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What To Do If You Have A Squirrel Stuck In Your Chimney

By Chris Williams on March 13, 2015.

squirrel looking off of roofJohn Maher:  Hi, I’m John Maher. Today I’m here with Scott Winsper of Colonial Pest Control. Scott is a Wildlife Technician, and today we’re talking about what to do if you have a squirrel stuck in your chimney. Welcome, Scott.

Scott Winsper:  How you doing, John?

How can I tell if there’s a squirrel in my chimney?

John:  Good. Scott, how can I tell if there’s a squirrel in my chimney?

Scott:  First of all, you’re going to know it. If they’re in the chimney, they’re going to be banging back and forth on your flue plate. They’re going to be going up and down your chimney, squeaky noises. You’re going to know when you have a squirrel in the chimney.

John:  Right. You’re going to hear this banging sound of the flue plate, like you said, kind of rattling in there.

Scott:  Absolutely. They’re going to be going up and down. They’re going to be spending time in there. You’re going to hear them.

How common are squirrels in chimneys?

John:  This seems to happen a lot, this squirrels being stuck in a chimney. Do you see this a lot?

Scott:  It’s common during the winter months. The reason why a squirrel gets caught in your chimney is, first of all, they get to the top of the chimney and they’re looking for warmth, and it’s usually your furnace flue that comes up. Then what happens is they feel the heat coming off your furnace flue and they hit the gas that’s in them, and then they fall backwards, then down in your chimney and here they go.

Now, that’s why they’re in there. Once they fall down there, they find it’s a good area to nest and have their babies. That’s why they’re in the chimney.

Removing Squirrels from Chimneys

John:  Is there a way to safely remove and release the squirrel from the chimney, if there isn’t a larger problem where I have multiple squirrels in my attic or something like that? Is there a way to just take that one squirrel out, and get it out of my house?

Scott:  Absolutely, John. Several things you can do. You can put traps inside the chimney area and open up the flue. Usually that squirrel is hungry, and wants to feed. You take a baited trap. You put it inside the flue area. Usually the next day you have them in the trap.

The other way of doing it is you can go to the top of your chimney, where they’re going in and out of the liner. You can install a one‑way door, it’s actually called an E40. So what happens is the squirrels will go up the chimney line, and when they want to go out, they’ll go out the one‑way door, but they can’t get back in.

Usually leave that on for several days. Squirrel goes up the chimney, goes out the one‑way door, problem solved.

John:  Right. Do you find at all, squirrels getting stuck inside the chimney and not being able to get out?

Scott:  It all depends on your chimney. Several chimneys are different out there. You’ve got the old chimneys in the old Victorian homes where they’re not lined, they’re just brick‑layed all the way down. That’s usually common for Gray Squirrels to live in those, because they can go up and down the brick, and live in there.

Now, there’s other ones where you have the clay liner stacks, where they stack on top of each other. Usually those are the ones they have a hard time getting out of. They can’t crawl on the clay liner and get out. The only way they can get out of clay liners, if your clay liner has shifted inside your chimney where it makes almost like steps inside there, and they go in and out.

That’s what’s common; where squirrels like to go in there, and nest there. It’s an easy access point to go in and out. Now, getting a squirrel caught in your chimney, like I said before, sometimes it’s due to the gases of your furnace flow. They go up there. They go for the warmth. The gases hit them. They fall backwards. Now, they’re in your chimney.

Removing a Squirrel Stuck in Your Chimney

John:  When you find that a squirrel is stuck in the chimney, like you said, in one of these clay liners, and they can’t get out, is there a way that you guys can come in and get that out of my chimney? You don’t want the squirrel to die in there.

Scott:  Absolutely not, John. You don’t want a squirrel to die in there. If you get a squirrel to die in there, you’re going to get a smell. You’re going to get flies. You don’t want that. We’ll physically put our hands in there and reach in there if we need to, to pull the squirrel out. We’ll go inside there, grab Kevlar gloves, reach inside there, grab the squirrel, and pull him out if we need to.

But we like to do it the humane way. If we can put a one‑way door on top of your chimney, get him out, then talk to you about putting a chimney cap on, that’s what we want to do. If they’re not going to go out the one‑way door, we’ll physically go in there and remove them.

John:  Sounds good. All right, that’s great information, Scott. Thanks for talking to me today.

Scott:  No problem.

John:  For more information you can visit the Colonial Pest Control website at ColonialPest.com or call 1‑800‑525‑8084, that’s 1‑800‑525‑8084

Photo credit: Peter G Trimming / Foter / CC BY

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