Chipmunks may look small, cute, and cuddly, but these critters are serious pests to homeowners and, when left out of control, can cause some severe damage to both your home and its surrounding property. Knowing how to catch a chipmunk is a skill that most of us have never learned.
Catching chipmunks is not an easy feat, but this article has compiled some of the easiest and most humane ways to catch a chipmunk.
Chipmunks are small animals that spend most of their time burrowing underground tunnels to have a place to nest and store food. Finding the best way to catch a chipmunk is essential because these rodents cause a lot more damage to our homes than you’d think.
Chipmunk infestations damage to house foundations, retaining walls, decks, and other surfaces. If you’re stuck wondering how to get rid of chipmunks without calling pest control, keep reading.
What are Chipmunks?
Various chipmunks are common all over North America, but the most popular is the Eastern chipmunk. Chipmunks are closely related to squirrels and have a variety of shapes and colors.
However, they are much smaller than squirrels and spend a large chunk of time in burrows. Chipmunks usually have rusty brown, red, grey, or black fur with stripes on their faces and backs.
Chipmunks populate quickly because they have two breeding seasons. The first breeding season takes place just after hibernation in the early spring, and the second takes place toward the final months of summer.
A litter includes up to eight babies, although at least half typically die from larger predators. Even though you want to learn how to catch a chipmunk because they cause damage, they also aren’t the best animals to have hanging around if you have children or pets.
Finding a solution to get rid of chipmunks is vital because these small rodents carry fleas, rabies, and other diseases that make us sick and sometimes become deadly.
On top of that, they cost homeowners hundreds of dollars after climbing up their bird feeders and eating all the seeds.
If you’re going to catch a chipmunk, it’s safe to assume that you’re going to perform a catch and release somewhere further from your home.
Some local laws allow homeowners to kill small animals but be sure to double-check before taking this action. If you have a chipmunk problem, skim through these methods to find the best way to catch a chipmunk that works for you.
How to Catch a Chipmunk
One of the most frequent ways to catch a chipmunk is to set up a type of animal trap. Humane animal traps, like a Havahart cage trap, lure the animal with chipmunk baits.
Bait can be bird seed, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, pet food, or another type of food source. The chipmunk smells the food and enters the wire cage while the door closes behind the rodent and prevents it from escaping.
Most trappers take the cage to a field far away from their homes and set the animals free so that they don’t return. This cage is a humane trap that ensures that the chipmunk gets to live in a better-suited environment than your home.
How to Make a Bucket Trap
Bucket traps are a type of live trap that you can make from items lying around your home. Once the chipmunk crawls up the trap, he drops into a bucket and cannot climb out.
Start by locating where you want to set up your trap. Check around your yard and in flower beds to spot fresh burrows.
Place the thin stick across the top of your bucket and lay the paint stirring stick perpendicular to it so that it reaches about halfway across the bucket’s opening.
Use the long piece of wood to create a ramp up to the stir stick. Find a chipmunk attractant, like bird seed or peanut butter. The bait placement should be on the very end of the stir stick.
For the trap to work, the chipmunk climbs up the ramp and across the stir stick that balances over the thinner stick.
Once the rodent moves past the thin stick, the stir stick that they are standing on flips, and they drop into the bucket with no way to get out. This trap is a common rodent trap that has a reasonably high catch rate.
The Best Way to Catch a Chipmunk
Whether you call it a snap trap, mouse trap, rat trap, or chipmunk trap, these devices are among the most common ways to catch and kill chipmunks.
Although they aren’t as humane as the catch and release method, they work well for those with a more extensive infestation.
Snap trap works by setting up bait that lures the chipmunks to the trap. Once the rodent’s weight sets off the trap, a metal bar snaps closed and instantly kills the animal.
When you purchase snap traps for catching chipmunks, make sure they are the appropriate size for the type of animal you’re dealing with.
Old School Chipmunk Traps
One of the best chipmunk and rodent traps is the classic box and rope trap. The downside to this chipmunk trap is that it takes the most work, but the upside is that it is effective and cruelty-free.
Locate the spot where you want the trap set, preferably near a tree, so that you can use the branches. Find a 12-by-12-foot cardboard box and remove the flaps with scissors.
Flip it upside down and cut two, two-inch holes in the top. Tie a long rope through the holes and throw the other end of the rope over a branch or another supporting structure.
Use the rope to lift the box, so it hovers about one foot off the ground, and tie the free end of the rope to a stake placed in the ground.
Dig a square hole directly under where the box is hanging, so it is about seven inches deep and fill the hole with pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
When the box drops, it should fit perfectly into the hole, so the chipmunk has no way to escape. Wait patiently and quietly for a chipmunk to enter the hole dug in the ground.
Once it’s in position, cut the rope, so the box drops over the rodent. Secure the trap with a larger plastic container and place a heavy object on the top to secure it.
Plants that Work as Chipmunk Repellent
One fantastic thing about being a homeowner is that you get to plant whatever you desire around your home and in your garden beds. There are plenty of natural repellents to use to keep chipmunks away from your home.
Plants like daffodils, peppermint, and garlic are deterrents to chipmunks. Planting a few of these around your house is one of the best ways to keep chipmunks at bay.
Homemade Chipmunk Spray
One of the least laborious ways to handle a chipmunk problem is to make a DIY repellent spray that chipmunks hate.
If you liberally spray this repellent into their burrows and around all areas with activity, this spray is one of the most effective tools to keep them from returning.
Bring about one quart of water to a boil in a large pot. Add two tablespoons of ground cayenne pepper to the water and two tablespoons of the olive oil. Mix so that everything is well combined.
Remove the cayenne mixture from the heat and let it cool until it reaches room temperature. Pour the cayenne pepper spray into a garden sprayer.
Walk around your property and thoroughly spray chipmunk burrows, sites with activity, and along the base of trees or other structures they climb.
Other Chipmunk Repellents
There are a few other repellent options if you’ve given up on catching chipmunks. Mothballs are available for purchase at most hardware stores and are toxic to chipmunks.
Spread the mothballs out around your garage, sheds, attic, and even inside their burrows. If you don’t want to use mothballs, various commercial repellents are available.
Most of these products include chemicals that work as either fungicides or pesticides and are a deterrent to most small rodents.
Should You Hire an Exterminator?
The best time to call pest control is when the infestation is beyond your efforts. If you’ve started noticing damage around your home, can’t catch chipmunks, and none of the repellents are working, it’s time to let a professional handle the situation.
While most people have no problems getting rid of chipmunks, there are still times where more help is required. Don’t be afraid to call your local exterminator and ask for advice if you don’t know what to do.
Seeing one or two chipmunks running around your yard isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. It’s when you spot several different ones with damage to your yard, home, flower, and garden beds that you should be concerned.
Although catching these animals may require you to dig deep and find your inner Boy Scout, it isn’t an impossible task and is possible with a little hard work.
If learning how to catch a chipmunk helped stop your infestation, share these tips for the best way to catch a chipmunk on Facebook and Pinterest.