You hear some strange sounds coming from your fireplace. Christmas is past so it can’t be Santa…what could be in there bouncing around, scratching, rattling things and making that chittering noise?
You listen a litter longer and then you actually see a bushy tail behind the grate or glass doors—-there’s a squirrel in the fireplace!
What to do? First, don’t panic. Second, read this post.
Options for Squirrel Removal From a Fireplace or Chimney
Squirrels are explorers. In the woods, they check out all kinds of hollows in trees looking for good places to live. Around our houses, squirrels often explore uncapped chimneys as potential dens.
Sometimes they go down chimneys and can’t get back up because of the slickness of the flue material. (This, again, highlights the importance of having a well fitting chimney cap.)
If the damper is open, the squirrel might find itself in the firebox (fire place proper). Or, if the damper is closed (bottom damper chimney only), you might hear the squirrel scratching around on the damper or smoke shelf.
Squirrel in the Fireplace | Squirrel in Firebox
First, let’s discuss squirrels that have made it into the actual firebox / fireplace proper, which is right next to a living space.
The only thing keeping the squirrel from your living space might be a set of glass doors or a screen of some kind. Many people worry the squirrel will run into the house.
If this is the case, we offer the following three courses of action.
Open a door or two to the outside in the vicinity of the fireplace while at the same time blocking off access to a majority of the house.
Remove whatever is blocking the squirrel into the fireplace.
Let the squirrel into your living space and then gently guide it through a door and outside. (yes, we are suggesting what many people would avoid at all costs!!!)
This is a low cost, no frills option that many people don’t consider or suggest. But, if the animal is not too tired or injured, it has a high likelihood of success.
It does require you to be calm and not be afraid of squirrels. And this method requires you to block out images of a squirrel zipping around your house frantically trying to find the exit or other worst case scenarios.
The squirrel may be excited and confused when exiting the fireplace and may need some prodding. But, if given the chance to go outside, it very likely will.
Anyone considering this option just needs to be very calm, not fear squirrels, and not be horrified by the thought of a squirrel meandering through the living room.
Keep the fireplace blocked off.
Acquire a squirrel sized live trap, bait it, and set it in the fireplace.
Wait for the squirrel to be captured and then remove it.
This option requires patience and ingenuity as getting a baited squirrel sized trap into the fireplace could present a challenge.
If the squirrel is not too tired or freaked out, it should eventually go into the trap. It could take minutes, hours, or longer.
Call a professional animal remover like Frontline Animal Removal in the Akron, Canton, Kent, OH area.
Let them decide the best way to get it out.
This method requires you finding a reputable, experienced, licensed nuisance animal removal company. They’ll worry about the squirrel.
This video shows how Ryan recently chose to remove a squirrel from a fireplace. He chose this option because he has the experience and equipment to do a hand removal.
Getting a squirrel out of the fireplace can be accomplished in a number of ways. In professional animal removal, creativity and ingenuity are prized. Sure there are standard methods, but as every case is a little different, being able to think outside the box goes a long way.
The only method we encourage you not to take is that of taking no action at all. Letting the squirrel stay in there until it dies of dehydration is cruel.
Squirrel in the Chimney | Squirrel Above a Low Damper
Secondly, let’s discuss a slightly different squirrel situation: a squirrel that can be heard in the chimney above a damper but not in the fireplace proper.
Squirrels that come down the chimney often get stuck above a damper which is traditionally located just above the firebox (though top of chimney dampers exist). In these cases, homeowners can hear the squirrel jostling around, but there is no danger in it getting into the fireplace as long as the damper remains shut.
What are the options for getting these squirrel out?
One method often suggested is to place a thicker rope that is easily climbable for a squirrel down the chimney from above.
Once in place, this rope lets the squirrel climb out. This is a great method if the squirrel is in shape to climb and the rope can be placed without you falling off the roof.
The biggest stumbling block in this method is getting the rope down the chimney. Anytime the tops of chimneys come into play, safety becomes a concern. How high is the chimney above the roof? Is there snow on the roof? Etc. The tops of some chimneys are very easy to access. Other chimney tops are daunting and require special equipment and skills.
A second option is to go through the fireplace, employing any of the methods above.
Letting the squirrel get past the damper does seem counter-intuitive to many, but resolving the problem from below by opening the damper is often the easiest and safest way to approach the problem.
Squirrel Removal from Fireplaces and Chimneys for Akron, Canton, Kent
Remember, a good chimney cap can help keep squirrels out of chimneys and fireplaces.
But, if a squirrel has slipped past your defenses and has become stuck in the chimney or fireplace, help is a only a phone call away.
We have the skills and experience to remove squirrels from chimneys and fireplaces efficiently and humanely.
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