What are Chipmunks?
Chipmunks are small, striped rodents of the family Sciuridae (squirrel). They are classified as genus Tamias which were composed of any of 25 species of small, striped, terrestrial squirrels with large internal cheek pouches used for transporting food. They have prominent eyes and ears, a furry tail, and delicate claws. All are active only during the day, and all but one is North American, occurring from southern Canada to west-central Mexico. Body length among most species’ ranges from 8 cm to 16 cm and tail length from 6 cm to 14 cm. Chipmunks have an omnivorous diet primarily consisting of seeds, nuts and other fruits, and buds. They also commonly eat grass, shoots, and many other forms of plant matter, as well as fungi, insects and other arthropods, small frogs, worms, and bird eggs. They will also occasionally eat newly hatched baby birds. Around humans, chipmunks can eat cultivated grains and vegetables, and other plants from farms and gardens, so they are sometimes considered pests. Chipmunks mostly forage on the ground, but they climb trees to obtain nuts such as hazelnuts and acorns.
How to Distinguish Between Chipmunks and Other Squirrels?
Both species are members of the squirrel family. When you know what to look for. However, the differences are obvious:
|Parameter of Comparison||Chipmunks||Other Squirrels|
|Taxonomy||25 species of Tamias in squirrel family (Sciuridae)||General family including ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, prairie dogs, and flying squirrels|
|Appearance||Have stripes from the back till head.||Have no stripes at all, except ground squirrels which have stripes but not till the head|
|Habitat||Live in burrows in the ground||Live in parklands, woodlands and tree holes.|
|Storage||Storing food during winter||hibernate during winter, so no food storage in need.|
How to Identify Chipmunk?
Chipmunks tend to be quick and quiet, making them hard to spot. In fact, you may have a chipmunk problem in your yard and not even know it. Here are a few ways to identify a chipmunk infestation.
- Evidence of damage in the garden or flower beds – Does it look as though something has been munching on your plants, flowers and fruits? You may have a chipmunk problem. Oftentimes, chipmunks choose to burrow in gardens and flower beds, so keep an eye out for damage to your gardens.
- Tiny footprints in the yard – If you’ve got a chipmunk problem, you may spot chipmunk footprints in your yard. Chipmunks have four toes on the front feet and five toes on the hind feet. Keep a look out for prints in the dirt around the sides of your home, garden or garden shed.
- Cracked sidewalks and issues with the house foundation – This could be evidence that chipmunks are building tunnels underneath your walkways and home. If you spot evidence of chipmunks tunneling around your home, you’ll need to take care of the pest problem asap to prevent structural damage.
- A high-pitched chirping sound– Think you have a chipmunk inside your home? Listen out for high-pitched chirping noises that sound like “chip-chip”. If you do find a chipmunk in your home, make it easy for them to escape. Trust us – they don’t want to be inside your house any more than you want them to be there.
How to Get Rid of Chipmunk?
Warning: Do not poison moles as there may be unexpected side effects on your family and environments. Poisoning or gassing should always be your last resort. Please consult your local professionals if necessary.
There are many ways to control chipmunks, including taking steps for prevention, trapping and releasing, and using homemade chipmunk repellents. Because chipmunks are rodents, many of the same methods used to control them are similar to those used against rats, mice, and squirrels. But the most humane, and often the most effective, methods are exclusion and prevention.
To isolation your garden from chipmunks, we recommend making changes to your yard to reduce chipmunk damage and presence. The basic recommendations include:
- Bury L-shaped barriers of 1/4-inch hardware cloth (or other barrier material, like the mat made by Trapall) around the home’s foundation as well as sidewalks, porches, patios, decks, and retaining walls to keep chipmunks from burrowing.
- Surround the yard or home with a plant-free gravel border.
- Prevent chipmunks from digging up flower bulbs by planting the bulbs beneath a layer of 1/4-inch hardware cloth or in bulb cages. Cover the cloth with soil. The plants will sprout through the mesh grid, but the bulbs will be protected.
- Place 1/4-inch mesh hardware cloth as fencing around gardens and flowers.
- Keep firewood and leaf and debris piles away from the home to keep chipmunks from burrowing beneath the pile (and possibly under the home’s foundation).
- Do not allow trees, shrubs, or other plantings to run continuously from wooded areas to the home, as this will draw chipmunks in.
Trapall is a renown manufacturer of catch traps which can capture chipmunks without hurting or killing them – so you can then resettle them miles away from your property.
- Choose one-door or two-door traps—typically 10 to 20 inches long—for chipmunks (one-door traps tend to be simpler to operate and are often used by professionals), and wear gloves when setting the traps, as any hint of human scent will spook your quarry.
- Place traps in areas you’ve identified as prime chipmunk territory: your attic, garden shed, along fences and walls, and near the house foundations.
- Peanuts, sunflower seeds, and peanut butter make excellent bait, which you place directly to the trigger plate.
- Set the trap according to instructions and check it often so you can release the rodents promptly.
- After trapping them, relocate to a place far away from your home.
Note: Different localities have different laws about trapping and relocating wild animals, so double-check your city’s wildlife ordinances first before using traps to get rid of the chipmunks running loose in your lawn.
- Live Catch Trap Cage (ATPL7116-13)
- Live Catch Trap Cage (ATPL7116-4)
- Mouse Trap Cage (ATM2926S)
- Bait Station Live Catch Trap Cage (ATPL6980)
Electronic repellents produced by Trapall, which use blasts of water or ultrasonic vibrations, are a high-tech, non-toxic way to evict chipmunks and other creatures like deer and rabbits from your yard. If you don’t feel like spending the money these gadgets cost, go low tech. Inflate beach balls and let them bounce around your backyard in the wind, and hang CDs in your trees, so they can twirl in the breeze. Chipmunks are timid and the unexpected motion will often scare them away.
- Ultrasonic Pest Repeller (ATE1163-3)
- Animal Deterrent Light Repeller (ATE11125)
- Mole Repellent (ATE11160)
- Solar Mole Repeller (ATE11127)
The easiest way to urge these tiny members of the squirrel family (Sciuridae) to move it along is by eliminating the things that brought them into your yard in the first place. Begin by placing your bird feeder (also supplied by Trapall!) high off the ground and around 15 feet from fences and other structures. Make sure you regularly clean up spilled seed, and think about using feed with added hot pepper, which birds will eat but chipmunks can’t abide.
- Regularly clean up spilled seed.
- Choose seed to which chipmunks (and squirrels) are not attracted, such as thistle.
- Place bird feeders at least 15 to 30 feet away from any structure.
- Follow standard steps to keeping squirrels away from bird feeders.
Related Trapall Blogs
Wikipedia contributors. (2021, October 27). Chipmunk. Wikipedia. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chipmunk
Musser, G. (2021, May 3). chipmunk. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://www.britannica.com/animal/chipmunk
Chipmunks. (n.d.). National Geographic. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/facts/chipmunks
Bradford, A. (2015, June 9). Chipmunk Facts. Live Science. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://www.livescience.com/51139-chipmunks.html
Chipmunk and Squirrel Identification. (n.d.). NatureMapping. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from http://naturemappingfoundation.org/natmap/facts/chipmunk_vs_squirrel.html
Amsel, S. (n.d.). Chipmunk (Eastern). Exploring Nature Educational Resource. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://www.exploringnature.org/db/view/Chipmunk-Eastern