Damage ID





Chimney Wildlife Damage Inspections


Chimneys are DEATH TRAPS for most animals; raccoons & chimney swifts are notable exceptions.

If noise stops, usually it means the animal has died!

This crow was rescued from a chimney by Stephen Vantassel in Longmeadow, MA.
rescued crow

Step 1

Understand a little of how a typical chimney works. Please look carefully at the diagram to your right.

Note that all chimneys won't follow this plan. But this plan is a good model to start with.

Most animals will be found behind the damper. DON'T OPEN IT!!!

Step 2

Have you heard any noises emanating from your fireplace or chimney area?

  • Raccoon young will sound like birds chirping.
  • Chimney Swifts make grinding noises.
  • Squirrels will scratch or have a chrr sound.
  • Note that a wide number of animals can become trapped in a chimney, including ducks, owls, and crows.
rescued crow

Step 3

Check to see if the chimney it is capped.

It may look capped but the cap may be broken. See black arrow.

Sometimes caps rust out. This is why we recommend stainless steel, professionally manufactured caps!

Also not all flues may be capped, as the flue in the lower right hand corner of the image.
chimney cap

Step 4

Inspect the corners of your of your home and along tree branches for sign of raccoon travel.

Often you will see smudges where their feet gained tracking for the climb.

Step 5

Look down the chimney, if possible, and you can do so safely!! You might just see what is living or trapped there.

Chimney animal jobs will often require the help of a professional.


To prevent future incidents of raccoons and other animals from entering your chimney click Chimney Prevention

raccoon in chimney. Photo by Alan Merrifield
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