The 46-year-old awoke to think her home in Hartlepool, Teeside was being broken into.
However, when she crept downstairs, she discovered the commotion was being created by a squirrel who had fallen down her chimney.
The panicked animal had scratched and bitten the carpet, curtains and sofa - causing an eye-watering £7,000 worth of damage.
Margaret managed to coax the squirrel out through a window with a neighbour's help.
She said: "The disruption was unbelievable."