The importance of keeping tree branches trimmed away from chimneys has been highlighted by one lady in the US, who had a squirrel fall into her structure and subsequently die.
Sharon Manering, owner of Quince Designs, wrote on the company blog that she heard strange noises coming out of her chimney and a couple of days later a pungent odour began emanating from it.
The stench soon grew unbearable and a chimney sweep came round to inspect and identified the smell as that of a decomposing squirrel.
To avoid this problem, Ms Manering advised trimming any branches which might provide a way for animals to enter the chimney.
"Keep tree branches trimmed away from all rooftops to prevent a fire hazard and to discourage critters from scampering over your rooftops, potentially creating problems," she added.
Another way to keep animals out is by fitting a chimney cap,
Andrew Karundu, writing in an entry on Ezine Articles, said