General Question

ruckij's avatar

How do I get rid of chipmunks in my yard?

Asked by ruckij (44 points ) August 2nd, 2012

I don’t want to kill them, just have them move away. They are everywhere. I had to stop feeding the birds since they ate all the food.

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35 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Hahahahahaha!. The only solution is for you to move to an urban high rise. And even then you will have pigeons on your window sills.

You can buy a squirrel/chipmunk proof bird feeder (although not for long since the chipmunks and squirrels are devious and inventive). Many feeders have baffles that knock the varmits off.

Here are several dozen examples; Squirrel-proof bird feeders

Remember the food chain and keep it holy. The chipmunks may find you annoying and are possibly, at this very minute, plotting to relocate you.

What about the worms, ants, mosquitoes, ticks, Japanese beetles, aphids, white flies, mice, voles, raccoons, woodchucks, fox, coyote, bob cat and bears that hang around my property. Who’s in charge? Certainly not me.

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ruckij's avatar

They are so darn cute but they torture my cats to no end. They sit on the deck 3 feet from my sliding door and stare at my cats.

DigitalBlue's avatar

The only way to move them, that I know of, without killing them – is to trap and release – at least one mile from the home. That’s probably going to be tedious, though, and there’s no guarantee that you won’t get more.
Do you have a wooded area near your home? A lot of trees and shrubs in your yard? I think they like you. :)

ruckij's avatar

I have lots of trees and shrubs in my yard. Also, a pin oak. Do you think I rang the dinner bell for them with the trees and shrubs?

DigitalBlue's avatar

@ruckij the combination of the landscape, plus the buffet of birdseed probably did look like a giant glaring welcome sign.

tom_g's avatar

@ruckij: “They are so darn cute but they torture my cats to no end. They sit on the deck 3 feet from my sliding door and stare at my cats.”

It’s a well-known fact that chipmunks eat cats.

ruckij's avatar

@tom_g good thing they are indoor cats. They are too wimpy to protect themselves.

gailcalled's avatar

If you start catching them in Havaharts, you have to relocate them at least five miles away. And you will be driving with an angry rodent in a small cage in the back of your car several times a day.

Plus you must remember that Nature fills a vacuum; their sisters, cousins and aunts are waiting in the wings for a chance at the buffet.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I feel your pain. (Actually, I felt your pain, as I took care of the situation permanently.)
I live near a wildlife area surrounded by suburban homes. People would trap the little cuties in HavAHart traps and let them loose across the street from me – relocating the problem. While “kind”, it is illegal to relocate.
There were so many, it was out of control. I ended up using a combination of Victor Rat traps (and other means) to gradually whittle down the population. My neighbor did the same. The family of fox in the area are grateful.
I do not know of a method that is both effective and merciful.

mFufni's avatar

I worked in a pest control center for a quite a while, and one of the best things we’d tell our customers was that they could buy chocolate flavored laxatives. and put them in their yard. Don’t let your cats outside, or they will eat them.

This works well for any rodent, you just may have a mess to clean up later.

tom_g's avatar

@ruckij: ”@tom_g good thing they are indoor cats. They are too wimpy to protect themselves.”

Sorry, I was joking. And it wasn’t particularly funny. However, I’m curious – why are you attempting to define what is acceptable wildlife in your yard? Why birds over chipmunks? What exactly is the problem with these creatures?

DigitalBlue's avatar

@LuckyGuy illegal everywhere?
I have also heard of Juicy Fruit gum & peanut butter for chipmunks, but that is also a “permanent” solution.

ruckij's avatar

@LuckyGuy my friend does the BB&W (bucket, birdseed and water) but I admit I am a wimp just like my cats. Guess they will have to at least stay out of my house.

gailcalled's avatar

@LuckyGuy: while you were trapping them, their close relatives were having frantic sex and then large litters of babies, who mature in 6 to 8 weeks. That means they are then ready to procreate.

ruckij's avatar

@tom_g I like the birds but am concerned about the chipmunks getting into my house.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@tom_g chipmunks also burrow, which can be destructive if there are a lot of them, and they will try to get into the house. My grandmother had a chipmunk “problem,” and I was removing them from the home on a daily basis for a long time. To the best of my knowledge, they aren’t destructive in the house, but I don’t know about you – I don’t really want a wild rodent running around in my kitchen.

tom_g's avatar

@ruckij and @DigitalBlue – I had no idea. I have been surrounded by tons of chipmunks for most of my life, and they have never caused any problems. I like them. But I could see trying to keep them out of the house.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@DigitalBlue According to Ohio State university
“Transporting and releasing box-trapped chipmunks several miles from the point of capture could be another option, if it is legal in your area. However, relocated chipmunks will likely seek out a familiar environment and cause a problem for someone else. In addition, there is also the risk of introducing a diseased animal into a healthy population. Last but not least, relocating a stressed animal into the wrong habit will often make them more susceptible to predation and diseases. ”

@gailcalled Yep, That’s why you have to hit them fast and hard. No dilly-dallying around with only one trap. We are now down to a reasonable level.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@tom_g I like them, too, but I don’t have an overabundance of them – so it’s easy for me to just enjoy watching them scurry along my fence. I felt really awful when it came time for my dad to step in and do something about my grandmother’s chipmunks, but I have to admit that I was really tired of chasing them around the house all of the time. Plus, not unlike @ruckij‘s situation, they were eating all of the bird feed and also damaging her garden.—The deer did their fair share, too, so I can’t solely blame the chippies.)

@LuckyGuy I agree that trap & release comes with its own host of issues, I just didn’t think that it was illegal here. OP asked for a non-kill solution, that was all that I could think of. :)

LuckyGuy's avatar

@DigitalBlue It might be legal in the OP’s state but I doubt it. Hav-A-Hart traps work well except for that little “relocation” issue – and the critter pooping a peeing in your car as you drive it to a new spot.

Mariah's avatar

Haha, aw. I love chipmunks, but I certainly understand the frustration of having your birdseed get snatched up by non-birds. I don’t have any suggestions on getting rid of them besides what others said, but I do have some suggestions for the birdseed problem.

Try safflower seed instead of sunflower seed. I read that birds like this kind, but that squirrels and chipmunks don’t. I tried it out myself and what I found was that squirrels (which are a bigger problem around here than chipmunks) didn’t really eat it, chipmunks still did but less so than sunflower, and birds still liked it, although it attracted different kinds of birds than sunflower seeds.

Try a feeder like this, they’re supposed to be harder for squirrels and chipmunks to get into than some others. I can’t vouch for it personally because I haven’t tried it yet, but maybe someone else in this thread can.

Good luck!

syz's avatar

Don’t worry about the cats – that’s called “enrichment” in my house. Free entertainment. And it is possible to have inexpensive bird feeders that are squirrel and rodent proof (I have 6).

Trap and release probably isn’t going to make a dent in the population, so unless you’re willing to kill them off with poisons (remember, most poisons will also kill whatever predator or scavenger eats the carcass, so the damage cascades down the food chain), your best bet is to keep the underbrush cleared and the food sources cleaned up.

Chipmunks are not very common in my area, they still have the “cute” novelty for me. But the only issue that I’ve seen with populations is their tendency to dig up and eat bulbs and roots, damaging landscaping.

tedd's avatar

They were eating the crap out of our garden a bit earlier this summer. We were unable to git rid of them, but we got some garden nets which did pretty well at keeping them out of the food.

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Pandora's avatar

I knew a lady once who had the oddest home. The front was everyday plain with a well trimmed shrubs and trees. The back was an unbelievable Eden. Lush trees and bushes with flowers and beautiful flower beds and squirrels, chipmunks and birds, and dogs roaming about. She had a screened in back porch that she kept open. I went back there and her husband was grilling as a chipmunk ran up his sleeve. I asked her if it was a pet and she said no. It was a wild chipmunk and it simply adopted them. The birds would even fly in low with no fear of being harmed. I couldn’t even believe what she made grow in the back with only having lived there 2 years and having to take care of a family of 6. She really had a touch with the animals. They all seemed to gravitate around her. She said there were more chipmunks but this one was the most trusting. I asked her how does she keep them out of the house and she said she had build them a little home and put food in it every day to keep them outdoors, so they don’t come looking in the home for food.
Or you could let your cat out for some exercise. :P Both he and the chipmunks should work for their food.

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Supacase's avatar

We had so many chipmunks it really freaked me out. They were alaways running in and out from under the concrete porch steps and a little spot on the other end of the house by the garage. I know they breed like crazy and had no idea what we were going to do.

The other day I mentioned to my husband that I don’t see them much anymore. He says it’s because we got a dog. No, the dog isn’t eating them. They just noticed her constant presence and cleared out for self-preservation. We also had the driveway redone near the garage and I think we shut off that entrance.

laurenkem's avatar

I guess I’m in the minority here, in that I love those little chipmunks! The only reason they ever caused a problem at my home up north was because I used to get so upset if one of the two cats I had at the time (I don’t have either one anymore) would kill/maim/harm one. Also, one of the two cats had a habit of catching them, bringing them into the house live and then releasing them, only to have them dart under the nearest heating vent, which was an issue. My ex looked pretty funny using the handle of a broom to try to coax the little critters out from under there while the two cats sat there growling.

The two cats I have now have never been outside…and will never go outside. I can’t have them being a nuisance to the neighbors and/or killing other little furry creatures.

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