Our dining room table overlooks a tiny pond circled with large stones. Many wild animals come to drink or bathe. One of our favorites is the sleek Eastern Chipmunk. Often, chipmunks fill their cheeks with seeds that fall from our bird feeders and carry them off to a stash.

Chipmunk Tunneling

This chipmunk figured out how to tunnel under the trap to get the seeds.

One summer we watched a clever chipmunk problem-solve how to access seeds from a live trap without getting trapped itself.  The ingenious chipmunk tunneled under the trap and up through the wire, helped itself to the food and returned back out the tunnel to store its treasure for later eating.

We love chipmunks but many people utterly hate them and ask us how to rid their yard of the tiny mammals. Although they can undermine rock walls by tunneling otherwise chipmunks do slight damage. They are most commonly found in shady yards with woodpiles or rock walls.

Chipmunks may be unusually numerous in suburban yards because people discourage their predators.  Bull snakes love dining on tasty chipmunk dinners but few homeowners want a six or eight-foot-long snake sharing their yard. Many hawks also devour chipmunks but, like snakes, they aren’t common in town. So, these small rodents have few predators to fear other than marauding house cats.

An effective way to keep chipmunk numbers in control is to encourage predators.  If snakes can’t be tolerated, removing woodpiles and rocks will eliminate chipmunk homes.

Occasionally chipmunks and white footed mice climb into vent pipes plumbing or clothes dryers. An easy way to discourage them is to buy a few stainless-steel scrub pads sold in most grocery stores.  These are balls of coarse, somewhat sharp metal. Put the pad in the pipe in a way that fills the void but doesn’t cause the pad to compress much. It acts like a filter, allowing air to move through it but not letting rodents pass.

But, mostly just enjoy your chipmunks.

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