Chipmunks are often mistaken for squirrels because they are in the same family of rodents called Sciuridae. In the chipmunk vs squirrel debate, the distinction boils down to size. Chipmunks are much smaller, weighing only 5 ounces at most, with less bushy tails.
In terms of being pests, one or two of these tiny rodents will not do any harm. However, chipmunks can be quite destructive to lawns and gardens in large numbers, and they can carry diseases. Naturally enough, you don’t want them invading your home, so what can you do?
Lao Tzu said, “Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.” Here are ten things you don’t know about chipmunks that can probably help you get rid of them.
Chipmunks Have a Plethora of Food Sources
Chipmunks are omnivorous, and they are opportunistic. While their regular diet consists of nuts, seeds, and fungi, they will eat insects, baby mice, and bird eggs if they happen on them. In other words, chipmunk food is anything that fits their tiny mouths. Unfortunately for your garden, chipmunks also like to add fiber to their diet by eating grass, plants, and shoots.
Chipmunks Love to be Alone
Chipmunks are not sociable creatures, preferring to go their way and ignoring other chipmunks. That is, until the mating season in late summer and spring. During that time, the male (buck) and female (doe) come together to mate before separating again.
The doe gives birth after 30 days and raises the two to eight pups, each about the size of a jelly bean. The pups develop quickly and are on their own after six weeks, so there is not much time for mother-child bonding. Additionally, the chipmunk lifespan is just two to three years.
Chipmunks are Natural Prey to Many Predators
Chipmunks multiply quickly, but they are low on the food chain, which helps keep their numbers under control. They fall prey to anything that eats meat and is bigger than them and fast enough to catch them. Chipmunks are dinner to cats, dogs, raccoons, bobcats, weasels, owls, foxes, coyotes, hawks, lynxes, snakes, and even squirrels. However, enough manage to stay alive by being quick and sticking close to home so they can bolt at the first sign of danger.
|What Chipmunks Love to Eat|
|Seeds||Chipmunks help the ecosystem by spreading seeds that fall out of their cheek pouches or their storage and survive in their feces.|
|Fungi||Mushrooms are a favorite food of chipmunks, which is great. Chipmunks help to carry mycorrhizal fungi to tree roots, helping the trees thrive.|
|Nuts||One chipmunk can gather 165 acorns a day, which they know how to store for the winter.|
If chipmunks bring chaos to your household, contact the experts from PestGuide.org to assist you on how to move forward.
“Take care of chipmunks because they help in the survival of trees as they spread mycorrhizal fungi. ”
Chipmunks Are Cute as Babies
Chipmunks are cute. They are the complete adorable package with their bushy tails, chubby cheeks, and large, glossy eyes. If you live by a forest or wooded area in the US or Canada, chances are you have spent a few pleasant afternoons watching them scamper around. However, unlike what you see in animated movies, you will not really see chipmunks chumming around as they are solitary creatures.
Chipmunks Are Heavy Sleepers
If you have ever seen a chipmunk in action, you know they expend a lot of energy when they are awake. It is no wonder they need 15 hours of sleep a day. In most cases, you will only see chipmunks in the early morning and late afternoon.
Chipmunks Can Be Found Mostly in North America
All chipmunk species but one are in North America. They flourish in all climates, from the alpine cold of Canada to the shrubby deserts of Mexico. Chipmunks have quickly learned to appreciate pickings from humans so that you will see many in the suburbs. The only species that live only in northern Asia and Europe is the Siberian chipmunk.
Chipmunks also hibernate in winter when the body temperature goes down to 4.5°C or 40°F (from 34.5°C or 94°F), and pulse goes down to 4 beats a minute (from 350!). You can imagine how loud an alarm clock would have to be to wake them up. However, chipmunks wake up every few days to eat some of their stored food before going back to sleep.
Chipmunks Love Subterranean Living
Squirrels live in trees, but chipmunks prefer to keep a low profile. Some make nests in bushes or branches, but most live underground in extensive burrows up to 30 feet in length with camouflaged entrances. The burrows include a nesting chamber (for when they hibernate) and food storage areas that they keep clean and lined with leaves. Chipmunks burrowing is good for turning the earth, but it can wreak havoc on Bermuda grass.
If they’re starting to become invasive, contact PestGuide.
Chipmunks Don’t Sing (But Neither Are They Silent)
If you imagine that chipmunks sound like the animated chipmunks on television, you are not that far off. They don’t sing, but their vocalizations are high-pitched and trilling, making them sound a lot like birds.
Chipmunks have three distinct sounds: the short chip, the deeper chuck, and the sharp startled call to warn of danger. In some cases, several chipmunks will join in a chorus, although no amount of slowing down will make them sound like words.
Keep Chipmunks at Bay with PestGuide.org
Chipmunks are adorable and interesting creatures. With everything you know about them now, it just makes it harder to do anything that might harm them. However, wild chipmunks don’t belong in your home or garden. Do yourself a favor and call in experts from PestGuide.org. They can help you keep chipmunks at bay.
Ten Things You Don’t Know About Chipmunks FAQs
How fast can chipmunks run?
|A chipmunk can run as fast as 21 miles per hour or 33.8 kilometers per hour.|
What are baby chipmunks called?
|Baby chipmunks, which are about as large as a bee or jelly bean at birth, are called pups, kits, or kittens.|
Are chipmunks good for anything?
|Chipmunks play a valuable role in the ecology, helping with seedling implantation and ensuring tree health by spreading spores of mycorrhizal fungi on tree roots.|