Chipmunks are hard to hate. Not only are they one of the cutest, furry little critters you see around these parts, they are also one of the most enjoyable to watch play and hop around. However adorable, chipmunks can also be small trouble makers. They love to munch on seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, and even dig up plants to consume their roots, all which make lawns and gardens a prime goal this season.
If you are having trouble with aggravation chipmunks, it might help to familiarize yourself with a number of their common behaviors and habits in order to discover a solution to the problem. Continue reading to find out some useful and interesting facts about chipmunks, including what you can do to put a stop to their destruction.
Interesting Chipmunk Facts
Technically, a chipmunk is a rodent, since they are part of this Rodentia order. They’re also mammals, of the family Sciuridae, just like squirrels, prairie digs, and marmots. There are 25 known species of chipmunk, one of which isn’t native to North America. They commonly dine on fruits, nuts, seeds, cultivated grains, vegetables, fungi, insects, arthropods (spiders, butterflies, scorpions, crustaceans, etc.), and sometimes even small amphibians like tree frogs.
Chipmunks have large cheek pouches that they use to stuff full of food they find, then they bring it all back to their underground burrows where they store their food for the winter. They mostly forage on the ground, but will also climb trees to get acorns and fruit.
Were you aware that chipmunks are in fact loners? Although more than one chipmunk family can reside in the same burrow, they travel alone and basically ignore all other chipmunks around them before mating season starts up again in spring. This is good news for homeowners with a chipmunk infestation in the loft. Most often, it’s only one lone chipmunk, which does much less damage than an entire colony of squirrels. However, females can give birth to litters of 8 or more, so an infestation can be larger if it’s a nursing female.
Chipmunks live in underground burrows that they dig themselves, which usually consist of an elaborate network of tunnels which can extend up to 11 feet in length. They keep their sleeping area clean, while keeping waste and droppings in a different area. The entrances to their burrows are well-concealed, and usually only detectable by a trained eye.
Chipmunks hibernate. They fill their burrows up with as much food as possible in late summer and fall so as to have enough provisions for winter. Aside from hibernation, chipmunks sleep an average of 15 hours a day, mainly because they don’t have to stay on alert for predators since they live underground.
Regrettably, chipmunks do not live for a very long time. In the wild, their average lifespan is between two and three years. In captivity, they can live a little longer, up to 6 or 7 years with strict owner commitment. This is usually most common at licensed wildlife rehabilitation facilities.
If you have a nuisance wildlife problem, your best strategy would be to request professional advice from a licensed wildlife removal and control company. They have the training, experience, and knowledge to give you helpful advice or service.