Raccoons in my Chimney Austin, TX.
Raccoon Proof Chimney Austin, TX.
hearing noises coming from your fireplace? Raccoons can get in your chimney especially if you do not have a chimney cap. Raccoons will often fall in without the chimney caps. When these animals fall in, sounds will be more frantic. In an attempt to get out the animal will scratch at the damper. Sometimes they will fall all the way down and enter your Austin house. If the noises are not frantic, occurring at certain times of day, perhaps dusk, or sounds like babies calling to their mom, then the raccoon has chosen to make a home in your chimney.
Raccoons will enter the chimney on purpose. The raccoon will be setting up a den in your Austin home. This is an ideal location for a mother looking for a safe place to have her babies. They can even get in when there is a chimney cap. They may have dislodged the cap or made a hole in it that enables them to get in. This is particularly true if it is not a durable steel chimney cap or is old enough to be in a weakened state.
Never install a new cap or repair the old one without first ensuring all living animals have been removed first. The animal will then be trapped and may end up dead due to starvation. Also if the raccoon is a mom with babies and the mom has been removed but not the babies, separating the mom from the babies will lead to the death of the babies. If an animal dies in your chimney you will then have to deal with the decomposing body or bodies which can lead to other issues including a strong unpleasant odor. If you can see the adult look for nipples, a nursing mom will have them. You will then know you should call a wildlife removal expert to remove the babies. Baby raccoons can not exit on their own and are event too small for traps. They have to be removed by hand or with a snare pole and that is a job for a professional in Austin. While spring is the most common time for raccoons to give birth, they may have the occasional litter at other times.
If you can ensure you are only dealing with an adult, you can try to hassle them out of your Austin home. This can include using lights that turn on and off shining up the chimney from the fireplace or down from the top. Raccoons prefer to nest in dark places and may not like the bright lights. Also you can place a radio with a talk radio station into the fireplace. The raccoons may move on thinking the area has too many humans. This is working less effectively as raccoons are becoming more urbanized and therefore learning to coexist with humans. While in other more open areas ammonia and mothballs can be used, in a chimney the vapors can cause damage to the baby raccoons mucus membranes. Also the adults will become so agitated they will cause damage to your chimney as they try to get out or it may even cause the raccoons to attack. Never try to evict animals in your chimney by lighting a fire. When a fire is lit the damper must be opened this can result in the animal falling down and either landing in the fire or entering your home. If the animal doesn't fall down you may still end up killing any adult and as the babies are not able to climb out you will kill them. In addition to the issues above that result in a dead animal in your chimney you can now add the odor of a burning animal.
There are traps that are made for the top of chimneys and they can aid in the removal of adult raccoons. If you have trapped a raccoon be aware that there are laws that will regulate what you can do with it. Be aware of your state's laws before relocating any trapped raccoon. Once any adult has been removed the chimney should be inspected for the presence of any babies. Then once any babies have been removed, all nesting materials need to be cleaned out. This needs to be done wearing gloves and being careful to limit exposure to diseases, like raccoon roundworm. Also if the raccoons have been in your chimney for any time they may have been using your roof as a bathroom. This too will need to be cleaned making sure to use gloves and avoiding disease exposure. You will then want to have your chimney inspected to find any damage the raccoon may have caused so it can be repaired properly.