Tag Archives: raccoon in chimney

Mild Winter and Nuisance Animals

Skunk (2)            I recently had an enlightening conversation with the pest control technician who was sent out to my home to help me battle the explosion of insects that are attacking my neighborhood this summer.  He said their company is extremely busy this season, due to the fact that Utah experienced a relatively mild winter during the 2013 to 2014 season.  While skiers and snowboarders lamented, and all of us worried about future water levels, we admittedly enjoyed the fact that we experienced fairly beautiful weather.  But, that has meant an increase in critters like Miller moths, earwigs, carpenter ants, slugs, snails, crickets and grasshoppers.  Frustrated homeowners are keeping these pest control companies busy this year!

A relatively mild winter gave rise to an increase in the insect population.  And, now we are seeing an increase in the bird population.  Utah just approved its first crow hunt because the crow population has tripled over the last twelve years.  New rules now allow Utah homeowners to kill nuisance birds if other efforts of getting rid of them are unsuccessful.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports an 8% increase in the duck population in 2014.   My neighbors have remarked how surprised they are to see more robins and pigeons than we’ve ever seen in this area before.

So, let’s follow the logic.  More prey means more predators.  With a growing bird population, we’re likely to see a growing population of raccoons, snakes, skunks and other animals that feast on both insects and birds.  A growing population of nuisance animals means they will expand their territories.  With such a feast of prey, nuisance animals may not need to root around in garbage cans or steal food from domestic animals, but we are likely to see an increase in animal dens under homes, raccoons nesting in attics or chimneys, and skunk dens under porches or stairs.

The damage these animals can do to property ranges from offensive smells to house fires and everything in between.  Raccoons easily tear through roofing or siding materials.  The smell of skunk spray is notoriously hard to get rid of, and can cost homeowners thousands of dollars to replace items that have been sprayed.  Animals in and around your home, such as raccoons and skunks, are a noise nuisance, cause offensive odors, threaten domestic animals, cause costly property damage, and can harm you and yours.

Let’s follow the logic just a little bit further.  Mild winter equals bigger insect population, which feeds a larger nuisance animal (predator) population.  And, those nuisance animals are in turn preyed upon by a larger tick and mite population.  When raccoons nest in your home or skunks move onto your property, they bring with them the insects and diseases hiding in their fur, on their skin and in their feces, which in turn infest your home or property.

I know, this all seems a little doom and gloom.  It’s just nature.  But, there is help.  Allstate Animal Control is a national network of nuisance animal control technicians.  These people know what they’re doing, they know these animals and the particular places they like to hide.  They are experienced at humanely removing nuisance animals out of your home or other buildings, off your property, and can clean the area and repair the damages the animals caused.

Get proactive and protect your home and property against these nuisance animals before they cause property damage and health issues.

Salt Lake County Exterminator

raccoon traps too small

I was so happy we called a Salt Lake County exterminator to get the dead raccoon out of our chimney, especially after witnessing the horror show of its removal.

My wife and I saved up for years, and finally bought a beautiful vacation cabin near a beautiful, mountainous national park, and I had grandiose ideas of hiking nearly every day we spent in our cabin property.  Truthfully, we spend more time just sitting on the porch, looking out at the view, bird-watching, talking or sitting in silence together.  We enjoy living our dream.  And, I swear, my wife had more fun furnishing and decorating the cabin than our actual home!  We put a lot of effort into our vacation spot to make it a romantic getaway for us for some weekends, and a great place for the kids and their families to join us for holidays.

So you can imagine how awful it was to show up for a long weekend, walk in the door and get hit with a nasty smell.  I’ve never smelled anything like it, but it was rancid.  My wife couldn’t take it after a while and retreated to the car while I investigated.  As I searched for the source of the smell, she called a Salt Lake County Exterminator.  The cabin wasn’t really damaged, but I was certain that smell was going to be near to impossible to get out of the front room furniture, where the odor was the greatest.  Finally, it overpowered even me, so I sat in the car and waited for the Salt Lake County Exterminator to arrive, assuring her it would all be okay and we’d still be able to enjoy the weekend.

When the Salt Lake County Exterminator arrived, he walked right over to the fireplace in the front room, shined a flashlight up there, poked around a little, and said, “Yep, you’ve got a dead raccoon in the chimney.”  He explained that raccoons will often climb down the chimney from outside, most often to bear their young, but sometimes just to find a quiet place to die.

What followed soured the entire weekend for me, but made me grateful I hadn’t attempted to remove the raccoon myself.  The dead raccoon was so far into the decomposition process that he had to remove it in pieces.  Yes, pieces.  It was like a horror movie.  I was confused at the sound I kept hearing, as he worked.  It sounded like rain coming from the chimney.  When I realized what it was, I had to beat a hasty retreat out of the cabin, close on the heels of my wife.  Maggots rained down from the raccoon corpse down the Salt Lake County Exterminator’s head and arms as he removed the raccoon.

Needless to say, we did not spend the weekend there, but we were happy his services included cleaning and sanitizing our cabin.  We didn’t have to do anything other than finding a nice hotel room in the area, and planning our next weekend getaway.

Get Rid of Raccoons

raccoon traps too small

Tears drip from my eyes, and I can not stop laughing as my roommate, Joe, stammers on about getting rid of raccoons.  The memory of his little-girl scream, the shocked look on his face, and the way he wind-milled back out of our fireplace makes me laugh harder every time I think about it.

“I’m serious, we have to get rid of the raccoon in our chimney!”

I know he’s serious, and I know we have to get rid of raccoons, but my laughing fit is making me hiccup out of control, and I can’t breathe, I’m convulsing so hard.  What makes it worse is our other roommate, Todd, is laughing, too.  I have to stop looking at him, or I’ll laugh myself into a coma.

Joe is kind of the macho man out of our group.  He’s the guy who spends at least two hours at the gym every day, bragging about his arms, even though most of the time is spent texting his girlfriend, drinking water, or looking in the mirror in between a couple of sets of grunting and lifting.  Hey, I don’t make fun of him, because neither Todd nor I can handle tools other than the occasional hammer or wrench, so it’s up to Joe to fix our toilet, install the new dishwasher, and, as of tonight, investigate whatever was making that noise up in our chimney.

We heard it at the end of our weekly game night.  We all have different gaming consoles, and we hook them all up in our living room, so we can rotate from game to game, trying to beat each other’s scores.  Some of our other friends were invited, too, but only on the condition they brought chips and drinks.  The raccoon in the chimney must have been making noise for a while, but we didn’t hear it until most of the guys had gone home.  Joe and Todd were picking up some of the empty cans while I finished up a game, and we heard a little scratch and a kind of chittering sound come out of our fireplace.

I didn’t bother to stop the game, until we heard it again, and Joe told me to shut up the game or he’d turn it off for me.  The three of us sat there, staring at the fireplace, waiting for the noise again.  When we heard it, a little rustling sound, we jumped up and ran around doing random things.  Todd ran for the phone.  He was going to call 9-1-1 until we yelled at him to stop dialing and hang up.  It couldn’t be that serious.  I grabbed a broom from the kitchen, although I’m still not quite sure what I planned on doing with it.  Joe ran for the fireplace, and banged on a spot just over the mantle.  He says he was trying to scare whatever it was, so it’d run back out and get out of the chimney.

None of that worked, and when we heard a noise again, Joe decided he was going to grab a flashlight and have a look for himself.

Flashlight in hand, he pulled the grate back, got on his back, and squirmed his way back into the unused fireplace.  At first, he didn’t see anything, but we sure knew when he did.   Raccoon eyes gleamed down at him from the dark, paws outstretched, and Joe screamed a scream that would have made a six year-old girl proud.  He’s still babbling about “getting rid of raccoons,” and Todd and I are still laughing hysterically.