How To Get Rid Of Chipmunks And Keep Them Away From Your Property

Chipmunks are the most destructive rodents you’ll ever encounter, and they’re also one of the cutest. The iconic critter of North America and Asia is this little bundle of fur that will steal away your prized garden plants in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. They avoid humans, though with their lightning-fast running speeds, but they can destabilize the foundation of your home by digging burrows underground, which you may not even know about!

Fortunately, there are several ways to get rid of the critters off your property. Start by employing simple deterrents. If these are not enough, you can move on to more stringent but humane solutions. Here are the strategies to how you can get rid of chipmunks on your property.

How To Remove Chipmunks In Your House

a chipmunk is sneaking up on the gravel path in the yard

Don’t let rodents and other pests destroy your yard and foundation. The best way to ward off infestations is by preventing them before they start. There are a few ways to get rid of the chipmunks who visit your yard.

Keep Pet And Bird Food Away

One thing that may be attracting chipmunks to your property is an abundant food source. Chipmunks like eating all types of things, which means you can’t leave any bowls outside. If you leave your pet food outside, this attracts chipmunks looking for a protein-filled meal, as well as unwanted pests.

Sealable food storage containers can greatly reduce the number of wildlife attracted to your property, and a scheduled feeding time for pets means less uneaten food that would otherwise be an attraction. Remove the bowl after a certain amount of time to reduce other animals looking for an easy meal.

If you’re attempting to keep chipmunks away from your property, a bird feeder is just as much an issue. Squirrel-proofing, your feeder, will help discourage the little critters. Place the feeder at least seven feet away from any potential areas where chipmunks may be able to climb down or jump onto the container.

Prune And Clean Up Trees And Bushes

To deter chipmunks from moving near your home, trim trees and bushes at least once a month. Any branches or hedges touching your home should be trimmed back. This will make it harder for chipmunks to climb to the roof of your house, and they will find it more difficult to access your property in general.

To discourage chipmunks, the bottom layer of bushes should be trimmed to prevent them from burrowing. Once they feel they can no longer hide their nest under shrubs, they may move on to a safer location.

Install An L-shaped Footer Under The Deck, Walkway, Or Patio

The Humane Society recommends that homeowners install an L-shaped footer near their home to deter rodents from burrowing beneath the property. It can also be used in a garden as well as outdoors. The wire mesh fence is strung out into an “L” shape on the ground or below ground level.

Remove Wood Piles To Deter Critters

Living in heavily wooded areas means that it’s only natural to find all sorts of creatures on your property, but some circumstances make for a too-easy entrance. For instance, if you provide them with many hiding spaces within your own yard, they will almost always have trouble staying away from your home.

One thing homeowners do as temperatures drop is leave logs and stumps on the ground. These clusters are perfect for little critters like chipmunks to burrow under, especially in preparation for hibernation.

Buildings such as cellars, garages, and storage sheds can hide the piles of wood, limiting chipmunk populations. Better still is storing them in a plastic sealable bin, as doing so keeps them dry. This technique also prevents other pests, such as spiders and field mice, from making your home their sanctuary.

Plant Bulbs Inside Wire Cages

If chipmunks keep getting to your garden, take action by planting bulbs in either wire cages or planting cubes. This should help you stop chipmunks from eating the bulbs and deter them from entering your garden.

One option is to seek out plants that are less appealing to chipmunks and squirrels. One list of “unpopular” plants includes daffodils, alliums, scilla, hyacinths, Muscari bulb foliage, and leaves of the chionodoxa, Galanthus leucojum.

Pepper Your Plants

Spray hot sauce or pepper spray – carefully! — around the base of plants to keep chipmunks away. Sprinkling blood meal or even commercial deer repellent might be an alternative solution if you’re concerned about pollinators being affected by capsaicin from cayenne peppers.

Try trapping

Humane traps are a safe way to catch chipmunks and then release them away from your home. Consider one- or two-door traps—typically 10 to 20 inches long—for chipmunks (one-door traps are typically simpler and more common with professionals), and wear gloves when setting the trap, as any human scent will spook them.

Place traps in prime rodent territory: your attic, garden shed, along the fence and walls near the foundation. Peanut, Sunflower seeds, and peanut butter make good bait for traps, placing them directly on the trigger plate. Set the trap according to instructions and reset it as often as needed.

Note: Remember to check your city’s laws on trapping and relocating wild animals before using traps to get rid of chipmunks running loose in your yard.

Use A Combination Of Chipmunk Repellents

two chipmunks whispering something to each other in the garden

Chipmunk repellents fall into four main categories, which can be used together and for different purposes:

Find Natural Repellants

When looking for ways to get rid of chipmunks, take steps that don’t involve synthetic repellent. Mothballs acts as a natural deterrent and can be used in places like your yard, garden, and even next to the holes they’re using.

Alternatively, you can ask your hairdresser for clippings and scatter them around your garden beds. The human-scented hair will keep chipmunks and other small animals away as you grow happy, healthy plants.

Electronic Repellents

An electronic repellent system uses ultrasonic pulses or sprays of water to get rid of chipmunks as well as deer, raccoons, rabbits, and squirrels that may be drawn to your lawn. A high-quality, non-toxic, and top-rated electronic pest repeller costs between $20 and $30. It can cover 900 to 1,200 square feet via a safe, consistent power source: typically an AC 110 volt plug outlet or AA batteries. However, keep in mind that sound waves and water sprays won’t dislodge chipmunk nests and burrows underground.

Liquid Repellents

Consider using a non-toxic commercial product, like Rodent Defense Spray, or making your own DIY solution with one quart of water boiled with two tablespoons of cayenne and cooled to room temperature. When it is cooled, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Spray on infested areas directly in a labeled spray bottle. Shake before spraying. Reapplication and patience are necessary because it may take a while (and favorable weather) for chipmunks to come into contact with the distasteful stuff.

Fall garden tip: Spray liquid repellent on vulnerable tulip bulbs before planting to protect them from chipmunks.

Dry Repellents

Chipmunks are always looking for a moist area with easy access. To keep them away from your property, use dry products instead of liquid repellents. That way, they will not be tempted to burrow in the soil near your home or garden and make it their residence because you just installed a granular repellant that keeps them out!

You can use products like ShakeAway that don’t kill chipmunks if you want to keep them away (near house foundations, around flowerbeds, and along garden paths). Or sprinkle some cayenne pepper on affected areas.

Escort Invaders Out

Chipmunks will sometimes be smart enough to find their way inside your house; if one has already done so, you shouldn’t panic. The chipmunk will probably be more frightened than you during this whole ordeal. Close all interior doors so that the animal feels cornered. Open all exterior doors and windows to create easy access for the animal to come out of your home. Then, use a blanket to shooing the chipmunk out.

Bring In A “predator”

Keep chipmunks away by using a predator decoy like a motion-activated owl. You can repel chipmunks with a spray made from the urine of predator animals like cats and foxes. The smell will convince the chipmunks that they are in danger — and they’ll stay away.

What Causes Chipmunks?

the chipmunk is monitoring the state of the backyard while standing on a rock

Chipmunks are a common sight on campsites and picnic areas, but they can also be found in suburban and rural yards. Chipmunks are attracted by food sources including but not limited to:

  • Mushrooms
  • Birdseed
  • Pet food
  • Flower bulbs
  • Corn and other grains
  • Seeds from plants
  • Acorns and other nuts
  • Caterpillars and other insects
  • Many types of human food
  • Bark (typically from shrubs)
  • Carrion (less commonly)

Chipmunks dig tunnels that measure as much as 30 feet in length. They use these tunnels for a variety of activities, including making nests or rearing offspring.

It is uncommon to observe large numbers of chipmunks inhabiting an area. It is possible to find up to 20 in a garden, but these creatures are territorial and will not tolerate competition for space.

Chipmunks typically bear 4-10 babies per year but must move out to find their own nest at 10 weeks from birth. If there is insufficient space nearby to live, they must find new homes and habitats elsewhere.

Even though it may seem like your problem with chipmunks has been solved during the cold season, make sure to keep up with all protective measures. Chipmunks are most active in mid-fall and early spring when they emerge from their burrows and resume foraging food.

A Chipmunk Looks Like

the appearance of a chipmunk's face with chubby cheeks after eating seeds

The chipmunk is a small rodent with a noticeable coat from a blend of brown and tan black stripes, which vary in shade, and four white stripes on the back. When you look at it closely, you can actually see five smaller up-close black stripes on its face.

The chipmunk is a creature known for burrowing and exploring on the ground. As a result, it causes major problems for many farmers. Here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with these animals.

Still, A Little Outsiders Take

Chipmunks can often be found on four legs but will stand upright when at rest. They have two forepaws with which they can hold food and grind it against their sharp teeth.

Chipmunks are small family members of squirrels and resemble them in size ( 8-10 inches). They keep their tails straight while on the run and hide food while looking for food in cheek pouches.

They Can Come To Visit

Chipmunks do not live in our homes. They are part of nature. But ventilation shafts, holes in basements, open pipes can look attractive to small rodents. Through these access points into the house, the creatures occasionally penetrate and mess up!

Where Do The Chipmunks Live?

Chipmunk is unpretentious about their habitat as well as the food that they need. They can be seen in gardens and parks, on smooth lawns, and in dense forests. Even so, extensive vegetation still attracts these creatures to your yard.

Chipmunks live in shrubs and low trees, close to natural shelters such as fallen logs or piles of stones. It is impossible to meet rodents only in deserts or mountain forests.

Chipmunks Are Architects

Chipmunks live in deep and long burrows but are very careful to conceal the entrance with leaves and junk. These cunning architects make several entrances, dividing the space into living quarters and food storage areas.

They Are Beautiful Climbers

Do not be surprised if you see a chipmunk climbing the tree. They’re normally lazy, but they’ve got terrific balance. If your oak or ash is appealing to them for food or an escape from the enemy, then things will only get worse as your yard becomes their playground and a two-story hotel instead of yours.

Thrifty Hosts

Chipmunks are not so easy to starve. They can store up to 9 gallons of food in their burrow, and they will last a long time before the stores get low–that’s why we shouldn’t give them too much time for stocking up!

Hot Season

The animals are most active in March and April, as well as July and August. The gestation period lasts 1 month, and there can be a litter of 2-8 individuals. As a result of prolific reproduction, the population will grow in geometric progression.

Chipmunks Fall Into Hibernation?

Yes, chipmunks hibernate. But not like bears. Every couple of days during their wintering, a chipmunk wakes up to gorge: they don’t have as much fat stored beneath the skin. Therefore, on the eve of winter, rodents begin to store more food per night.

Is It Easy To Catch A Chipmunk?

It is unlikely that this can be done without special traps. These rodents are very careful and nimble. They often climb the heights to look around. Seeing the danger, the chipmunk starts to run away and notify a relative of the impending future with loud squeaks. In nature, our heroes can only be caught by experienced hunters like hawks, weasels, snakes, cats, and some dog breeds.

Chipmunks Against Gophers

These animals are very similar in their features, but they have separate characteristics. A gopher is generally longer than a chipmunk, and it has black-and-white stripes that stretch across the whole head: these strips do not emanate from the back of the head as with the chipmunk.

Signs You Have A Chipmunk Problem

the appearance of a chipmunk sitting immodestly on a wooden deck

Chipmunks are often quick and quiet, making them difficult to spot. If you have a problem with chipmunks in your yard, it can be hard to know that they’re there. Here’s how you can identify a chipmunk infestation.

Signs Of Damage In The Garden Or Flower Beds

You might notice that something has been eating your plants, flowers, and fruits. Most of the time, this is caused by a chipmunk problem. Oftentimes, chipmunks like to burrow in gardens and flower beds, so keep an eye out for damage to your garden.

Tiny Footprints In The Yard

When you notice that you may have a chipmunk problem, keep an eye out for prints in the dirt. Chipmunks leave four toes on the front feet and five toes on their hind feet when they are traversing about.

Cracked Sidewalks And Issues With The House Foundation

It might be that chipmunks are excavating tunnels underneath your property. If you spot possible evidence of chipmunks tunneling around your home, you’ll need to take care of a pest problem asap to prevent structural damage.

A High-pitched Chirping Sound

Think you have a chipmunk in your home? Listen out for high-pitched chirping sounds that sound like “chip chip.” If you find them indoors, make escaping easier for them. Trust us – they don’t want to be inside more than we want them to be there!

Common Type Of Chipmunks

Eastern Chipmunk

eastern chipmunk sunbathing on a mossy rock

Eastern Chipmunks are small rodents that live in North America. It is also known as the striped chipmunk and sometimes called “chipmunk.” Its habitat ranges from southern Canada to northern Florida, with individual populations living among human dwellings in New York City’s Central Park. They are omnivorous, eating both plants and insects. The Eastern Chipmunk has brown fur on its back, which turns white on its stomach. The Eastern chipmunks’ main predators are hawks, owls, coyotes, dogs, and cats.

Siberian Chipmunk

siberian chipmunk standing on a rock snacking on seeds

The Siberian chipmunk, who is not native to the North American continent but can be found in central Russia and China as well, appears across northern Asia from Korea all the way up into Japan. It’s also known for being imported from South Korea when it was just considered an exotic pet that later grew out of its novelty appeal and became more commonly seen outside of its original habitat, such as in Europe.

Least Chipmunk

least chipmunk was running away and jumping as if he was flying while biting a nut in his mouth

The least chipmunk, the smallest species of chipmunks, and it’s also one of the most widespread. It can be found in North America from Alaska to northern Mexico and as far east as Ontario. They have a short tail that they use for balance when climbing trees, and their fur is usually light brown or gray with black stripes on their face.

Yellow Pine Chipmunk

yellow pine chipmunk on a pine standing tall while looking at the garden

An order of animals known as Rodentia, in the family Sciuridae is referred to as the yellow-pine chipmunk. It has evolved to live most often among brushy areas. Though it can be found at elevations up to 2,900 meters above sea level in California’s Sierra Nevada range, where there are also forests with pine trees, this rodent typically lives around 900 feet below that.

Townsends Chipmunk

townsends chipmunk clutching dry wood in the backyard

The Townsend’s chipmunk is a rodent species in the squirrel family and lives in forests along North America’s Pacific Northwest. The origin of its name comes from John Kirk, an American ornithologist who discovered it nearly 200 years ago.

Colorado Chipmunk

the colorado chipmunk is looking at you while basking in the sun

Colorado chipmunk is an adorable and small creature that lives in Colorado. These creatures are tough to spot because they live deep within the forests of their homes, but some people have been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of one!

Cliff Chipmunk

cliff chipmunk perched on a rock cliff

The cliff chipmunk is a bushy-tailed squirrel typically found in the Western United States and Mexico. Their agility allows them to climb cliffs like their own backyard! These little guys are quite skilled in climbing, often seen scaling slopes near Pinyon juniper woodlands or Cliffsides.

Red Tailed Chipmunk

the red tailed chipmunk is waiting for the signal to run fast

The red-tailed chipmunk is a small, furry creature who lives in the wilds of North America. They are known for their chirping sound when threatened or startled and have large cheek pouches that store food to eat later on!

Allens Chipmunk

allens chipmunk creeping on the dry grass around the lawn

Allen’s chipmunk is a cute and lovable creature of the animal world. This species is native to the Western USA, where it can be found in California, Nevada & Oregon – being common only in Sierra Nevadas. Like other small creatures, Allen’s chipmunks are omnivores too!

Hopi Chipmunk

hopi chipmunk perched on a rock in the sun

Hopi chipmunk, Neotamias Rufus, is a small animal found in Colorado and its surrounding areas. This animal prefers bare or vegetated rocky substrate that contains juniper and pinyon pine trees; these are usually located at elevations of 1,290 to 2,700 meters. They live mainly on sage patches (vegetation). Still, They can also be seen living among the larger vegetation if not enough food sources exist nearby, such as juniper/pine patches where they eat seeds primarily from fruit-bearing plants like pinion pine nuts.

FAQs

Why Do Chipmunks Dig In Potted Plants?

Chipmunks enjoy digging in garden planters to get at bulbs and other tender new plants. Create space between the pots and buildings or structures so they cannot hide. Chipmunks like running from hiding spot to hiding spot, so they need to have plenty of room as their predators will not be able to find them.

Do Chipmunks Carry Diseases?

Chipmunks carry some diseases, including rabies, plague, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Colorado tick fever.

Do Chipmunks Bite?

Chipmunks are not aggressive, but they have been known to bite humans.

Can Cats Catch Or Kill Chipmunks?

There are many reports of pet cats in the area catching and killing chipmunks from around a yard. Chipmunks are fast, but cats are faster. If you have a cat that’s adept at hunting, it may help minimize your chipmunk problem.

How Do You Spot Chipmunk Tunnels?

Chipmunks usually live in burrows, which they rarely leave. These entrances are hidden under or next to woodpiles, brush, plantings, large rocks, or structures. They also remove displaced soil from the area and often relocate tunnels to be hard to find.

The Bottom Line

I hope you find the answer to your problem. In particular, we recommend a humane way of removing them from your property. Keep in mind that they are already part of the ecosystem, and it might provoke a lawsuit if something bad happens to chipmunks. Share your experience of how you got rid of chipmunks, and it might help another reader in the future.

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