Chipmunk invasion is always a serious test that requires patience, diligence and proper knowledge of the subject from the victim. We believe that the best weapon in this case is competent prevention. But those of you who still meet this fluffy creature on your site do not need to despair. We will tell you which traps, baits and repellents are really effective against chipmunks.
What does a chipmunk look like: important facts about the life and behavior of a rodent
So, a chipmunk is a small rodent with a recognizable brown coat (from chocolate to reddish shades), as well as 5 black and 2 white stripes on the back. If you look closely, you can see small stripes on the face of the animal. Our hero loves to dig in the ground a little more than other rodents. He is ready to dig through the entire garden to find his favorite food. This makes the chipmunk one of the main enemies of the modern farmer. Here are the facts you need to know about this species in order to successfully fight it!
- A few more external signs. Chipmunks are more likely to walk on all fours, but when resting, they usually stand upright. They are fluent in a pair of front paws: they can hold food in them and grind it with their sharp teeth. Most of all, chipmunks resemble small squirrels ranging in size from 8 to 10 inches (however, these are animals from the same family). On the run, they keep their tail straight, and while searching for food, they hide food in small cheek pouches.
- They can come visit. Chipmunks do not live in human houses, their territory is nature. But ventilation shafts, holes in basements, open pipes can look attractive to rodents. Through them, chipmunks occasionally penetrate dwellings and can cause trouble there!
- Where do chipmunks live? Chipmunks are unpretentious in choosing a habitat and searching for food. They can be found in gardens and parks, on smooth lawns and in dense forests. However, the vast vegetation still attracts these creatures. They love shrubs and low trees, as well as natural hiding places like fallen logs or piles of rocks. You cannot meet rodents only in deserts, mountain forests and in the northernmost states.
- Chipmunks are architects. Chipmunks live in long and deep burrows, and they cleverly mask the entrance to them with the help of leaves and debris. These are cunning architects: our heroes make several entrances to the “house” and divide it into rooms for living and storing food.
- They are excellent climbers. Don’t be surprised if you see a chipmunk in a tree. They are excellent climbers, although they are usually lazy. On an oak or ash tree, a chipmunk can be driven either by hunger or an escape from the enemy.
- Thrifty hosts. Chipmunks are not so easy to starve to death. We have already written about pouches behind the cheeks, and now we will talk about their “food storage”. Up to 9 gallons of food can be stored in the hole of one animal: this individual will last for a long time. So it’s better that they don’t have time to stock up on such a tasty “stash”.
- Hot season. The animals are most active during the periods of “mating games”: in March and April, and then in July and August. Pregnancy of the female lasts 1 month: the offspring can be from 2 to 8 individuals. By the way, in a year these prolific babies will begin to breed themselves! As a result, the population grows exponentially.
- Do Chipmunks go into hibernation? Yes, they winter. But not like brown bears. Every couple of days of its wintering, the chipmunk wakes up to refresh itself: it simply lacks a layer of subcutaneous fat. Therefore, on the eve of winter, rodents begin to store food more actively.
- Is it easy to catch a chipmunk? It is unlikely that this can be done without special traps. These rodents are very cautious and nimble. They often climb up hills to look around. Seeing the danger, the chipmunk takes off running and notifies the relatives of the impending disaster with loud squeaks. In nature, only such experienced hunters as hawks, weasels, snakes, cats and some breeds of dogs can catch our heroes.
- Chipmunks against gophers. These animals have very similar bodies. But gophers are still a little longer and they don’t have contrasting stripes on their heads at all: they are only on their backs. But in chipmunks, stripes stretch across the entire head.
Why are chipmunks dangerous for a person and his economy?
Chipmunks love to eat. They also dig a lot. Most of the conflicts between chipmunks and humans are connected with these qualities.
- They eat our plants. Chipmunks eat almost everything that grows in gardens and gardens: berries, seeds, fruits, flowers, herbs, roots, mushrooms, bulbs … and even bird eggs and small animals. They cannot be called a major problem for serious farmers, but rodents can definitely ruin a small garden.
- They dig too much. Traces of the presence of chipmunks disfigure lawns and beds. Rodents undermine seedlings and even damage foundations. Walls, stairs and decorative elements in the yard suffer from their too active digging. Of course, the chipmunk will not destroy the whole house, but these animals are capable of minor destruction.
- There are too many of them. Chipmunks, although they live alone, are not afraid of neighbors from among their relatives. More than 4 individuals with all their offspring can settle on one acre of land. Therefore, the problems mentioned above are intensified by their fertility and craving for dense living.
- economic harm. Chipmunks are classified by researcher David Williams as a low threat to large farms. But certain losses can be caused by the invasion of rodents on ordinary farms.
- Bites. Chipmunks almost never attack humans. But in a shock situation, this “squirrel brother” can bite a child, a pet, and even an adult. This usually happens when unsuccessful attempts to catch the little animal. In this case, the wound will be painful, and saliva is theoretically capable of carrying rabies.
How to protect yourself from chipmunks?
Let’s find out which methods of dealing with chipmunks are the most effective. We do not want to be guided by the advice of grandmothers and Internet users. Our portal relies only on articles by scientists and government experts.
Let’s start with prevention. How do we make sure our sites don’t even attract chipmunks? The Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management lists conventional fencing as the most effective containment method. Expert David Williams suggests using an inexpensive, fine-mesh mesh to cover crops, foundation cavities, pipes, and more.
Another connoisseur – Thomas G. Barnes, Extension Wildlife specialist also offers a democratic option with galvanized mesh:
“ Zinc mesh is one of the best fencing materials. Use canvas with 6mm holes and be sure to bury it 15-20cm deep to keep chipmunks from digging paths, digging in the garden or other important places .”
Be sure to think about the factors that can attract rodents to your territory. They, for example, really like bird feeders, even if they are hung on a tree. Open-access bowls of food for pets are also a dangerous bait. And it is better for the owners of ducks and chickens to sweep every single grain after the next feeding of the bird.
Analysts at the Missouri Department of Conservation write that the risk of chipmunks is increasing for homeowners in wooded areas and connoisseurs of garden decor. All those huge logs, rock gardens, and dense shrubs can be a good hiding place for pests. Experts summarize: the more spacious, cleaner and more well-groomed the yard, the less the chipmunk will like it.
Best Chipmunk Control Methods: Traps, Repellents, Poisons or Physical Extermination?
If you have not managed to protect the garden from chipmunks, then you need to ask yourself a few questions. Firstly, is it possible to limit ourselves to fences in important flower beds / beds and live peacefully with a rodent in the neighborhood? Secondly, does the appearance of 1-2 individuals threaten a major invasion or can they be caught and taken out? Thirdly, you need to find out if the shooting of rodents is allowed in your area.
After that, you need to track down the habitats of the bastards. The Internet Center for Wildlife portal suggests that in small gardens they often settle near residential and utility buildings. Moreover, you do not recognize the entrance to the hole by the mound of earth and dirt, as is the case with moles. Chipmunks skillfully disguise their “collars”, which rarely exceed 5 cm in diameter. Look for burrows near garages, stumps, piles, and weak spots in foundations. But for large lands and farms, these tips are inappropriate: a hole can be caught anywhere.
Scientists have strong doubts about the potential of repellents and fumigants: “ They are not recommended as none of them are known to be effective. Naphthalene moth balls, in particular, are not only ineffective, they contain toxic naphthalene, and the vapors are harmful to humans ,” zoologists say.
Almost all colleagues agree with them. Unless the Internet Center for Wildlife believes in the relative benefits of repellents. For example, flavor and aroma mixtures, they believe, can repel chipmunks from certain seeds and plants. But even here there will be no 100% result. Well, with naphthalene, experts say, not so good.
“ Naphthalene shavings can repel chipmunks from attics, summer houses, and storage areas when used heavily (1.0 to 1.2 kg/100 m2). Be careful, however, in treated buildings, as the smell can be too unpleasant and irritating for people or pets ,” writes David Williams.
All experts agree on one thing: chipmunks should not be poisoned. Such products do not have a license, because they can seriously harm people and animals.
Total : fences and traps are effective means. In countries like the US, chipmunks can also be shot, unless prohibited by state law.
Choosing the best baits and traps for chipmunks
In this section, we will learn how to make chipmunks traps with our hands, select the best baits for them, and look for the perfect traps ready to use.
The mechanisms of most of these devices are not very original. Experts consider humane cage-type traps and rat-type traps to be the best – although the latter can kill or maim too large individuals.
The American authors of the memo “Managing Chipmunk Problems in Kentucky” do not stand on ceremony with animals and recommend the use of steel traps or choker traps. They say that if you bury them at the entrance to the hole and sprinkle with earth, then even no bait is needed!
And the guys from Kentucky offer a medium-difficulty option for making a pumped trap with their own hands:
“A humane trap with a burrow entrance can be made from metal mesh. Take a 30×50 cm piece with 6 or 12 mm holes. Bend it so that a rectangular cage is formed. Press the edges together using spring rings. Cover one end of the trap with a net and build a door out of it, attaching one end at the top so that it can move freely. Bend the lower edge of the door so that when the door is closed, this edge goes into the ground by 5 cm. For best results, set the trap where the chipmunks have been seen.”
On the Internet, you can actually find dozens of different instructions for making homemade chipmunk traps. But experts do not confirm their high efficiency. Therefore, let’s turn to the certified options available in online stores.
Electronic trap for chipmunks and rodents – EcoSniper GH-190
The time has come for the most controversial and scandalous trap in our ranking. We are always skeptical about electronic pest control products. Many of them turn out to be too cheap products, and such “gadgets” have problems with certification. Therefore, we carefully study reviews and choose only the best models.
What can you say about this electronic “rodent killer”? Before us is a small plastic box with a compartment for bait, which kills mice and chipmunks with a powerful discharge of electricity. The developers call it “first time humane liquidation”.
The EcoSniper GH-190 trap comes with a 1.5 m wire and can also be powered by four batteries. You can count on 30 kills with one set of batteries. A special indicator will tell you about the prey, and it will be possible to throw away the corpse very easily and without direct contact with the skin.
We have a couple more complaints about this product. Suppose he works well at home … But the fight against chipmunks is most often carried out on the street. It is unlikely that the metal elements and the electric discharge system will respond well to rain and even fog! Secondly, the dimensions of the trap are not the largest … and they are not suitable for a fat chipmunk. In the end, unlike transparent and metal traps, here the bait is felt only by smell: the rodent will not see it with its eyes. All this reduces the possible effectiveness of the product.
So, in the comments to EcoSniper, there are a lot of positive comments from chipmunks haters. They say that at home the contraption works well. But there are also reasonable claims that the trap can kill a small puppy, a kitten, and a pet hamster. In addition, there is no intelligent mechanism that will show that the batteries in the device are low. Well, do not stick your fingers in there, honestly!
Price: check the market
Open plastic trap – SIBRTECH
At the end of the review of traps, we will also write about models like SIBRTECH 94125.
These rodent traps are easy to scatter throughout the site and provide a “breadth of coverage”. But the downside is that they are not always fatal to chipmunks. Their springs are not strong enough: the animal can simply cripple or crawl out from under the “jaws” on its own. So this is also a method, but the method is not the most humane and reasonable.
Whatever trap you use, you can’t do without a “treat”. What kind of bait to use in chipmunk traps?
Biologists answer specifically: Chipmunks will be attracted to a mixture of peanut butter with oatmeal, nuts and seeds. You can also add berries to taste!
Price: check the market – rub
Metal traps for chipmunks
But this is not a humane trap at all. But it is the cheapest of our list. The principle of operation here is simple – “trap”. Bend the stainless steel spring, place the bait and wait for the animal. If a chipmunk gets into these “jaws”, then the device will simply squeeze it with great force. The sellers promise that there will be no blood: the jaw will either suffocate the rodent or break its neck. After that, you will need to get rid of the corpse, rinse the trap and hunt further.
The most economical buyers will also be pleased with the fact that Intruder Rodentrap requires minimal doses of bait for chipmunks. Here is what such stingy gardeners write:
“I caught three chipmunks in just a few days. Very little peanut butter is needed in the very center of the trap. It works better than any other trap I’ve ever tried.”
“This trap is easy to set up. Already caught 4 chipmunks this year using peanut butter and sunflower seeds.”
An effective trap was recognized by 64% of buyers. Not too much, but not too little! Perhaps someone was embarrassed by the cruelty at work. And some buyers complained that their purchase soon broke: sometimes this happened for unknown reasons.
In general, this is a slightly outdated medium-efficiency trap. Yes, it works, but with Intruder you will definitely have to tinker!
Price: check the market
Cage trap for chipmunks
A classic for its type trap made of stainless wire mesh based on steel reinforcement. The trap is protected from corrosion and rust, and also has smaller gaps between the bars so that the animal has no chance of escaping. The trap has a very sensitive trigger and the flaps provide a chipmunk safe grip.
If the owner of this little thing decides to save the life of the rodent and move it to another area, then a safe carrying mechanism will help him. The chipmunk will not be able to scratch you and will not feel pain during transportation. By the way, in addition to our heroes, squirrels, rats, weasels and even larger mice are caught here.
Among more than 1500 customer reviews, we found comments from people who caught 23 and even 40 chipmunks in a season. Occasionally there were complaints about a specific defect in the product, but much more positive. In addition, people advise masking the trap with twigs and leaves, as well as checking the cage more often so as not to torment the trapped animal in a stressful situation.
Price: check the market
How to choose an effective chipmunk repellant?
We remember that repellents are not suitable as the main weapon against chipmunks. But some rare substances can still repel these animals from your home. Above, we gave a recipe from David Williams for using mothballs in attics, barns and other non-residential areas. Classic naphthalene moth balls are suitable for this . The main thing – remember about the dosage and do not harm the environment!
Rodent repellant – Rubit KYSH
Are there other means? You can try using pellets like Rubit SHOO Rodent Repellent . The description says that rodents perceive their smell as “the scent of predator urine” and run away in fear. Although for humans, the granules smell like “very tart mint.” We cannot confirm or deny the power of Shake Away scientifically. But about 50% of buyers called the product effective.
We did not find any other repellants against chipmunks in any normal online store.
Price: check the market
Live Catch Mouse Trap Humane No Touch Rodents Ground Squirrel Chipmunk Mice 2pk
This device is not as popular as the Havahart traps, but it has an interesting feature. The developers call their invention the “most humane” trap for squirrels, mice and chipmunks. Before us is a transparent tube made of soft plastic, the metal gates of which open only at the entrance. Then the rodent finds itself inside a trap from which it will not be able to get out even with the help of force.
According to sellers, transparent walls make Live Catch Trap not only safe, but also invisible to chipmunks. But he will be able to feel and see the same bait. Extreme ease of use is noticeable: there are no triggers, closers and magnets to fiddle with. Well, Live Catch is many times lighter than metal competitors.
What do buyers write about it? They are sure that the product is not suitable for rats and tree squirrels, and chipmunks are really driven by it. However, we did not find heroic reports of dozens of rodents caught, as with Havahart. Maybe the plastic releases the aroma of the bait worse? From serious criticism, we note the remarks that for large chipmunks, Live Cath with dimensions of 2×3 inches is still small.
Our portal recommends readers to choose the means to combat chipmunks, depending on the threat they pose to you and your garden. Often they can simply be driven out of their territory or fenced off from rodents with a small fence. But even if the animals have gone on the offensive – take a closer look at humane means of control like cage traps. This way you can get rid of chipmunks without getting your hands dirty with their blood.
As a last resort, use the killer’s traps or take up arms. But remember that its use must be coordinated with the authorities in your area! Read another article for more ideas.