Chipmunks are widely regarded as cute and cuddly little creatures. This stereotype has been perpetuated by Disney chipmunks Chip and Dale, as well the animated singing group “Alvin and Chipmunks” and the recent children’s movies based off of them. Unfortunately, real chipmunks do not sing in harmony and are usually just as destructive as rats and other types of rodents. These creatures eat bird seed and scare away the birds, eat cat and dog food, cause damage to retaining walls and foundations, dig up and eat garden plants, and make a lot of noise (a concept that perhaps inspired the idea of Alvin and the Chipmunks). Getting rid of chipmunks can be difficult, because these little buggers are surprisingly clever. The following methods generally prove effective in lowering the local chipmunk population.
1. Owning a pet
The fastest way to get rid of chipmunks is to invest in a dog or cat. Cats are natural born chipmunk killers, and most dogs can be trained to catch chipmunks as well. Additionally, cats and dogs provide the fringe benefits of loyal companionship and never-ending entertainment. Those who spend limited time at home will want to steer clear of dogs and purchase a cat who will, for the most part, take care of him or herself.
2. Groom your Lawn
Chipmunks are wary of open areas but highly attracted to yards piled with rocks, sticks and other forms of debris. Cleaning all debris off your yard and mowing the grass on a regular basis will convince the chipmunks to build a home elsewhere. You may also want to get ride of brush piles or stacks of firewood, as these are havens for chipmunks.
3. Choose Bird Seed Carefully
Many bird watchers complain that their bird feeders are visited by chipmunks and squirrels more than they are by birds! If the chipmunks are hogging the bird seed and scaring away the chickadees, you may want to consider using a different type of seed. Chipmunks tend to avoid eating thistle and safflower seeds, which are popular with several bird species. Avoid putting sunflower seeds in your feeder-chipmunks go crazy for them.
4. Live Trapping
Trapping chipmunks live and releasing them elsewhere provides a more human method of eliminating your yard of these animals. Chipmunk traps can be purchased at most hardware stores. To make your own chipmunk trap, fill a five gallon bucket with water and use a flat board as a ramp leading to the bucket. Hide the water by layering it with wine corks and sprinkle seeds on top. The chipmunk will go after the seeds but be stuck in the bucket of water until you release him at a park or on your enemy’s lawn. Chipmunks quickly wise up to this trap, but can be useful for ending a minor chipmunk problem.
There are several additional methods for getting rid of chipmunks, including flooding out chipmunk burrows with a hose, poisoning them, and using rat traps. These options can be risky, because other animals, pets and even small children can be harmed by poisons and traps. Also, these less humane methods are not nearly as effective as basic lawn care, cats and dogs or live traps.
Every once in a while, a homeowner will experience a truly awful chipmunk infestation that cannot be solved with the aforementioned methods of chipmunk removal. In such cases, the best course of action is to contact an exterminator.