Based on their design alone, chimneys make perfect homes for a wide range of animals. The vertical, confined space is perfect for a rodent or bird to make a nest. It provides shelter from the elements and predators while also being easily accessible.

Chimney caps are meant to prevent this problem from occurring. They are what sits at the very top of your chimney, typically made of metal with a wire mesh. If you haven’t maintained your chimney in some years and hear some scratching around, you may find one of the following animals living inside:

1. Chimney Swifts or Other Birds

Chimney Swift Nest

Chimney Swifts are a species of bird that seek out chimney-like structures to build nests. They use vertical surfaces to construct their nests during mating season. The bird is identified by its small, tube-like body and curved wings. Its coloration is typically ashy, dark brown, or dark gray. You mustn’t remove chimney swifts yourself because they are protected by law. We have more details regarding everything you need to know about chimney swifts on our blog page.

Of course, swifts are not the only type of bird you have to worry about. Other birds such as sparrows, finches, and doves can also use your chimney as their home. After all, your chimney does resemble the similar structure of a tree. Keep them out and other creatures with proper maintenance to your chimney cap and flue.

2. Bats

Little Brown Bat

Birds aren’t the only flying animals you have to worry about in your chimney. Bats are common chimney inhabitants too. Since bats typically dwell in similar environments (caves, trees, bridges, etc.), your chimney is a perfect place to call home. The most common species of bat in Texas is known as the Mexican free-tailed bat. Of course, there are many other species in the state as well.

Mexican free-tailed bats migrate to Texas in February for mating season. Females will create maternity colonies filled with hundreds or thousands of mothers giving birth to one pup each. For the winter, they fly back to Mexico, where they typically dwell in caves. Like chimney swifts, be sure not to remove the bats yourself since they are protected by law too! Contact an animal control expert for the best course of action.

3. Squirrels

Squirrel on roof

Like all the other animals on this list, squirrels find chimneys to be a dry, warm place to call home. The structure of your chimney is similar to that of a tree, so squirrels are drawn to its presence. Contrary to popular belief, not all squirrels hibernate. Tree squirrels do not hibernate and are active throughout the entire year. That doesn’t mean they’ll avoid your chimney for the winter.

It is a dry and warm place, after all. Ensure your chimney cap is adequately secured and get your chimney inspected annually. Doing so will help you find any signs of squirrels or other animals. The last thing you want to do is set a nest on fire when enjoying the ambiance of a wood-burning fireplace.

4. Racoons

Raccoons on Roof

Out of any of the other animals on this list, raccoons are the largest potential inhabitants of your chimney. Female raccoons like to give birth in safe places such as trees during the early spring. They may find access to your chimney and turn it into their birthing place.

When giving birth, the offspring will remain on the smoke shelf until they are ready to leave the nest. We do not recommend you remove the raccoons yourself. Call a professional animal or pest control company for the job. Afterward, give Fresh Air Duct Cleaning a call for proper cleaning. Raccoons will leave behind quite a mess when residing in your chimney.

Chimney Sweeping and Inspection Services

Fresh Air Duct Cleaning offers comprehensive chimney services for your home. While we don’t remove animals or pests, we can inspect the structure for them and clean up any mess they leave behind. Contact our team today by calling (214) 239-1832. We’ll perform your annual chimney inspection and cleaning so your chimney is ready for the winter.