- Your chimney is just like a big, hollow tree to some animals. Critters such as squirrels and raccoons are great climbers. They need a safe,
dry place in which to live, so if your chimney has no chimney cap, get ready for some visitors!
Female raccoons instinctively seek out high areas in which to create a
nest. Because raccoons are so common in urban areas, they often climb on houses and other buildings looking for a good place to set up a nest. If they see an open
chimney, that's a great place to pick. They can easily climb down the flue, as seen in the above photo, and they usually set up a nest and have a litter of baby raccoons
at the bottom.
If you have raccoons in the chimney there's several things you can do. The best is to set a special chimney trap at the top of the flu, which
catches the raccoon as it exits. If there's babies inside, they can then be safely removed by hand. You can also set a ground trap at the base of the chimney and do
the same thing, though the capture rate may not be 100%, like with the chimney trap. You can scare the mama out and remove the young, then use the young as live bait.
Or, you can use a long chimney snare pole to grab and remove them all.
Repellants, such as ammonia or sound makers, don't really help. Please don't start a fire!
They won't all make it out alive, and it's incredibly inhumane!
Once all the raccoons are out, install a sturdy steel chimney cap to prevent this from happening again.
Oh, and if you don't have a cap, make sure the damper is closed, or else critters may wind up inside your home and not just the chimney.
Do it yourself: Visit my How To Get Rid of Raccoons page for tips and advice.
Get professional help: Visit my Nationwide Pro Directory of wildlife removal experts.
The raccoon (Procyon lotor)
, is a unique animal native to North America. It's not closely related to any other animals, with distant relatives such as bears and weasels. Coons are easy to recognize, with a black mask and ringed tail. Raccoons tend to weigh between 10-20 pounds
as adults. They are mostly nocturnal, and are omnivores. Racoons average a lifespan of about 5 years in the wild, and have a litter of 3-6 young each spring. They are very strong, excellent climbers, very intelligent, and they are very skilled with their hands. Raccoons have learned to
thrive in urban areas, and live in very high densities in cities, where they eat garbage and pet food. They commonly break into homes and attics, where they cause considerable damage, and they also destroy other property, and thus racoons are considered pest animals by many people. Raccoon
control and removal, especially from inside homes, is best left to a professional.