By far and away, the biggest problem with chipmunks is that many of us underestimate them. It is totally normal to be in two minds about these little creatures, as they are not simply adorable, they may easily ruin your garden. Chipmunks look like little squirrels with black stripes on their backs. They are native to North America and widely spread there, accustomed to people.
These rodents may devour plants in your garden one by one, while you will be trying to catch them. I want to share my experience as an entomologist, and pest control consultant, here with you. I am going to discuss humane methods to get rid of chipmunks as well.
Everything You Need to Know About Chipmunks
Chipmunks or Tamias Striatus (eastern chipmunk) dwell on the territory of Northern America and are rodents that belong to the Sciuridae (squirrels) family. However, you can’t call them squirrels, as they are entirely different species. Scientists recorded 16 types of chipmunks in the USA. The main signs of American chipmunk:
- Its body is up to 6 inches long;
- There are 5 black and 2 tan links on its back;
- It lives in suburbia or woodlands.
Chipmunks vs. Squirrels
Before we discuss how to kill chipmunks or kick them away from your home, let’s talk about the difference between squirrels and chipmunks. Both rodents can be a pain in the neck if you ask me, but we are currently talking about chipmunks. Some of them may look similar, but that’s only natural as they belong to one family.
For example, even though chipmunks and ground squirrels have similar coloring, they are still different from tree squirrels with their round-shaped and furry tale. The main difference is in length and coloring:
- Chipmunks are 6-12 inches maximum in length, while the squirrel is 12-20 inches in length with a tale;
- Squirrel does not have stripes on the fur;
- The tale of the squirrel is round, while chipmunk’s tail is straight;
- Squirrels are gray in the USA, while chipmunks are light-brown with stripes and white bellies;
- Squirrels can easily dwell in the city parks, building nests on trees; chipmunks prefer woods and living in the ground, where they make holes. So, if you were wondering do chipmunks live underground, the answer is, yes. They decorate holes with moss and leaves.
They eat similar food, but squirrels may consume more. Both rodents have small pointy ears. And yet, it is extremely hard to mistake one for another.
Dangers That May Be Caused by Chipmunks
Although chipmunks look like characters undervalued by Disney, they are anything but harmless. Like any rodents, the family that includes rats and mice, these cuties can easily carry multiple diseases that may spread to humans. Don’t try to catch it with your bare hands, as it may bite you with particles of rabies or plague on its teeth.
Since chipmunks’ teeth are constantly growing, they have to chew almost everything around them, including walls, pipes, boxes, clothes, furniture, and pictures. Once you have them in your house, it is better to act fast. While the loss of favorite clothes may be sad, chipmunks chewing wires inside the house’s walls are extremely dangerous.
What Attracts Chipmunks to Your House?
If you want to attract chipmunks to your yard or invite them to your house, you will have to follow the next steps. Before we start, I want to point out that while these creatures are easy to summon, they are incredibly hard to get rid of. Anyway, I recommend using practical knowledge, to make a perfect bait:
- Plants with seeds. Chipmunks are in love with sunflowers and their seeds. You may also try coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, Coreopsis. When the weather gets colder, chipmunks feed on seed heads, left by gardeners.
- Fruits. These rodents adore berries. If you want to attract them, you can place cranberries, hawthorns, dogwood that is flowering, and crabapples. They also enjoy peaches, apples, cherries, and pears. To cap it all, chipmunks will eat all fruits and berries in case they are hungry.
- Nuts. Usually rodents can’t live without a good amount of nuts. They prefer walnuts, beeches, hickories, oaks, and everything that can be chewed. If you have nuts somewhere around, you can arrange a simple trap to catch chipmunks.
- Insects. Chipmunks eat various small insects. You can lure them with wildflowers and grass so that chipmunks will be really appreciative for this;
- Water. Rodents can’t survive without the proper amount of drinking water. Sooner or later, they will be attracted to the bowl of water.
- Chipmunks also eat tiny birds and birds’ eggs. They don’t mind consuming frogs and snails as well. Even worms will be good for the chipmunk if there are no berries and nuts. And don’t forget that they love to chew furniture. They do not have preferences, but they can easily possibly find oak of the highest-quality and price that will be a delicious course to serve.
What chipmunks hate the most:
- The lack of leaves and garbage at your yard. Cleaning up your house means that rodents can’t hide anywhere.
- They will really appreciate it if you leave at least one big pile of old leaves;
- The lack of bushes in the garden. Rodents like to hide in berry bushes. They can use the bush as a temporary nestle;
- Daffodils and garlic are definitely among the most hateful things on earth for chipmunks. It’s like an old proverb says – one garlic a day, keeps a chipmunk far away. Ok, there is no such a proverb, but you may consider planting both of them in the garden;
- The lack of water. If you love to feed birds, keep their feeders off the ground, in some unreachable place for chipmunks.
How to Identify Whether You Have Chipmunks
It’s a tricky question. The first thing that comes to mind is to follow the furry creature that is running back and forth around your house and yard. Yet, sometimes they can be too ingenious to get caught.
Sooner or later, you will see the obvious signs of chipmunks in your yard or house. They will leave chewed fruits, flowers, and furniture. Take a good look under your feet. If there are holes in the ground, it is time to catch little rodents. The obvious signs are:
- Small footprints on the ground;
- Bites on the furniture;
- Holes in the lawn and in the walls;
- Shells of seeds stocked in piles;
- Chipmunk poop;
- Chewed fruits.
Getting Rid of Chipmunks
It sounds easier than it is. Chipmunks are smart and fast. Their small sizes give them an advantage as they may easily hide from anyone. There are numerous ways of how to catch a chipmunk. Here are my top favorites:
- There are natural repellents like hair clippings, for example. The smell of human beings scares away rodents. While you will get rid of chipmunks, nitrogen that your hair contains will serve a good deal, being a well-known fertilizer.
- Electronic repellents are non-toxic, they spray water and spread ultrasonic pulses that scare animals away from the lawn.
- Liquid repellents. As for the liquid repellents, they can be toxic and non-toxic, so the choice is yours. Spray them on the specific areas in the yard.
Related Post: Most Effective Chipmunk Repellents Reviewed.
- DIY repellents. You may do the homemade version by mixing cayenne pepper and water together. Add a tablespoon of olive oil inside, and shake it before you apply the substance.
- And my favorites are dry repellents. Their action lasts longer. They will prevent rodents from getting inside your house, and you can actually put them anywhere.
- Chipmunk Traps. We have already discussed with you what chipmunks love to eat. Now, when you have perfect bait, you can arrange a self-made trap or buy one from the local store. The trap is considered to be the humane way to get rid of rodents. You don’t have to kill them. Once they are trapped, take them far away from your house and release them.
- Poisons. A poison for chipmunks can be bought at the store or made at home. I prefer to use poison that is specially developed by professionals. This way, you will not accidentally do yourself harm and will have some guarantees of quality. You have to check out all the places with the poison. I do not recommend this method if you have chipmunks in the walls. They may simply die in there, and it will be impossible to get rid of them.
- Exclusion. This is one of the oldest methods that you can choose. Seal all the holes in the walls and cut the access to the wires and gas pipes. I also suggest making sure that all your TV lines, vents, and electricity cables are hidden and unreachable for rodents. Check all the rain gutter downspouts, by pumping the water inside. Chipmunks love to nestle there. After that, cover them or secure them with the DIY fence, rodents can’t climb.
- Shooting. This is another option on the list. However, I don’t recommend you doing it. It is legal to hunt chipmunks in every state, in case you are wondering. You have to be a good shooter and use an air rifle or 22 caliber rifle. At the same time, you have to check out whether it is legal to shoot a firearm in the place where you live.
It is easier to prevent something than to deal with consequences. So, even if you don’t have chipmunks at home, I still recommend following the next steps:
- The L-shaped footers around your house, porch, and sidewalk will cut the way for chipmunks;
- You have to get rid of all the small rocks and wood on your lawn. Do not leave hiding spots for rodents;
- If you have enough money and time, you can surround your territory with the gravel border free of plants;
- Plant small bulbs of flowers under the wire or in a plastic container, like a cage, so that chipmunk wouldn’t be able to dig it through;
- Don’t forget to plant daffodils among other flowers to scare the rodents away;
Cut the trees whenever they are reaching your house. Chipmunks can easily climb them, and nestle at the top of your house;
- Keep bird seeds unreachable for rodents, and if you can, avoid keeping food outdoors.
1. How Many Chipmunks Live Together?
While these rodents are not exactly the friendliest ones in the animal kingdom, they can still peacefully coexist with each other. Sometimes chipmunks even create a colony of some kind. It includes up to 10 members. During their mating season, they interact with each other more than during the rest of the year. On average, only one rodent lives in a burrow, except for when the mother takes care of her small children.
2. When Do Chipmunks Come Out of Hibernation?
Everything depends on the climate chipmunks live in. In the Northern states, rodents hibernate from late October to the middle of March. In the central part of the USA, chipmunks can go to hibernation only in winter. They do not sleep during the whole three months actually, they wake up each several days to feed, raise the temperature of their bodies, etc.
3. Can Chipmunks Cause Damage?
Chipmunks may look adorable and tiny to cause any damage. And this is what many people say when the first chipmunk appears in their yard. If you also face this problem, believe me, after some time, you will call me asking to get rid of chipmunks in your yard! The damage they may cause:
- The holes they make around the lawn can damage the foundation of the house, sidewalks, barns, and so on;
- Their teeth are long and require lots of chewing. Once they are close to the furniture, you can say goodbye to it;
- Chipmunks may climb into the holes at the walls and get to the wires. You probably can imagine what may happen after they chew them;
- These creatures can carry various diseases on teeth. Have you ever heard of the plague? What about other deadly viruses?;
- They can mess with the flower bulbs that you’ve recently planted;
- These animals are capable of eating the entire harvest for which you were waiting so eagerly.
4. What Are Common Methods of Chipmunk Control?
The first thing you need to do is to keep chipmunks far from your house. You can use repellents, traps and fences to protect your home. Make sure that all the hardware is unreachable to rodents. Use baits to attract chipmunks to a specific spot and trap them. According to the law, you can’t release these animals near yours or your neighbor’s house. You have to take the cage at least 1 mile away from houses before you release the creature.
If you can’t deal with chipmunks yourself, I recommend you to call professionals. They will get rid of rodents for you. There are local control services you may contact.
5. How to Seal a Chipmunk Hole?
There are numerous ways to seal chipmunk holes. All of them can be made even by amateurs, free of charge. Here are my 3 favorite recipes on how to get rid of chipmunk tunnels:
- You have to cover all the holes in the lawn. Search for small ones. You need to search for holes under rocks as well;
- Push dirt into the holes to seal them temporarily. You can use soil to pack chipmunks nestles with it. Do it with each hole you see in your yard;
- Put gravel above the hole. Thus, rodents will not be able to dig through it. I suggest mixing gravel and soil for a better effect;
- The fence is always a great idea. But this time, make sure that it is at least 8 inches deep into the ground, so chipmunks will not be able to dig under it;
- Seal holes in the walls. This is actually one of the primeval things you have to do. Make sure that there are no holes left in the building.
DIY Recipes on How to Keep Chipmunks Out of Garden?
We have already discussed numerous ways of how to fight against rodents. Now let’s discuss how not to let them settle down in your yard or at the house. Here is the list of most hateful smells for chipmunks:
- The smell of humans scares them away. I suggest you use your hair or clothes with your smell when fighting the chipmunks;
- The urine of foxes, dogs, or other predators will definitely force them to stay away from your yard;
Cinnamon, peppermint, eucalyptus, citrus, and garlic are also on the list.
Can Chipmunks Ruin the House?
If you have noticed chipmunks digging holes around foundation, it is a sign that you have to act fast. There are two types of holes that chipmunks dig: the smaller one is for summer, the deeper one is for winter. Both of them are not wide in diameter, as the rodent itself is not that big. Although chipmunks look rather adorable and harmless, holes must be sealed immediately. Chipmunks may cause damage to the whole structure. The more they dig holes and chew the wood and wires, the bigger damage they cause.
If you are worried about the safety of you and your family, you need to take measures immediately. I advise you to put a fence around the foundation of the house. You don’t have to wait until chipmunks appear. Find out whether you live in the area of rodents’ habitat, and take preventive measures before it is too late.
Do Mothballs Work on Chipmunks?
In numerous cases, mothballs help to get rid of not only chipmunks but squirrels and other rodents. The naphthalene in mothballs has an intense odor that chipmunks can’t stand. As they have a good sense of smell, they can feel mothballs from afar and will keep the distance. However, I don’t recommend using mothballs. Naphthalene is a chemical that may be dangerous for animals and humans. It may cause nausea, dizziness, liver diseases, and stomach problems. You have to keep away mothballs from ventilation and far away from children and pets. If you have bought the pack, you need to read instructions carefully, as there is a difference between mothballs.
Top 6 Chipmunk Removal Products
With the first evidence of chipmunks in house, I recommend you take measures. Here are my most bellowed and trusted products. There are many more of them, and if you have found something that is missing, you can make your suggestions in the comments.
1. Kensizer Small Chipmunk Trap – the Best Humane Chipmunk Deterrent
Small Chipmunk Trap by Kensizer is one of the leaders among humane traps for chipmunks. It does not kill rodents after they are trapped. Once the animal touches the bait, the cage is locked down. The size of the product is 10.5 x 5.5 x 4.5 inches. In case you need more length or height, there is a large choice of options at the store. Kensizer developers produce live traps and are incredibly popular on the market.
The trap is made from Aluminum. It is lightweight. After the chipmunk got trapped, you have to remove it from the trap somewhere far from your house and use the cage again. It is easily washable. The mechanism in the cage is sensible.
2. Intruder 16525 The Better Rodentrap – the Leader Among Snap Traps that Eradicate Chipmunks
The 16525 The Better Rodentrap from Intruder is a snap trap that kills chipmunks in a clean and fast way. The trap is made of stainless steel of high quality. It has a powerful trigger mechanism that immediately closes the trap, once the rodent is inside. All you need is to find the perfect bait, like seeds or nuts.
It is a reusable product. After you get rid of one chipmunk, you can clean the trap, put another bait inside, and wait for the next chipmunk to get in. The rodent suffocates inside, without leaving blood traces. After you notice the first signs of chipmunk infestation, you may order one trap. If there are more rodents in your house, you can buy several of them.
3. JT Eaton 166004 709-PN Bait Block Rodenticide Anticoagulant Bait – the Deadliest Poison to Eliminate Chipmunks
The 709-PN Bait Block Rodenticide Anticoagulant Bait made by J T Eaton is a top-selling product. It has a flavor of peanut butter and attracts rodents with a good sense of smell. It also kills rats and mice, so if you have them, this poison should be spread in places visited the most by the rodents. Make sure that there are no holes in the walls, or you will have dead animals trapped inside.
There are 144 blocks of rodenticide in the pack. Each weighs 1 ounce. Even one block can kill a small chipmunk. There is an expiration date of 1 year. You have to check it before ordering the product.
4. Rugged Ranch the Chipmunkinator Trap – Live Chipmunk Removal Option
If you don’t want to kill chipmunk in your yard, there is a trap from Rugged Ranch. It can catch over 20 of rodents at one time. There is a 2-door entry for animals to come in, but it is impossible for them to go out.
The trap is made of solid materials. It is reusable and does not contain chemicals. You can use Chipmunkinator Trap in your yard and at the house.
5. Plantskydd Animal Repellent – Organic Formula to Fill Chipmunk Holes
This Animal Repellent by Plantskydd scares away even big animals, like moose and deer, elk, and numerous other herbivores. At the same time, it does not destroy your plants. This repellent works on 1 750 square feet territory. There are no animal parts inside, only 100 percent dried blood.
The repellent was created in the USA. There is a guarantee period. It does not contain any harmful chemicals.
6. Thanos 8X Solar Sonic Repellent Spikes Traps – the Helpful Organic Chipmunk Repellent
If you want a humane way to get rid of chipmunks, 8X Solar Sonic Repellent Spikes Traps by Thanos is your choice. It gets rid of multiple rodents without killing them. The device is charged by solar energy. All it needs is 4 hours under the sun, and it will work for 5 days in a row.
The product covers a diameter of 40 feet. If you have an acre of land, you will need 12 solar repellers. The pack includes 8, but you may not need to cover such a large area. There is a guarantee that offers money back if the reseller doesn`t show results in 60 days.
Pick Your Ideal Option
You don’t have to decide straight away which measure is the best for you. Some people prefer to scare chipmunks away, others start a hunting season with a rifle. I gathered the most beneficial products on the list above and shared all my tips and tricks with you. If you want to try out several recipes and products, you can do this.
Those readers who have already followed my advice or used the products I recommended, please write your honest opinions about them. Did you like them? Were they helpful? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
- Eastern Chipmunk (Indiana Department of Natural Resources):
- Eastern Gray Squirrel(North Carolina Wildlife):
- Diseases directly transmitted by rodents (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):
- Mice, Voles, Chipmunks, and Moles (College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources):
- Mothballs – Regulation, Proper Uses and Alternatives (National Pesticide Information Center):
- 1 Everything You Need to Know About Chipmunks
- 2 FAQ
- 3 DIY Recipes on How to Keep Chipmunks Out of Garden?
- 4 Top 6 Chipmunk Removal Products
- 4.1 1. Kensizer Small Chipmunk Trap – the Best Humane Chipmunk Deterrent
- 4.2 2. Intruder 16525 The Better Rodentrap – the Leader Among Snap Traps that Eradicate Chipmunks
- 4.3 3. JT Eaton 166004 709-PN Bait Block Rodenticide Anticoagulant Bait – the Deadliest Poison to Eliminate Chipmunks
- 4.4 4. Rugged Ranch the Chipmunkinator Trap – Live Chipmunk Removal Option
- 4.5 5. Plantskydd Animal Repellent – Organic Formula to Fill Chipmunk Holes
- 4.6 6. Thanos 8X Solar Sonic Repellent Spikes Traps – the Helpful Organic Chipmunk Repellent
- 5 Pick Your Ideal Option