Chipmunk Burrows Can Undermine Porch and Patio Slabs
By Chris Williams on July 21, 2016.
My daughter just pointed out that we apparently have a chipmunk nesting underneath our front porch slab. There’s a hole under the edge of the slab and he runs out to help himself to birdseed. I wanted to put poison out but my wife won’t allow that because “he’s just soooo cute!” She’s put her foot down, no chipmunk murder. What else can I do? B. Y., Leominster, MA
You can call Colonial Pest. We have nuisance wildlife experts on our staff and we’ve been helping customers with wildlife problems for 30 years. We can humanely trap and remove the chipmunk from its underground home.
Yes, chipmunks are cute but if your wife had any idea of the damage just one chipmunk can do when denning under a slab, she might not feel so kindly towards that adorable burrower. The burrowing activity of chipmunks (and ground squirrels) can undermine foundations, sidewalks, concrete patios, driveways, retaining walls, etc. Their burrowing and the subsequent influx of water can result in cracking and collapse. Water can even end up in your home.
Burrowing Chipmunks Remove a Lot of Soil
Your “he” is probably a she. Two to five young are born in early May and a second litter may be born in late summer. The young spend about a month in the burrow before leaving the den. Chipmunks have a large territory of about ¼ acre and populations average between two and four per acre with home ranges overlapping.
Chipmunk den excavations can be huge, with the main tunnel about 3 feet deep and between 20-30 feet long. The den can also include a nest chamber, a couple of food storage chambers, side tunnels and separate escape tunnels. You can imagine the amount of soil that the cute little chipmunk has removed from under your porch slab. She carries the soil out in her cheek pouches and scatters it away from the burrow opening. The burrow is also continuously extended so that after a few years, it may be 30 feet long with six chambers!
Chipmunks Also Raid Gardens
Chipmunks are members of the rodent family but, unlike rats and mice, they are most active during the day. They feed on a variety of things (besides your bird seed) such as grains, nuts, berries, insects, even sometimes on bird eggs and nestlings (yes, chipmunks can climb trees). They will also help themselves to your vegetable garden and flower bulbs. For more reasons why you don’t want chipmunks denning around your house, see Those Cute Chipmunks Have a Dark Side and then give us a call!