Sure, Chipmunks Are Cute, But…

By Chris Williams on June 18, 2015.

 Chipmunk Tamias striatusI think we have a chipmunk nesting in our yard, that’s a new one for us. I see it scoot under one corner of our patio slab. Do you think that’s where its nest is? P.L., Goffstown, NH




Yes, that would be a typical place for a chipmunk to nest. Our eastern chipmunks often establish their burrows under concrete slabs or sidewalks, under stone walls, or hidden under stumps, or brush piles or woodpiles. The burrow opening is about 2 inches in diameter and can be an amazing 20 to 30 feet long underground. It can include a nest chamber, a couple of food storage chambers, and various side chambers and escape tunnels. A chipmunk’s burrow system only gets bigger with time, with add-on chambers every year.

Extensive Burrowing = Expensive Repairs

It’s because of this extensive burrow system that those cute little chipmunks can be a real problem around structures. Their burrowing (and subsequent water intrusion) can undermine a slab, foundation, or driveway causing it to drop or crack. Think about the amount of soil that chipmunk has removed from beneath your patio to create that cozy burrow system! You don’t see piles of excavated dirt because the chipmunk carries it away in its cheek pouches.

The only good thing about having a chipmunk burrowing in your yard is that there is usually only one (maybe with offspring) since they are so territorial. That doesn’t help much though when one chipmunk can do as much damage as a small army.

If You Don’t Provide It, They Won’t Come

Chipmunks can be responsible for other types of damage around a home, too, such as tearing up gardens, eating fruit, and raiding bird feeders (see Those Cute Chipmunks Have a Dark Side). That chipmunk has probably moved into your yard because you are providing food. Consider whether you are attracting chipmunks to your property with spilled bird seed, accessible pet food, fruits and vegetables on the ground, or wood or debris piles and extensive groundcovers for hiding.

We recommend that you have a professional trap and remove that chipmunk, especially since it is nesting under your patio. At Colonial Pest, we have nuisance wildlife experts on staff who are familiar with the ways of chipmunks. Give us a call!

Photo credit: Gilles Gonthier / Foter / CC BY



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