How to get squirrel out of chimney?
February 8, 2009 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Hey Gang, It's our first winter living in our house we spent last year renovating. We have a fireplace in our living room, but since we have not had the flue cleared yet, we're not using it. But something is living up there, or maybe stuck in there. We hear it scurrying around, dropping dirt and tiny bones into the fireplace. Maybe it is an ogre. Probably a squirrel. We would like to get the poor little guy safely out of there before our cats crawl up there and get him. Any ideas? Thank you!
posted by teammoonshine to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If it's dropping bones, it's not a squirrel, it's a carnivore of some kind. But, whatever it is, you can call your local animal control and have them come take a look.
posted by amyms at 11:21 AM on February 8, 2009

Not to state the obvious, but just hire a chimney sweep to come and clean out your flu. When I did that (on my old house, with who knows what living up there) it was only about $150, and he capped it with some mesh to keep animals and birds out.

You need to get it cleaned before you start having having fires, anyway.

Use someone who's a member of the guild.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:24 AM on February 8, 2009

A friend of mine who's a chimney sweep in MA is always being called to remove raccoons, possums, etc from chimneys. As coolguymichael says, a chimney sweep will be able to cap off the chimney with something to keep critters out.
posted by essexjan at 11:56 AM on February 8, 2009

As a word of caution, how NOT to do it:

Start a fire. This will only cause angry and flaming animals to fall into your fireplace and stomp around your living room. Seriously. I was clueless with my first fireplace. It's bad and sad and ends in naught but tears.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 12:11 PM on February 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Definitely block off the inside so your cats can't get to in the fireplace/chimney in the meantime.
posted by lizzicide at 12:49 PM on February 8, 2009

You want to be sure the flue is closed because otherwise you're air conditioning your house with a nice cold draft coming down the chimney. If the flue is closed your cats shouldn't be able to get up the chimney to get at the intriguing noises. If they're like ours, they'll climb on the mantlepiece and the bookcase next to the chimney to listen to the interesting sounds.

And yes - do get a chimney sweep to clean and cap the chimney. We had raccoons living in our chimney and they actually ripped the cap off said chimney after a couple years. Lovely beasts!
posted by leslies at 6:18 PM on February 8, 2009

I'm also guessing that is a raccoon. They are notorious chimney pests and not nice at all when cornered. They also have disgustingly dirty habits and leave all sorts of bones and bits of the things they've eaten everywhere. It's amazing to watch them scale your chimney...those buggers can climb ANYTHING.

Whatever you do, do NOT attempt to remove them yourself. We had to have five of them removed from the attic of the house we bought and then I had to haul myself up there on my stomach in a hazmat suit and bag up the crap they left behind **shudder**

I don't have anything against raccoons in the woods. But in my house? No. Sorry. Evict.
posted by jeanmari at 6:59 PM on February 8, 2009

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