In this post, we discuss what kinds of damage that chipmunks can do and why some people want them removed.
Can chipmunks cause damage to your home and landscape? Should they be removed from your property? Keep reading for answers.
About chipmunks & ground squirrels
Chipmunks (sometimes called ground squirrels) are small rodents native to North America. They are relatives of tree squirrels, mice, rats, voles, muskrats, beavers, and gophers.
There are three species of chipmunks that can be found in Illinois: the Eastern Chipmunk, the Thirteen-Lined Ground Squirrel, and Franklin’s Ground Squirrel.
What damage can chipmunks cause?
Chipmunks can be considered nuisance animals but in most cases, the damages they cause are annoying, but not necessarily serious.
Ground squirrels will create holes and tunnels in your yard and may eat flower bulbs and damage landscaping.
These could be damaging if close to your foundation or the structural supports of stairs, patio or retaining walls.
Eating flower bulbs
Chipmunks are known to eat the bulbs of your spring flowers. Favorite bulbs eaten by chipmunks can include tulips, crocus, and gladioli.
You can prevent rodents from eating your flower bulbs by burying chicken wire in the ground that has openings too small for bulbs to be reached and removed, but wide enough for sprouts to grow.
Other things chipmunks eat
Besides flower bulbs, chipmunks may also eat seeds in the garden, plant seedlings, as well as bird seed, grass seed, and also pet food. They can be very frustrating if they dig up newly planted seeds or young seedlings in your garden.
Whether to protect your garden, flower bulbs or to prevent tunneling, a solution of water and cayenne can function as a repellent for chipmunks but must be reapplied frequently.
Chipmunks live underground and will dig tunnels and elaborate tunnel systems beneath the surface. They can have tunnels up to 30 feet long and sometimes quite wide.
These tunnels could cause parts of your landscape so sink or collapse. If chipmunk tunnels are underneath the foundation of structures such as stairs, fence posts, or other foundations, it’s possible this could lead to more serious issues.
Burrows are typically dug directly underneath or next to cover because so that the chipmunk burrow is concealed from predators.
If chipmunk burrows are built directly next to your home’s foundation, this could be a concern because of water and moisture reaching the foundation.
Ways to prevent them from digging near your foundation include removing planting that provides them safe cover and using a gravel or stone border.
Chipmunks getting into your home
Ground squirrels will not typically have any desire to enter your home but this does occasionally happen. In this case, it’s best to close other entrances and leave an exit open so they will leave on their own. They will not want to remain in your home.
Rarely will a chipmunk get close enough to a human or become aggressive to a human. It is possible however they may bite a person if they feel threatened. Chipmunks are not carriers of rabies but they may carry other rodent diseases such as salmonella, hantavirus, or plague. If bitten by a ground squirrel or any wild rodent, you should always call your doctor.
Chipmunk removal in Illinois
The eastern chipmunk and the thirteen-lined ground squirrels may be removed without a permit.
Franklins ground squirrels are listed as threatened in Illinois and may not be removed.
For professional chipmunk removal in Chicagoland call Attic Solutions (847) 464-1861
Attic Solutions can provide you with humane live animal removal services in the Chicagoland suburbs.
More chipmunk information:
About Ground Squirrels – University of Illinois Extension
How to Get Rid of Chipmunks – HGTV
What to Do About Chipmunks – Humane Society
Living With Chipmunks & Ground Squirrels – DuPage Forest Preserve