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What to Do When Raccoons Move Into Your Chimney


Raccoons are curious, highly instinctual nocturnal mammals. Raccoons typically weigh between 7 to 20 lb. or 3 to 9 kg’s and 1 to 4 ft. or 30 cm to 112 cm’s long. The reason that they are such peculiar creatures is that each hand and foot has five fingers and toes which makes them extremely dexterous. Together with their gray fur and dark black markings around their eyes, they are visually distinctive animals that always seem to be close when food is nearby.

This makes it especially annoying for homeowners.  Sometimes well-intentioned people take the initiative to feed our furry friends getting them to feel a little too comfortable around humans. They decide that they like us so much that they want to move closer to their new friends and their 24 hour a day food source…your house. I get a couple of calls a week from a homeowner in Lake Jackson, Katy or Bellaire, Texas asking me if I can take care of these new tenants in their chimneys.

So why do raccoons pick your chimney?

The mother raccoon most likely wants a place that is sheltered from the elements warm to raise her babies.  She also has to protect her family from male raccoons who are threatened by the existence of other males and have been known to kill baby raccoon’s. She mistakenly assumes that your chimney is a burned out tree because of its strong burnt wood scent.

If you’ve heard the scratching of raccoon claws in your chimney, the first thing that you should do is to not overreact. It may be a major inconvenience but you have to keep you cool. It would be advisable not to try to smoke them out.   I have seen many homeowners take it upon themselves to get rid of raccoons by trying to smoke raccoons out of the chimney and by lighting a fire.  In most cases you either kill all of the raccoons and they die in your chimney from smoke inhalation or the mother escapes leaving the babies behind.

Another mistake that homeowners make is that they try to seal them out of the chimney when they see the mother leave for food.  They probably don’t realize that the babies have no other way of getting out and your chimney becomes their coffin.

When removing raccoons, it is critical to get the mama and babies out together, so you don't end up with baby raccoons in your house or left in the chimney.  Although they make a real mess while they're living, it’s much harder to remove them when they are dead which is usually more expensive for you and unsanitary for your home.

At American Fireplace Inc. we run into these situations all of the time. We have experience safely removing all of the raccoons in your chimney at once, ensuring that none of them get left behind. We also have chimney traps, and other specialized equipment to remove raccoons from hard to reach places.  Although it can be very difficult to get raccoons out of a chimney, we always get our man, I mean our raccoon.

We always clean up the chimneys that we have been working on removing all contaminated material and disinfecting the area. We also seal off all access points so your problem does not occur again. American Fireplace Inc. chimney cleaning and residential air duct cleaning services. For more than 20 years, it has served customers in Houston, Texas (TX) and the surrounding areas including Beaumont, Brenham, College Station, Galveston, Katy, Kingwood, Lake Jackson, Woodlands, Richmond, Spring and Sugarland. American Fireplace Inc., We Care about Your Air!

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