Chipmunks are hard to hate. Not only are they one of the most adorable, furry little critters you see around these parts, they are also one of the most entertaining to watch play and hop around. However adorable, chipmunks can also be little trouble makers. They love to munch on seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, and even dig up plants to eat their roots, all of which make gardens and lawns a prime target this time of year.
If you are having trouble with nuisance chipmunks, it may help to familiarize yourself with some of their common behaviors and habits in order to find a solution to the problem. Continue reading to learn 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, as they are part of the Rodentia order. They are also mammals, of the family Sciuridae, just like squirrels, prairie digs, and marmots. There are 25 known species of chipmunk, one of which is not native to North America.
They eat an omnivorous diet, just like humans. 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.
Did you know that chipmunks are actually loners? Although more than one chipmunk family can reside in the same burrow, they travel alone and basically ignore all other chipmunks around them until mating season starts up again in spring. This is good news for homeowners with a chipmunk infestation in the attic. Most often, it is just one lone chipmunk, which does a lot 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 is a nursing female.
Chipmunks live in underground burrows that they dig themselves, which usually consist of an elaborate network of tunnels that can extend up to 11 feet in length. They keep their sleeping area clean, while keeping waste and droppings in another 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 in order to have enough provisions for the winter. Aside from hibernation, chipmunks sleep an average of 15 hours a day, mostly because they do not have to stay on alert for predators since they live underground.