We look at the cute and mischievous chipmunks and how you can eliminate or discourage them.
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We can all agree that chipmunks look adorable. Who doesn’t love to watch these precious little furry critters scampering around, from their chirping sound to their feather boa-like tails and fat cheeks?
While chipmunks aren’t likely to cause significant damage to your property, they can dig up your gardens and harvest your fruits and nuts. Their burrowing can cause damage to patios, foundations, and stairs.
We take a closer look into chipmunks. What are they? What do they eat? Are they dangerous or not? And why might you want to get rid?
What is a Chipmunk?
Chipmunks are often confused with tree squirrels. They are ground-dwelling rodents who live in forested, wooded habitats. Untrained eyes may not see the difference. Squirrels and chipmunks may look similar, but they are not.
15 Amazon Gift Ideas For Every DIY Enthusiast The 5 Best Apartment Vacuums How to make your silverware drawer organizer The Homeowner’s Guide to No Mow MayChipmunks are different from squirrels. They have tan-to-reddish brown coats with five dark stripes running down the back and heads. Their bushy tails are also upright, and they are a lot smaller. Average chipmunks are approximately five to six inches long; squirrels measure 11 to 13 inches.
What do Chipmunks eat?
Chipmunks can eat anything. They will eat vegetables, fruits, roots, bulbs, nuts, bugs, snails, and bird eggs. After filling their faces with food, they take it home to their caves, where it is stored for winter.
Chipmunks: Why are they a problem?
They are more of a nuisance than a problem. North American chipmunks pose the most significant issue for homeowners because they tunnel under walkways, steps, patios, and foundations.
Chipmunks are another common problem. They dig through vegetable gardens and pull out plants while foraging for food. They can also steal bird seeds from feeders, just like squirrels.
Are Chipmunks Dangerous?
The chipmunk isn’t aggressive. Chipmunks are quick and agile and can evade predators by quickly darting into holes or scaling up trees.
A chipmunk can defend itself against being cornered by biting or scratching its way to freedom. If a chipmunk ever bites you, clean it immediately and apply an antibiotic cream to the area. If you notice signs of infection, get medical attention directly.
The risk of spreading infectious diseases is low for chipmunks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified viruses and bacteria that chipmunks transmit. These include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Colorado Tick Fever. It is not known that chipmunks can transmit rabies.
Warning: Never hand-feed a chipmunk. You’re asking for trouble if you do.
How to Get Rid of Chipmunks Outside
There are many humane ways to deal with chipmunk problems. These are some valuable tips to help you repel and kill chipmunks.
Spray a mixture of cayenne pepper with water.
An ultrasonic zapper is recommended. The vibrations send chipmunks running.
You can plant toxic daffodils, onions, hyacinths, and marigolds. The scent is a detriment to chipmunks.
Non-edible bulbs can be soaked in thiram, a fungicide that repels all rodents.
Mothballs can be scattered around your basement, garage, and shed. If ingested, mothballs can be fatal, so keep them away from pets and children.
Hars CDs, beach balls, and pie tins in trees to scare chipmunks away.
A humane trap can be used to catch chipmunks.
Drop an aluminum phosphide tablet into a burrow if allowed in your state. They will react with the soil and create a toxic gas called phosphine that can be used to kill rodents. (Please see note below.)
Gas cartridges are available in hardware and garden shops. They produce carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide gas tunnels and kill chipmunks through asphyxiation. (See below.)
If they are legal, you can kill them with a small gauge shotgun or a. 22-caliber rifle with birdshot. If you are not familiar with firearms, don’t attempt this. According to the Firearm Industry Trade Association, don’t fire unless you are confident about what your shot will do. You must also ensure that your bullet does not cause injury to anyone or anything other than your target.
Note: Fumigants can cause respiratory problems in pets and humans. Gas cartridges can ignite and start fires and harm structures or buildings.
How to get rid of chipmunks indoors
It’s most likely an accident that a chipmunk gets into your home. These steps will help you get rid of them.
Separate cats and dogs in a room or crate.
Close all interior doors
Doors and windows that open to the outside.
Wait for the chipmunks to escape.
Try this instead if that fails:
To lure it, please set up a trap using sunflower seeds, pumpkins, raisins, cereals, or nuts.
Allow the chipmunk to return to the wild.
How to Get Rid Of Chipmunk Tunnels
We’ve seen that chipmunks store their food underground in burrows. There are two types: shallow summer and winter tunnels that can be deeper (up to 30 feet).
Ed Spicer, Pest Strategies, says that because these tunnels are connected in a network, many holes may be scattered around your yard. These tunnels are not only ugly but can also cause damage to your house, garage, or storage shed over time.
Here are some tips to plug your chipmunk burrows.
If you don’t remove the chipmunks, filling up burrows will be futile. They will only make more.
Locate tunnel entrances. You will find holes between walls, foundations, and woodpiles that are two to three inches wide.
Grab a spade, and fill the holes with dirt. A predator could be lurking if there are signs such as urine and cat feces.
Note: Sand can be capped with quick-dry concrete to make it more effective for walls and foundations. Cover the holes with 2 to 3 inches of topsoil after you have stuffed them. Ground cover will then grow back.
If all else fails, you may need to hire a professional exterminator.
How to Deter Chipmunks
You can use these simple tricks to discourage chipmunks indoors or out:
To seal the entry points around your home, use caulk.
Clear away dead trees, stumps, rocks, piles, and brush around the house, garage, or other buildings.
Place bulbs and seeds beneath a wire screen or plastic screen.
To stop chipmunks from digging under foundations, sidewalks, and porches, install L-shaped footers (mesh barrier).
Place bird feeders at a minimum of 15 feet from your home.