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Wild Things: Raccoons in Chimneys

JOHN GRIFFIN, HUMANE WILDLIFE SERVICES/THE HSUS
With spring comes the start of house-hunting season, and any suburbanite might start a list of her dream home’s amenities with the basics: Is it safe and quiet? Snug and dark? Er … did you say “dark”? Well, yes: The house-hunters we’re talking about are of the raccoon variety, and the average uncapped chimney looks like the Taj Mahal to a ‘coon. Tall, sturdy, and protected, chimneys are perfect birthing dens—making up for the steady demolition of hollow trees across our neatly subdivided landscapes.

Anxious human homeowners may light up your switchboard with “raccoon in chimney” calls this season. And the irony is that it’s one of the easiest wildlife conflicts to prevent—all a homeowner needs to do is cap the chimney, preferably well before raccoon baby season starts up in late March.

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