lastly, having squirrels in your chimney also creates a fire hazard. Their nests can block the flue, which can cause dangerous gases to build up in your home. Additionally, their urine and feces are highly flammable.

If you have a fire going in your fireplace, the temperature in your duct can reach up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This extreme heat can ignite the urine and feces, leading to a house fire.

How to Remove Squirrel in the Fireplace?

Removing a squirrel from your fireplace is no easy task. It’s best to leave it to the professionals.

But if you do decide to remove the squirrel yourself, here are a few ways to protect yourself:

  1. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the squirrel’s urine and feces.
  2. Wear a mask to avoid inhaling the squirrel’s urine and feces.
  3. Open all the doors and windows in your house to ventilate the area.
  4. Put on a long-sleeved shirt to protect your arms from the squirrel’s claws.
  5. Put on long pants to protect your legs from the squirrel’s urine and feces.
  6. Use a flashlight to help you see in the dark.

With that in mind, here are a few ways to remove a squirrel from your fireplace:

1. Make Lots of Noise

While this might not be the most effective method, it’s worth trying. Make as much noise as you can to scare the squirrel away.

You can bang on pots and pans, blast music, or stomp your feet. The goal is to make enough noise to startle the squirrel and get it to leave on its own. Once the squirrel is gone, make sure to block the opening so it can’t get back in.

2. Use a Rope

I know this method sounds a bit unconventional, but it can work.

Lower a thick (3/4 inch) rope down the chimney, ensuring it is long enough to reach the damper and provide the squirrel with a means of escape. Next, tie the upper part of the rope on top of the chimney to secure it.

The squirrel will use the rope to climb out of the chimney and escape. Once it’s out, make sure to block the opening so it can’t get back in. If you don’t have a rope, you can use knotted bed linens to make a makeshift shift.

3. Use Squirrel Repellents

If you want to try a more humane method, you can use squirrel-friendly repellents. These repellents are designed to remove squirrels from your home without harming them safely.

There are a few different types of squirrel-friendly repellents, such as:

  • Ultrasonic Repellents: These devices emit high-frequency sounds designed to scare away squirrels.
  • Spray Repellents: These repellents are designed to create an unpleasant smell that will make squirrels want to leave the area.
  • Granular Repellents: These repellents contain ingredients that taste bad for squirrels, making them want to leave the area.
  • Fox Urine Liquid Spray: This is another type of repellent that creates an unpleasant smell for squirrels.
  • Evictor Strobe Lights: These devices emit a bright light that startles squirrels and makes them want to leave the area.

These are just a few of the many different types of squirrel-friendly repellents available on the market.

4. Use a Live Trap

If you want to remove the squirrel without harming it, you can use a live trap. This type of trap is designed to capture the squirrel so you can release it into the wild.

To use a live trap, bait it with food and place it near the chimney’s opening. The squirrel will enter the trap in search of food and get caught. Once trapped, you can take it for a ride and release it into the wild away from your home.

5. Hire Animal Control Services

If you don’t feel comfortable removing the squirrel yourself, you can always hire animal control services. These professionals know how to remove squirrels from homes safely and effectively.

They will also be able to provide you with tips on preventing the critters from getting into your home in the future.

What You Should Not Do When Removing Squirrels from Your Fireplace

There are a few things you should avoid doing when removing squirrels from your fireplace, such as:

  • Don’t Use Poison: Using poison is inhumane, and it can also be dangerous for your family and pets if the squirrel dies inside your home.
  • Don’t Use Glue Traps: These are inhumane and will likely cause more harm than good.
  • Don’t Use Fire: Using fire to remove a squirrel from your fireplace is dangerous and could damage your home.
  • Don’t Just Take Squirrels Out: If you take the squirrel out of your home without blocking the opening, it will just come back inside. Ensure to block the entrance so the squirrel can’t get back in.

Lastly, you should take the animal as far away from your home as possible to prevent it from coming back.

How Much Does It Cost to Have a Squirrel Removed From a Chimney

The average cost of having a squirrel removed from a chimney is $100 and $1000. However, the exact price will vary depending on the removal method and the company you hire.

The following table outlines the average cost of different squirrel removal methods to understand this better:

1. Removal Cost By Project Range

RangeAverage Cost
National removal range$350
Average removalBetween $250 – $500
Minimum squirrel removal rangeAbout $200
Maximum removal costs$1,500

2. Cost by Removal Method

Method of RemovalAverage Cost
RelocationFrom $75 – $125
Setting traps for the squirrelsBetween $300 – $500
Using an exclusion doorBetween $300 – $500

3. Removal Costs According to Location of the Squirrels

LocationAverage Cost
Yard, Shed, Lawn, and BasementFrom $100 – $200
Roof and ChimneyBetween $200 – $300
Wall, soffit, attic, garage, bathroom, and bedroomFrom $300 – $500
Ceiling Between $750 – $1,500

It’s advisable to leave the removal of squirrels to the professionals as it can be dangerous and cause damage to your home if done incorrectly. Simply speaking, it’s not worth the risk.

How to Prevent Squirrels From Entering Your Home

Now that you know how to remove squirrels from your fireplace, it’s time to prevent them from getting in there in the first place.

Here are a few tips to help keep squirrels out of your home:

1. Inspect Your Home for Gaps and Cracks

Squirrels can squeeze their bodies through tiny spaces. As such, it’s essential to inspect your home for any gaps or cracks that they could potentially use to get inside.

Be sure to check:

  • Around doors and windows
  • In the attic
  • In the chimney
  • In the basement
  • Anywhere else you think a squirrel could squeeze through

2. Install a Squirrel Proof Chimney Cap

A Chimney sweeper will often install a chimney cap to prevent animals from getting in. If you don’t have one, consider having one installed. This will help keep squirrels and other animals out of your home.

3. Hire Animal Control Services

Besides helping you remove animals from your home, animal control services can also help you prevent them from getting in. They will be able to assess your home and find any potential entry points that squirrels could use to get inside.

They will then recommend the best way to block these openings so squirrels can’t get in. This is often the most effective way to keep animals out of your home.

4. Keep Your Yard Clean

If there’s food left out in your yard, it will attract squirrels. As such, it’s essential to keep your yard clean and free of food.

Be sure to:

  • Pick up any fallen fruit from trees
  • Clean up after your pet
  • Secure garbage cans
  • Don’t leave food out

5. Trim Trees and Bushes

If trees and bushes are close to your home, squirrels will use them to jump onto your roof and get inside. As such, it’s crucial to trim these back, so they’re at least 6 feet away from your home.

6. Use Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder

If you have a bird feeder in your yard, it’s essential to make sure it’s squirrel-proof. Otherwise, the squirrels will eat the bird food, and you’ll be attracting them to your property.

There are a few things you can do to make your bird feeder squirrel proof, such as:

  • Hang the feeder from a wire
  • Use a baffle on the pole
  • Only put out enough food for the birds

Conclusion

While squirrels in your fireplace may seem cute, they can cause damage to your home and be a nuisance. As such, it’s essential to remove them as soon as possible.

Contact a professional animal control company if you need help removing squirrels from your home. They will be able to safely and effectively remove the animals from your property.

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Thomas Green

Thomas Green

Thomas has worked in the Chimney & Fireplace field for over 12 years. He is an expert in his trade and loves to help People with their needs. Thomas Write helpful articles so that homeowners can make the most informed decisions about their fireplace and chimney.