A Guide to Animals and Chimneys in Winter

    We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

    Winters can be harsh on animals, with many struggling to find shelter from the cold weather. Unfortunately, many animals turn to chimneys as a source of warmth, which is a hazardous situation for both the animals and humans.

    In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about animals and chimneys in winter, including the risks involved, how to prevent it, and what to do if you encounter an animal in a chimney.

    Risks Involved

    Chimneys can be a dangerous place for animals. They can get trapped, injured, or even killed by preventing the smoke and harmful gases from going up and out of the chimney. If the chimney is not closed off properly, small animals like squirrels, birds, and even raccoons can enter the house, create damage, or even lead to entering the kitchen from chimneys.

    Some of the risks involved with animals in chimneys include:

    • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Animals can block the airflow, preventing carbon monoxide from escaping, leading to carbon monoxide poisoning for both humans and animals.
    • Fire Hazards: Nesting materials, debris, and dead animals can accumulate in the chimney, increasing the risk of fire.
    • Structural Damage: Creatures trapped in the chimney can cause structural damage, affecting the stability of the chimney and the entire building.

    Preventing Animals from Entering Chimneys

    Prevention is better than cure, and it’s always better to keep animals out of chimneys in the first place. Here are some tips on how to do just that:

    • Install Chimney Caps: Having a chimney cap installed blocks any animals from entering and protects the chimney from debris falling in the wrong place.
    • Cover Chimney Exits: You can install metal covers over the chimney exits to prevent animals from falling down it.
    • Trim Tree Branches: Trim back any tree branches that overhang your roof, as this will prevent animals from jumping easily.

    What to Do If You Find an Animal in the Chimney

    If you discover an animal in the chimney, don’t panic. It’s important to take the right steps to ensure both the animal’s safety and yours.

    Here are the things to do:

    • Leave the Animal Alone: Don’t try to smoke, poke, or prod the animal to get it out of the chimney; it will only make it more scared and anxious.
    • Open the Flue: Open the basement doors and any other windows in the room to give the animal a way out.
    • Call a Professional: If the animal is still stuck, call a professional chimney sweep or wildlife expert to remove the animal.


    Animals inhabiting chimneys is an alarming problem that could cause both loss of animal life and create significant damage to the building itself. Therefore, it’s important that we take steps to prevent animals from entering chimneys as much as possible.

    Whether it’s installing chimney caps or calling a professional to remove animals found in chimneys, it’s our responsibility to prioritize both human and animal safety alike.

    FAQs About Animals and Chimneys in Winter

    Q: What animals commonly find the way to get into the chimneys?

    A: Small animals like squirrels, raccoons, and birds are the most common culprits.

    Q: What are the dangers of having animals in chimneys?

    A: Some of the risks involved with animals in chimneys include carbon monoxide poisoning, fire hazards, and structural damage.

    Q: How can you prevent animals from entering chimneys?

    A: Installing chimney caps, covering chimney exits, and trimming tree branches near the roof are some effective measures to keep animals out of chimneys.


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here