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Tiny Terrors: Identifying and Managing Chipmunk Infestations

Cute little chipmunk with full cheeks.

Tiny Terrors: Identifying and Managing Chipmunk Infestations


In the realm of small mammals, chipmunks often capture our attention with their energetic antics and distinctive appearance. While they might seem harmless and charming, chipmunks can sometimes become unwanted guests in our yards and gardens. Identifying a chipmunk infestation is essential for effective management. In this article, we’ll look at the characteristics of chipmunks, their behaviors, potential issues they can cause, and methods for control using live traps and suitable bait options.

Fascinating Facts About Chipmunks

Chipmunks are squirrel cousins belonging to the squirrel family and are recognized by their eye-catching stripes and the pouches in their cheeks that they use to carry food. They are small, agile, and surprisingly quick runners. Unlike other rodents mentioned earlier, chipmunks are primarily omnivorous, which means they eat a mix of plant material and small insects.

Diet of Chipmunks

The diet of chipmunks includes seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, insects, and also small vertebrates. This flexibility in their diet allows them to adapt to various environments and food sources.

Habitat and Behavior of Chipmunks

Chipmunks are ground dwellers.Chipmunks are ground-dwelling creatures that build intricate burrows with multiple entrances. They are skilled climbers and can often be seen scurrying up trees. Chipmunks are diurnal animals, meaning they are most active during daylight hours. Their cheek pouches, which they use to transport food, can expand to almost three times the size of their heads.

Potential Issues Caused by Chipmunks

While chipmunks are generally considered charming, their behavior can lead to certain problems:

  1. Garden and Yard Damage: Chipmunks might dig up flower bulbs, munch on garden plants, and nibble on young trees. Bird feeders also attract chipmunks.
  2. Food Storage: They can store food in unexpected places, including vehicles and structures, leading to inconvenience.
  3. Burrowing: Chipmunk burrows can disrupt the integrity of lawns, gardens, and landscaping.

Detecting Chipmunk Presence

Identifying chipmunk infestations requires careful observation:

  1. Burrows: Look for small holes in the ground, often surrounded by piles of dirt, which mark chipmunk burrow entrances. They also create tunnel systems and can be found in rock piles.
  2. Nibbled Plants: Check for signs of gnawed or eaten plants, especially around gardens and young trees.
  3. Food Caches: Discover hidden piles of nuts, seeds, and other food items in unexpected areas.
  4. Distinctive Call: Listen for the chipmunk’s characteristic chirping sound, especially during their active hours.

Effective Chipmunk Control: Chipmunk Traps and Baits

#3310A live capture animal trap for chipmunks.

Sherman Live Capture Traps for Chipmunks: 3310A, 3310G, LNG12, LNG12LB

When addressing a chipmunk infestation, selecting suitable methods is crucial:

  1. Live Traps: Utilize live capture traps designed for small rodents. Place these traps near chipmunk burrows or areas with evidence of their activity. Bait traps with a mix of seeds, nuts, or small insects.
  2. Baits: Choose baits that align with chipmunks’ omnivorous diet. Peanut butter mixed with birdseed or oats can attract them effectively.

Selecting Appropriate Bait for Chipmunks

Picking the right bait improves the chances of success:

  1. Seeds and Nuts: Sunflower seeds, peanuts, and other nuts can be appealing to chipmunks.
  2. Peanut Butter: Its strong scent and sticky texture make it an attractive bait option.
  3. Fruits: Try using berries, pieces of apple, or even raisins as alternative baits.

Preventing Future Encounters with Chipmunks

After addressing a chipmunk infestation, take measures to prevent chipmunks return:

  1. Clear Debris: Remove clutter and debris that could provide hiding spots for chipmunks.
  2. Protect Plants: Use mesh or wire barriers to shield bulbs, garden plants, and young trees.
  3. Trim Vegetation: Keep trees and shrubs away from structures, reducing potential access points.


Chipmunks might be charming, but their presence can sometimes lead to unwanted disruptions in our outdoor spaces. By understanding the signs of chipmunk activity and employing effective control methods like live traps and appropriate baits, you can address chipmunk infestations in a humane and timely manner. Prompt action is key to minimizing the damage and inconvenience these tiny terrors can bring to your yard and garden.