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Old 04-30-2019, 04:17 PM   #1
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Raccoon family settled inside chimney


Although I've never seen the actual animals, I'm pretty sure there's a raccoon family living over the damper inside my chimney. I can hear them and also there is a visible black trail of sooted pawprints on the outside walls of the house where the mother climbs up and down the roof. I contacted different pest removal companies in my area (Billerica, MA), the estimates that I got for removal are between $600 and $1200 depending how many animals there are. So, I'm thinking of reaching inside with a heavy duty glove and removing the babies while the mother is away for food during the day. But since the chimney is in good shape, also the fireplace is securely closed I'm not too worried they can do immediate damage or enter the living room or something. So, I'd like to consult with experienced people here. I read this online:

"When the babies are about 8-10 weeks of age, the mother will start weaning them. She will take them out of the chimney and not return."

I think they've been inside for almost half that time now. Is it a good idea to wait about another month until they (hopefully) leave by themselves for good? Save myself some cash or the trouble removing them myself and accidentally letting a raccoon loose inside the house. I've never dealt with wildlife before nor do I want to hurt them, just to be gone. Putting a chimney cap would be the very next thing to do. But for now my options are spend small fortune on a pro, fight the problem myself or do nothing. Any advice is welcome.
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Old 04-30-2019, 05:17 PM   #2
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Re: Raccoon family settled inside chimney


While raccoon attacks on people are rare , I wouldn't advise doing anything until you secure the mother . If the young-uns squeal as you handle them , Momma could get very angry ! And if you corner her IN the fireplace , you could really get hurt !

Most people use of a steel cage trap . Here is a good link :

http://www.wildlife-removal.com/raccoonattack.html

Follow the internal links .
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Old 04-30-2019, 06:08 PM   #3
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Re: Raccoon family settled inside chimney


starting a small fire is out of the question? use damp wood and paper for alot of smoke - seal the fireplace from your side to prevent smoke in the house
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Old 04-30-2019, 06:25 PM   #4
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Re: Raccoon family settled inside chimney


Raccoons feed at night. Momma is gonna tear you up. Set a trap for her at night. Then deal with the babies. And I would expect the babies to use their teeth and claws as well. You better be careful. I like the idea of smoking them out too. Donít know if it will work or not. I canít say when the babies get mean. But Iíve seen the small ones get very aggressive


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Old 04-30-2019, 07:41 PM   #5
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Re: Raccoon family settled inside chimney


I think smoke would just smoke up your house. Also could kill the babies making it iffy while removing the bodies. How about a loud radio while everybodys out of the house? To make the nest feel less secure and comfy.

I was going to say how about a sound of barking dog, but if the mother gets too scared and abandons the babies, more work for you.


I would also dust around there in case of ticks.
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Old 04-30-2019, 08:21 PM   #6
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Re: Raccoon family settled inside chimney


Quote:
Originally Posted by atanas View Post
Is it a good idea to wait about another month until they (hopefully) leave by themselves for good?
That certainly sounds like the easiest and kindest option.

Raccoons are cute, but they can be real mean, and they're smart. They can do a lot of damage if they get into your house or any outbuilding, and they'll absolutely destroy any trash you leave outdoors, even if it's in a metal trash can.

Still, if you haven't had any damage from them, unless you plan to exterminate any that come near your house anyway, what's the harm in waiting until they leave on their own?
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:11 PM   #7
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Re: Raccoon family settled inside chimney


Smoking them would either suffocate the babies leaving me with hard to reach dead bodies or it will make them fall into the fireplace and be stuck there. I'd rather have the mother do the dirty work of taking them out the chimney.
I have an appointment with exterminator for inspection and estimate scheduled in 2 days which I'm canceling.
Reading the replies as long as other similar topics here encouraged me it's ok to wait them out. Let them leave peacefully in some time.
The only thing I'm considering trying as an attempt to speed up the process is soaking a cloth with concentrated coyote urine (or other liquid repellent sold at the local hardware store) and putting that in the fireplace. Maybe the smell will scare away the mother and she'd take the cubs with her one by one. There's the risk she may abandon them, but from what I read that's almost impossible with a raccoon mother. Radio is also a good idea although living in the chimney they are used to human noise and may just ignore the annoyance.
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:30 PM   #8
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Re: Raccoon family settled inside chimney


They like dark at night. Take a work light and turn it on and leave a couple of feet down inside the top of the chimney so never gets dark. They may move on sooner than waiting for on them.
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Old 04-30-2019, 10:27 PM   #9
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Re: Raccoon family settled inside chimney


I think joed gave you the only suggestion I would try other than waiting them out and then finding a way to discourage them from coming back next year.
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Old 05-01-2019, 04:51 AM   #10
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Re: Raccoon family settled inside chimney


When I was a kid a squirrel came down our chimney. The living rm took a big hit, not from the squirrel but from my mother with a broom trying to get it to leave. All I did was to open the front door - the squirrel was more than happy to leave.


To prevent a re occurrence a screen [hardware cloth] was attached to the top of the flue.
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Old 05-01-2019, 08:45 AM   #11
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Re: Raccoon family settled inside chimney


When I was a small boy my mom put a pan of ammonia in the fireplace and sealed up the front, so the fumes would go up. After the fumes have driven off the raccoons, get yourself some wire mesh and cover up your chimney.
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Old 05-01-2019, 09:08 AM   #12
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Re: Raccoon family settled inside chimney


Ammonia is also an option if you make it so it doesn't stink up your house at the same time.
Loud music might also help.
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Old 05-01-2019, 07:16 PM   #13
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Re: Raccoon family settled inside chimney


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
They like dark at night. Take a work light and turn it on and leave a couple of feet down inside the top of the chimney so never gets dark. They may move on sooner than waiting for on them.
This.
One of my old painter buddies who also did a lot of handyman stuff had a few strobe lights in his truck one day. I asked him if he was planning a dance party and he explained it's the fastest way to get rid of raccoons when he had to do deck, crawlspace, or attic repairs. The strobe light was set to a slower blinking rate and was really bright so it would annoy the heck out of the raccoons where they could get used to a regular light if they liked the space they were in.
He also had a couple of "bat scramblers" in his kit that would put out ultrasonic frequencies to get bats to move on.
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Old 05-09-2019, 06:51 AM   #14
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Re: Raccoon family settled inside chimney


Yea I've personally dealt with raccoons in our attic. I bet you can use the same strategy of setting traps to capture them. Be sure you don't get to close to their feces as it may carry dangerous diseases.
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:29 AM   #15
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Re: Raccoon family settled inside chimney


Use yours smotts phone to pull up the sound of a predator, such as a dog, a hawk/eagle, rattle snake, set it in the fireplace on repeat. Something that says danger and encourages the mother to get those babies moved out as soon as possible. Critters in your chimney, not good. But it would be a shame to kill the little ones. And if they die in there it might be difficult to remove them. That could be a whole separate and stinky problem with which to deal.
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Last edited by ZEW496; 05-09-2019 at 07:32 AM.
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