Are you an animal lover? part 1

I don’t like spiders and snakes but, I love all kinds of animals. 

I love to take my grandchildren to the zoo.  I love to view pictures of pets of friends and acquaintances.  My heartstrings are pulled when I see videos of animals that have been abused. 

If you love animals, as you read this article about animals in your chimney, think about what you will do next to insure their safety and the safety of your family.

As we begin to enjoy the warmer weather of Spring, homeowners should remember this is the time of year that our local wildlife in our residential communities are looking for a good place to build a nest and raise their young.  Your chimney, if left open to entry from outside, is an attractive looking place for raccoons, squirrels and birds to build their nests. 

When animals decide to occupy your chimney, they place themselves as well as your entire family at risk of much danger including several diseases that can be transferred to humans.

Some diseases from animals are unique to the species. 

Raccoons may leave droppings in your chimney that have raccoon roundworm eggs in the droppings.  Under certain conditions, a disease may be contracted by humans when coming in close contact or breathing in these materials.  Raccoons and other mammals may also contract rabies, a neurological disease, that also may be spread to humans with contact.

Bird droppings in your chimney may be the source of another disease that can be contracted by humans called histoplasmosis. This is an infection caused by breathing in spores of a fungus often found in bird and bat droppings.

Additionally, animals carry fleas and ticks that can be health risks to humans and pets alike.

There are also danger risks to the animals nesting in the chimney.

Carbon monoxide poisoning from a blocked up flue system can easily kill the babies and adult animals and present a CO risk to the occupants of the home.  If a nest of raccoons were to occupy your fireplace, having a fire in your fireplace can result in an injury or death to the animals and the possibility of the animals dropping down into the fire and running around your home on fire!

Part 2 of this article will appear on May 19.

~ Dave Hannah

Smoke Signals: Have a question about your chimney?