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How to Get Rid of Chipmunks

Eastern Chipmunk with its cheek pouches full of food
BrianLasenby / Getty Images

There are a number of destructive rodents that can cause problems in your yard and around your home and rats, mice, gophers, and moles are often hated by many homeowners. But one rodent most people overlook is the chipmunk. This small rodent is cute and fun to watch in action, but it can also cause problems in your garden and your yard. If chipmunks are causing problems at your home you’re going to want to know how to get rid of chipmunks. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to get rid of them quickly and humanely.

What do chipmunks look like?

If you want to know how to get rid of chipmunks, you need to make sure you know what they look like first. Proper identification will help you choose the right removal option. Chipmunks are small rodents that are about 5 1/2″—6 1/2″ in length. Chipmunks are brown with dark stripes that go down their sides and back, as well as a white stripe that goes down the middle of their back. Their unique coloration provides them with camouflage for the areas they naturally inhabit.

Despite their cute appearance, chipmunks are potentially dangerous pests because they can spread diseases to humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that chipmunks can spread serious maladies like tularemia and plague, both of which have potentially serious consequences for humans. So if you feel compelled to try and give the chipmunk in your yard a little cuddle, don’t do it.

How do you get chipmunks?

Chipmunks prefer to spend their time in forests, tree lines, and along fences. However, this rodent is adaptable and has been found in a wide variety of environments. If you live near an area that is a natural habitat for chipmunks, they can end up in your yard while searching for food. Chipmunks spend the majority of their time searching for and storing food. The rest of their time is spent burrowing, eating, and mating. If you have plants, flower bulbs, or bird feeders in your yard, chipmunks are most likely there because food is easy to find.

If you have a chipmunk infestation, you will notice chipmunk holes throughout your yard. These holes lead to burrows where chipmunks store much of the food they collect. The holes and tunnels that chipmunks create can be unsightly and sabotage your efforts to maintain a beautiful yard. In addition, it is difficult to enjoy moving around and playing in a yard that is riddled with holes.

How to check for chipmunks and chipmunk holes

As you explore the answers to your question of how to get rid of chipmunks, you will find that you have a number of options. Once you know what chipmunks look like, the next step is to know when to look for them. Chipmunks are most active during the day and can often be spotted mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Start your search for these rodents during a time of day when you know they are most likely to be active.

You can increase your chances of spotting a chipmunk by finding the burrows in your yard. Chipmunks are protective of their burrows and will vocalize to let you know if you are getting too close. Burrows are small holes in the ground and can usually be spotted near walkways.

It is not common to have a chipmunk problem inside your house. These rodents tend to stay outside but do occasionally find their way indoors. The Humane Society suggests that any chipmunk that is in your home does not want to be there and simply needs a way to escape.

How to get rid of chipmunks, step by step

If you want to know how to get rid of chipmunks humanely, there are a number of options. While these rodents are cute, they can also be destructive and dangerous. The best option for you as a homeowner—and for the chipmunks—is for them to be caught, removed, and re-homed in an area farther away from people.

Step 1: Repel chipmunks from your yard

You can use ultrasonic sound that is undetectable to the human ear to keep rodents like chipmunks out of your yard and garden. You can find devices that do this online for less than $50.

Step 2: Remove factors around your home that attract chipmunks

Chipmunks will eat some types of plants, bulbs, and birdseed. If you notice that there are certain things around your yard that the chipmunks prefer to feed on, remove them, or put them out of reach.

Step 3: Take protective measures when planting your garden

The Humane Society recommends surrounding the area with a gravel barrier devoid of plants and using a wire or plastic ground cover to protect bulbs from chipmunks.  

Products you can use to fix a chipmunk infestation

When to call a professional to get rid of chipmunks

It can be difficult to get rid of chipmunks on your own without any real training or experience. If you find yourself in a place where you cannot figure out how to get rid of chipmunks in your yard, it is time to call a professional. Ultimately, a pro will be able to catch and re-home the chipmunks in your yard much faster than you could do on your own. If you are short on time and want the chipmunks out as soon as possible, get some professional help.

How to keep chipmunks out of your home

Chipmunks do not make a habit of infesting homes. The food and shelter they are looking for is outside. That being said, chipmunks can inadvertently find their way into your house. The Humane Society points out that the best way to get a chipmunk out of your home is to give it a path to escape. Close off interior doors and open a nearby exterior door. Be sure to keep children and pets out of the way so the chipmunk does not get spooked. In most cases, the chipmunk will find the way out. If this method does not work, you can set a live trap or call in a professional.

The bottom line on chipmunks

The bottom line on chipmunks is that they are one of the cutest pests around. But the fact remains that they can still cause damage to your yard and potentially spread disease. There are a number of humane options that can help you repel and get rid of chipmunks. If you try the various products available with no luck, the best option is to bring in professional help so you can get chipmunks out of your yard and have them re-homed in a place that is better for everyone involved.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get chipmunks in a yard?
Chipmunks come into your yard in search of food and a place to dig a burrow. If you have plants, a bird feeder, or soil then your yard is fair game for chipmunks.

How do you spot chipmunk holes?
Look around walkways and in your garden for small holes. They will be big enough for a rodent slightly smaller than a squirrel to fit into.

How do you spot chipmunks?
Look for chipmunks during the day because that is the time that they are most active. You can identify a chipmunk by the unique stripes going down their back and sides.

Can I get rid of chipmunks without killing them?
There are a number of humane ways to get rid of chipmunks in your yard without causing them harm. For example, you can catch them using a live trap and release them into an area away from people and near trees and brush.

How do pest professionals deal with chipmunks?
You can find a pest pro who will catch and relocate the chipmunks in your yard. Before you hire a pro, be sure to ask for a detailed description of how they deal with chipmunks.


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