The Squirrel Incident
Today, Liz and I heard a lot of scurrying from within our chimney. And a bit later – a lot of high-itched yelping from the basement. As we investigated, we began to fear that a squirrel had fallen down from the roof.
Worse than what has happened in the past (where a squirrel fell down the main chimney stack and landed in the first floor fireplace)… it sounded like this time, the squirrel fell down the stack where we’re venting the hot water heater.
We heard some noises from inside the pipe duct. So to try to free the guy, I was able to disconnect a bit of the pipe.
I saw a bushy tail emerge, and almost jumped back out of surprise/fear. Hang tight here, reader… because things are going to get a little gross.
This thing you’re seeing? It’s not the trapped squirrel. It’s his predecessor, who perished in here.
That’s right. The squirrel we heard was trapped in the exhaust somewhere on the right, inside the chimney stack. The thing on the left is some prior squirrel who got trapped in here and expired.
I was able to take down the long length of pipe, and tried to “clean” things out. I tried pulling Squirrel #1 out of the pipe, and after a lot of tugging… he kind of broke in half, and half of him came out.
As I was trying to disconnect part of the vent pipe, I was angling it a lot… and out of the other end, popped a bird carcass. That’s right – a bird had also gotten stuck in here at some point, prior to the other squirrel.
We’ve got a terrible death trap on the roof, and need to seal it off a bit better. I think the warmth might attract them during the colder months, and if they fall down and get stuck.. it’s the carbon monoxide that ultimately gets them. Not a great fate, but a grim set of discoveries.
So with two dead bodies in the yard, we still had a squirrel stuck somewhere in here. We could hear him, but couldn’t coax the guy out. We weren’t sure if he was trapped somewhere in the stack, or if he was trapped within the vent pipe itself.
We left the basement for a few hours, during the second half of the day… but no movement.
After work, I headed out to Home Depot to get a bit of replacement duct pipe, and a camera cable (so we could peek inside the pipe duct).
Honestly, I love this photo. It was highly stressful in the moment, but I feel lucky we captured this small moment.
We weren’t sure why he wasn’t coming out. Was there another dead body blocking the way? Was there a drop, and he couldn’t reach the opening?
At least now, we knew he was in there… and we decided to leave him alone for the night.
Prior to going upstairs, we left the basement lights on. And we stuffed in a length of rope (in the off chance that he couldn’t quite make it from where he was up to pipe duct opening).
From a distance, it looked like a mini prison escape sequence. We positioned a trash can under the opening, in the event he was exhausted and just fell out. And then we went to bed.