Okay, details. I woke up this morning and heard noises coming from down the hall. My first thought was that a mouse had gotten trapped by a leg or tail, and was trying to get away with the trap attached. So I headed for the kitchen to look under the sink, but the sound was coming from the living room. From the fireplace, specifically. And it was a squirrel, who was behind the fireplace screen and looking pretty agitated. My first thought was that I was about to star in the remake of Squirrel Cop
, which I wanted to avoid. So I started out by putting a heavy box in from of the screen to make sure that he didn't burst out into the house and wreak havoc. Since he was spending a lot of time clinging to the inside of the screen, I came up with a plan to slide an old bedsheet down behind the screen and trap the squirrel in front of it, which would essentially put him inside of a bag that I could then drag outside. But by the time I came up with this plan, he had become so skittish that he was staying against the back wall of the fireplace. Sliding a yardstick under the screen to vex him just made him more determined to stay back there. And as I had a meeting at work, I just left, and we'll see what kind of mood he's in when I get home.
The damper in the fireplace apparently broke years ago, and the previous owners installed an alternative damper that's a hinged lid on top of the chimney. But there's a chip in the ceramic chimney liner that leaves a gap that's (apparently) large enough to accommodate a squirrel. Sealing up that hole should solve the problem in the future, but...
My current plan is to get a piece of pipe and some cord, and make myself a lasso stick. If I can slip it under the screen and get one of his body parts through the loop, I should be able to pull it tight and drag him out of there. It's my understanding that this is the technique that professionals use to handle raccoons. Any other suggestions would be welcome.