Squirrel came down the chimney

Yesterday evening, while I was talking on the phone in my basement office, there was a scrabbling in the walls. I have an unusable Franklin stove in the fireplace of my office. It is largely hidden behind files and posters. The sound was coming from the chimney flue. Sometime later the critter made it to the stove’s firebox. When I tried to peek in, whatever it was became very excited. I decided to think about how to rescue it overnight.

In the morning the little creature was much calmer. When I used my headlight to look in, I could see a very unhappy black squirrel. The stove has large iron double doors and no window. I took a large clear plastic garbage bag and taped the opening around one door. The rest of the bag went into a cardboard apple box that rested with the open side against the stove door. Then I opened the door wide enough for the animal to escape into the bag. For the next two hours the squirrel and I occasionally talked to each other while it overcame its fear and attempted to emerge. Here is some of our conversation shortly before it decided to come out.

[play MP3 squirrel conversation]
Right-click and ask to open in a tab or another window
so it can play as you continue browsing

Once the squirrel entered the bag I could gently close the stove door so it could not return to the safety of its dark and filthy dungeon. With help from my wife I slid a plastic top over the box so the squirrel was both in the bag and completely in the box. Release was easy. We took it outside and removed the top. The squirrel leaped out and was up a tall red cedar tree in a flash.

BTW, I was too busy at the time to try to take pictures. But that sound file, recorded in stereo with a Sony PCM D50, will put you within a couple of inches of the poor distraught little animal.

Edit to add: I just discovered that the mp3 file was no longer available to support this page. It is now restored. (added 2009 Jan 1)

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3 Responses to “Squirrel came down the chimney”

  1. 1 Dona October 17, 2008 at 8:45 am

    Fierce little bugger! I loved the sound track, and am glad you survived unscathed, Robert.

  2. 2 bev November 17, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Robert, that squirrel sounds rather… unhappy. The sound recording is excellent. My only experience with trapped squirrels was with a red squirrel that came in through the window opening of our bathroom while I was replacing the window. I was having lunch when my collie, Maggie (an older collie that we had before Sabrina), came and stared at me and looked toward the bathroom door, then back at me, then at the door. She led the way to the bathroom and I found the red squirrel swimming in circles in the toilet — doing about 30 rpms a minute! I stuck a chunk of 2×4 in the toilet and the squirrel raced up it and out the window. The weird thing is that I found it in the toilet again a few hours later! The only reason I can think of for it coming back was that it was when we were having a severe drought in our area and perhaps it really needed a drink of water. I put a tray of water out on the front deck after — and also got finished installing the new window! – bev

  3. 3 Robert November 18, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Bev, both the squirrel and I were very unhappy. I was surprised at how conversational it was during the incarceration. The tumble down the flue and the night in the firebox must have been horrible! And I wanted to free it without harm to either of us. I’m glad it had a happy ending.

    That’s a wonderful story about Maggie and the red squirrel. Thanks.

    Bev, I’m really enjoying your journey to the center. I look forward to seeing your posts show up on my aggregtor. Best wishes.

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