Having raccoons living in your chimney is no walk in the park, especially when you don’t know about it. I honestly can’t tell you how long they have even lived in there, and yes there are more than one. A mother and four babies, to be exact. It might seem crazy to you that I didn’t realize there was something unusual living in my chimney, but my mind has been on other things lately, and since the weather has just started to cool down for the year, I haven’t had much reason to be around the chimney now have I?
So there I was, on a chilly mid-October’s night, and I decided that nothing but a warm fire could make my night more perfect. I collected the firewood and arranged it carefully in the fireplace, then I opened the damper. I heard loud scratching as (what I assumed to be) the mother scurried out of the chimney, then two small raccoons rolled out from the open damper, hissing and running frantically for some sort of cover; I was right behind them. Cowering behind my kitchen counter, I watched two more raccoons crawl out of the damper into my house, I couldn’t believe it I had been sharing my house with 5 raccoons for who knows how long! I probably sat there for a good ten minutes before I could really wrap my head around the fact that there were raccoons living in my chimney.
With my husband overseas in Turkey, there was no way I was going to be dealing with this problem on my own. After about an hour of research and deliberation (noted I did this at my mother-in-law’s house), I was able to find a company online that specialized in wildlife removal. Luckily, they had a 2 o’clock appointment available that day to come out and find the little suckers. In the end, it took about an hour and a half to find and capture all four babies but we did it. I’m still stressed that the mother raccoon will come back and chew her way through my front door to get her babies back, but the trapper assured me that that wasn’t exactly how it worked. They set a trap near the chimney entrance and hopefully she’ll be trapped and gone in the next couple of days. It has been a week and the whole thing still seems surreal to me, but here’s my advice: before you go starting a fire, listen carefully for any sounds coming from above the damper. You never know if you’ll have raccoons living in your chimney, too.