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raccoon in chimneyFrom afar, raccoons may seem like cute and cuddly creatures. But once they get up close and in your personal space, they can wreak havoc on the interior of your home. Raccoons are attracted to dark and cozy sheltered locations, like chimneys, primarily because they can nest and raise their kits there with little to no disruption.

The chimney is an ideal entry point to your home for raccoons because it’s covert and they can easily go in and out as they please to scavenge for food and nesting supplies. Through the chimney, raccoons can also access other parts of your home, causing potentially expensive damages as they go.

If you have raccoons on your roof, in your chimney, or in your attic, there are certain actions you can take to remove them effectively, safely, and humanely without causing any harm to yourself or the animals.

Hawkeye’s Raccoon Removal from Chimneys

At Hawkeye Bird and Animal Control, raccoon removal is just one of our many specialties. We’re also experts in raccoon control and prevention. We employ a number of tried and true industry-standard raccoon removal methods including live trapping, installing one-way exit devices, and hand capture.

Using only-state-of-the-art equipment and training, we can safely remove raccoons from your property. There are two options in terms of what can be done with the raccoon once caught. The animal can either be released within one kilometer of the trapped location or it can be taken to a discrete location where it can be humanely euthanized. Raccoons can travel over six kilometers within a single day so most customers choose to euthanize nuisance wildlife as this will ensure that they do not return to the property. This method requires a government licence which all of our technicians at Hawkeye possess and is illegal to be done by an unlicensed individual.

The best raccoon prevention method is to cap your chimney. This can be done all year round and can help to keep raccoons out of your chimney during the cold winter months and through nesting and breeding season come spring. Be sure to cover all outdoor play areas like sandboxes, keep your garage door closed, and eliminate all potential sources of food (e.g. plants, garbage, etc.). If you live in a raccoon-dense area, then it’s recommended that you refrain from growing a vegetable or fruit garden or putting out bird feeders unless they are properly enclosed as these are major food sources that attract more raccoons.

Can Animals Get into Your House Through the Chimney?

Absolutely! Wild animals like raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, mice, rats, bats, and birds can very easily gain access into your home through an uncapped chimney. Raccoons in particular are arboreal (proficient in tree-climbing) creatures and have extremely dexterous forelimbs. Their great strength and agility is almost akin to human athleticism. Not only can they climb great heights, but they’re also excellent swimmers.

One limitation in their physical skillset, however, is jumping. Lucky for property owners, raccoons have a very limited vertical and horizontal jumping capability. That means they can’t jump from one rooftop to another. Once they settle in one home, they’re unlikely to leave willingly; although, if there are trees or other methods of climbing from one house to another, this can easily be achieved.

Do Raccoons Go Down Chimneys?

Raccoons in the wild tend to live in giant hollow trees. Chimneys have very similar characteristics to hollow trees in that they provide a long, dark, secure, and cozy living space for wild animals. The reason raccoons are attracted to hollow trees and chimneys is because they provide the ideal shelter and protection from the outside world. While this works well for hibernation, it also allows the older raccoons to go out and scavenge for nearby food sources as needed.

In short, the answer is once again, yes—raccoons can and often do go down chimneys. And once they find your attic, that’s when the real chaos begins. As raccoons go rummaging through your home, they can cause exceptional and in some cases extensive and costly damages. You’ll most likely notice claw marks, holes in drywall, ripped insulation (if they get access to it), chewed wires, and even damaged pipes. The biggest telltale sign of raccoons in your domicile is the odour and presence of urine or feces. Raccoons tend to create latrines (nature’s toilets) where they like to do their business but do not usually nest and do their business in the same location

After gaining access to an uncapped chimney, female raccoons climb down the flue and set up a nest at the very bottom where they nurse their kits. A group or family of raccoons is called a nursery for this reason.

Raccoons are rambunctious and destructive creatures—especially when they’re hungry and desperate for food. They’ll eat anything and everything, including the insulation in your walls to keep from starving.

How to Get Raccoons Out of Your Chimney

Raccoons are very clever creatures and they know how to quickly evade inexperienced captors. If you’re not sure how to get rid of raccoons in your chimney, then it’s recommended that you contact a professional animal control company like Hawkeye Bird and Animal Control.

Depending on what the situation calls for, we use both passive and active raccoon removal methods to guarantee they’re safely taken away from your property and prevent them from returning in the future.  

Raccoons typically choose chimneys and attics to settle in because they’re quiet, warm, and comfortable. Adult raccoons are afraid of loud noises, so you can try to scare them away by turning up the radio in the attic. Talk radio works better than loud music because the voices sound intimidating as raccoons are often scared of humans if they are not ill. Other effective scare tactics are bright lights, scarecrows, flashing lights, and any loud sounds in general.

Scents like various spices, ammonia, and vinegar are also excellent raccoon deterrents as they create a very unpleasant and uninviting environment for raccoons.

Hawkeye’s Animal Control and Raccoon Removal Services

In case any of the above mentioned do-it-yourself methods fail, don’t panic. Contact Hawkeye Bird and Animal Control. We provide raccoon removal, control, and prevention services throughout Canada. In places like Ontario, it’s actually illegal for you to physically remove raccoons and some other wildlife creatures from your property. Some raccoons could be feral or carry a plethora of diseases that are also harmful to humans. For the safety of yourself, your family, and the animals, let us handle raccoon removal for you.

If you need professional help removing raccoons from your home, email us at hawkeye@hawkeye.ca or call us at (416) 429-5393.