Everyone finds chipmunks cute, and yes, they’re adorable. But what happens when they crawl into your yard and home to set up space? Should you let them be, or do they present a danger to you?
Chipmunks present some level of danger to humans because they’re rodents. These small mammals are destructive and will chew and gnaw at everything: wiring, pipes, plastic, etc. In addition, they carry parasites such as mites, ticks, and fleas and spread diseases such as salmonella and hantavirus.
This article will talk about chipmunks in your home or yard and how they can be dangerous to you and even your backyard chickens. Read on to find out more.
Where Can You Find Chipmunks?
You can find chipmunks in the forest, which is their natural habitat. However, you might find them in your yard behind logs, piles, or shrubs that provide cover. If you see them in your yard, it’s likely because they’re searching for food, especially if you have bird feeders, plants, or flowers.
Also, chipmunks may spend a lot of time in your yard digging elaborate burrows with several rooms for food storage.
Signs of Chipmunk Damage in Your Yard
These tiny animals are cute. However, chipmunks can cause a lot of damage to your yard. It may take some time for you to notice them, but you’ll see signs of their presence.
Here are some signs to look out for:
- Ruined gardens. These adorable invaders will chew up your vegetables, fruits, and plants if you have a garden. They’ll uproot flower bulbs, and you’ll often find clumps of your garden plants around flower beds.
- Small holes in the lawn. Chipmunks can cause structural damage to your property since they often burrow near the foundation of your home, stairs, and porches and along a pathway or driveway.
- You can find hidden caches of seeds and grains. The little critters spend most of their time looking for and storing food. You may find piles of seeds and grains hidden somewhere in your yard.
- Holes ate out of low-hanging vegetables. When the weather gets dry, chipmunks will usually try to get water from vegetables such as tomatoes, and you may often find holes eaten out of them.
How To Rid Chipmunks Out of Your Yard
There are several ways you can rid your yard of chipmunks humanely, without having to kill them. You can use the following pointers to keep them out:
- Fence them out. An L-shaped footer fence creates an underground barrier that keeps chipmunks from under your foundation, stairs, porches, and crawl spaces. You can often find L-shaped footers in pet stores.
- Clean your yard. Chipmunks often use woodpiles, dead trees, and shrubs in your yard to shelter and store food. Remove all dead trees and brush woodpiles and vegetation that provide coverage for chipmunks.
- Remove fallen seeds from bird feeders. Regularly cleaning up fallen seeds from bird feeders will discourage chipmunks from coming to your yard in search of food.
- Use predator decoys. Decoys of chipmunk predators such as statues of owls will scare chipmunks away and discourage them from visiting your yard.
- Invest in a protective cover for your garden. You can use a wire mesh or plastic screen to surround your garden and provide protection for your plants and flowers.
- Set up traps. You can trap chipmunks with a wooden snap trap suitable for rodents. I recommend using peanut butter for bait.
- Call a professional exterminator. When all else fails, you can always rely on a professional exterminator to solve the problem. However, it’s essential to check the reputation of an exterminator before hiring them.
Are Chipmunks Dangerous to Chickens?
Many people may often wonder whether it’s right to let chipmunks around their house. Some would also ask whether they can have chipmunks around their chickens.
Chipmunks aren’t necessarily dangerous to your chickens because they won’t attack them or their eggs. However, they’ll flock into your chicken coop to gain access to chicken feed and fresh water and create a mess in your chicken coop.
Furthermore, they’re still rodents and may carry diseases like salmonella and hantavirus and mice and fleas that may harm your chickens. In addition, the presence of chipmunks in chicken coops will attract more dangerous predators such as snakes, cats, foxes, etc.
How To Keep Chipmunks Out of Chicken Coops
If you’ve noticed the presence of chipmunks in your chicken coops, you’ll naturally want to get them out.
The followings are tips for keeping them out:
- Use a hardware cloth. Chipmunks are more burrowing animals than they are climbers. As a result, covering the bottom of your chicken coop to block chipmunks from accessing it from below would be effective for keeping them away.
- Store extra feed in a tightly sealed container. If you keep extra chicken food outside close to your coop, you should consider sealing it tightly in a metal container. That way, the chipmunks cannot chew through the container.
- Hang feeders above the ground. You can also consider buying unique rodent-proof chicken feeders. They have a design that denies rodents access to chicken feed. The Roamwild Rat-Proof Chicken Feeder from Amazon is an excellent choice. Its large capacity and ease of cleaning make it better than other feeders.
- Protect water sources. Rodents carry diseases that can contaminate your chickens’ water and infect them. You should remove the water drinkers at night or consider switching to nipple waterers so that chipmunks wouldn’t be able to access them.
How Do Chipmunks Get Into Your Home?
Chipmunks will often get into your house from the ground through entryways underneath your stairs, patio, or porch. For example, they get in through cracks in the house foundation or wooden crawl spaces. Sometimes, these burrowing mammals enter your home through an open house or garage door.
If you have tall trees near your house, they can enter your home through a broken window or a chimney.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, when chipmunks get into your home, it’s by accident, and they’ll be glad to leave.
How To Rid Chipmunks Out of Your House
Chipmunks will chew through pipes, wood, wiring, sheetrock, etc., causing considerable damage.
Here are few tips to get rid of chipmunks from your home:
- Seal up your home. Take note of any cracks and spaces indoors, windows, crawl spaces, and the house foundation. Exclude chipmunks from your home by sealing up these holes, as well as holes along gas lines, cable TV lines, dryer vents, chimney, etc.
- Use traps. The standard wooden-base snap trap used on rodents is perfect for use when capturing chipmunks. For bait, you can use peanut butter or mix it with oatmeal. Place the catch on the ground near suspected entryways and wait.
- Use repellents. Naphthalene flakes, such as mothballs, can chase chipmunks away. However, they can be toxic to humans and not suitable for use. Check your local authority on the use of repellents. Note that there are no registered repellents for use on chipmunks.
- Hire a professional exterminator. They have the proper training and experience to get rid of your problem.
Although not dangerous to humans, chipmunks can cause considerable property damage. Like other rodents, the front teeth of chipmunks don’t stop growing, and they constantly have to chew to grind the teeth together and prevent them from growing into their brain.
Chipmunks in your yard will cause considerable damage in the garden or chicken coop. When trying to get rid of chipmunks, it’s essential to be careful and avoid close contact. They can carry diseases such as rabies, hantavirus, plague, salmonella, and a bite can lead to infection.
- Wikipedia: Chipmunk
- Britannica: Chipmunk
- The Humane Society of the United States: What to do about chipmunks
- The Humane Society of the United States: Fence our digging animals