Charlottesville, VA Chipmunk Removal & Control
Chipmunk Removal in Charlottesville Virginia. The eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus), is a member of the squirrel family and is common throughout Richmond and Charlottesville Virginia and the rest of the eastern United States. Chipmunks are usually found in mature woodlands and woodlot edges, but they also inhabit areas in and around suburban and rural homes such as around ornamental plantings, rockpiles, outbuildings and below patios and building foundations. Although they are mostly burrowing rodents, they regularly climb oak trees in the fall to gather acorns. Around residences, they sometimes use downspouts and overhanging trees to gain access to rooftops. Our Wildlife Removal Experts are pros at chipmunk removal.
Most people enjoy watching chipmunks. They are cute little mammals whose antics often make us laugh. They are also a part of the food chain in the wildlife community. Chipmunks prey upon various insects, and the chipmunks themselves serve as prey for various predators. Moreover, their food habits influence the growth of various plants.
But chipmunks can also be serious destructive pests when they become numerous around homes and gardens. The burrowing activity of chipmunks can cause significant structural damage by undermining foundations, concrete patios and steps, retaining walls and sidewalks. They may also be destructive to gardens when they dig up and eat bulbs and seeds or attack garden fruits. This is why you should call a professional for expert chipmunk removal.
The eastern chipmunk is a small brownish ground-dwelling squirrel 5-6 inches long, with two pale and five blackish longitudinal stripes on its back, and two pale and two brownish stripes on each side of the face. The rump is reddish brown; the tail is 3-4 inches long and is hairy. Chipmunks normally weigh 2 and 4 ounces.
Sometimes the chipmunk is confused with another ground squirrel, the thirteen-lined ground squirrel (also called “striped gopher”). The thirteen-lined ground squirrel is yellowish, lacks the facial stripes, and the tail is not as bushy as the chipmunk’s. And, as this squirrel’s name implies, it possesses 13 stripes extending from the shoulder to the tail on each side and back. When startled a ground squirrel carries the tail horizontally along the ground; the chipmunk carries the tail upright.
Chipmunk Biology and Behavior
The diet of chipmunks consists of various kinds of nuts, berries and seeds, but they also eat mushrooms, insects and carrion. Chipmunks cache food in their burrows throughout the year.
The burrows of chipmunks often are well-hidden near buildings (such as basements and garages), gardens, stumps, woodpiles or brush-piles. The burrow entrance is usually about 2 inches in diameter. There are no obvious mounds around the burrow entrance because the chipmunk carries the dirt in its cheek pouches and scatters it on the ground away from the burrow to make the burrow entrance less conspicuous.
In most cases, the chipmunk’s main tunnel is between 20 and 30 feet in length, but complex burrow systems occur where cover is sparse. Burrow systems normally include a nesting chamber, one or two food storage chambers, various side pockets connecting to the main tunnel, and separate escape tunnels.
Chipmunks are generally solitary and protect their territories except during courtship, or when the young are developing. Mating occurs two times a year: during early spring and again during the summer or early fall. There is a 31 day gestation period. Two to five young are born in the spring (e.g., early May ) and during August – October. The young are sexually mature within one year. Adults may live for up to three years. Young appear for the first time above ground when they are 2/3 full size. The average territory of a chipmunk is about 1/4 to 1/2 acre, but the adult usually only defends an area about fifty feet around the burrow entrance. Chipmunks are most active during the early morning and late afternoon.
Populations of chipmunks average between 2 and 4 animals per acre. The home ranges often overlap among the individuals. However, populations as high as 10 chipmunks per acre are possible if sufficient food and cover are available.
With the onset of cold weather, chipmunks enter a restless hibernation during late fall or early winter and are relatively inactive during the winter months. Some individuals, however, are occasionally active on warm, sunny days during the winter. Most chipmunks have emerged from hibernation by early March.
Chipmunk Removal & Control
Wherever possible, chipmunks should be excluded from buildings. Hardware cloth, caulking, or other appropriate materials should be used to close openings where they may gain entry.
Trapping is the most practical method of eliminating chipmunks in most homeowner situations. Either live-catch wire-mesh traps, or common rat snap traps can be used to catch chipmunks.
Effective baits for live-catching chipmunks include nutmeats, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, raisins, prune slices, or almost any of the common breakfast cereal grains. Place the trap along the pathways where chipmunks have been seen frequently. The trap should be securely placed so there is no movement of the trap when the animal enters. Trap movement may prematurely set off the trap and scare the chipmunk away. A helpful tip is to “pre-bait” the trap for 2-3 days by wiring the trap doors open. This will condition the chipmunk to associate the “new metal object” in its territory with the “new free food source”. When the chipmunk is actively feeding on the bait in and around the trap, set the trap. Live-catch traps can be purchased from local hardware stores, or rented from local animal shelters.
Traps should be checked frequently to remove captured chipmunks. Release any unwanted animals caught in live traps. Avoid direct contact with trapped chipmunks. Live captured chipmunks may be transported and released several miles from point of capture with written permission of the land owner.
Common rat snap-traps can also be used to dispose of nuisance chipmunks. The same baits used for live traps can be used for snap-traps, but they should be tied to the trap trigger. Another excellent bait is peanut butter smeared on the bottom of the trigger. As with the live traps, it is best to pre-bait the traps by not setting the trap until the animal has been conditioned to steal the baits safely for 2-3 days. Small amounts of extra bait may be placed around the traps to make them more attractive. Set the snap-traps perpendicular to the chipmunk’s pathway or in pairs along the travel routes with the triggers facing away from each other. Set the trigger arm so that the trigger is sensitive and easily sprung. Traps can be placed underneath cardboard boxes with 2″ diameter holes cut into their ends to protect birds from interacting with the traps. If snap-traps cannot be isolated from children, pets or wildlife, use live-catch traps.
Where shooting is legal, use a small-gauge shotgun or a .22 caliber rifle with bird shot or C.B. cap loads. Chipmunks are nervous and alert, so they make difficult targets. The best time to attempt shooting is on bright sunny days during the early morning.
There are no poison baits commercially available to the homeowner to kill chipmunks. Baits which are used against rats and mice in and around homes will also kill chipmunks, although they are not labeled for such use and can not be recommended. Moreover, chipmunks that die from consuming a toxic bait inside structures may create an odor problem for several days.
Source – http://www3.ag.purdue.edu/entm/wildlifehotline/pages/chipmunks.aspx
Chipmunks are usually classified as a nuisance pest species due to their digging and burrowing habits, particularly around houses and landscaping in Richmond and Charlottesville VA. Don’t fear, our technicians are chipmunk removal experts. The most common complaints include the following:
- Digging holes and tunnels around house
- Digging up the yard
- Living in rock walls or even house walls
For these reasons, many people wish to have nuisance chipmunk trapped and removed.
How to Get Rid of Chipmunks
To get rid of chipmunks, you need to think like a chipmunk—at least initially. Survey your yard. What are the areas which lure these rodents to your property? If you live near a wooded area, the chance of getting rid of chipmunks altogether is slim. In forested regions, your best bet is to defend against the little creatures that lurk on the outskirts of your yard. Keep your property well maintained. Clean up any piles of debris. Chipmunks like to burrow, and if they can burrow under cover they will be that much happier. Once your property is free of unnecessary clutter, you should take the time needed and seal up any cracks or holes along foundations that might entice a chipmunk intruder. Gardens are also a huge draw for these animals. Chipmunks will raid a garden before a bird feeder, though they won’t pass up the opportunity to steal from the birds.
Because trapping and removal of chipmunks can be a tedious task, most homeowners opt to try scare tactics prior to catch and removal. The most common method of chipmunk removal that customers try is mothballs (Note: Mothballs DO NOT work for wildlife removal, animal control, animal management and pest control. It is a violation of Federal and State law to use pesticides for any purpose other than what they are approved. The pesticide label is the law). The use of this highly toxic chemical is as varied as the people trying it. Some people say to hide it in socks around the yard. Other people say to sprinkle the small spheres around the perimeter of lawns and gardens. No matter how and where you decide to do this, it is likely that you will meet with the same results—absolutely no change in your chipmunk issue. Mothballs and other scent deterrents like fox urine will not remove chipmunks out of your yard. The little beasties will just avoid any chemicals that irritate them, and neither is potent enough outside to provide any kind of invisible barrier. If you skipped over the chemical restraints and went right to the owl decoy, you probably weren’t any more successful in getting rid of chipmunks than you would have been with the mothballs. Owl and other predator statues are fakes. Just as we know they aren’t real, chipmunks know they aren’t real, too.
Lethal traps include large snap traps, body gripping traps, and “zapper” traps, which send a lethal current of electricity through the chipmunk once it enters the container. Lethal trapping is advised in areas of high chipmunk populations, though it is important to remember that you will be hard pressed to completely eliminate chipmunks from your property. General exclusion methods for prevention are the most effective, keeping the number of chipmunks in the yard at a minimum. If you have a true rodent infestation, it is still a better idea to use a program of vigilant trapping instead of poison. Our wildlife control technicians are chipmunk removal experts.
CHIPMUNK BIOLOGY AND INFORMATION
Chipmunks are adorable and very small animals that are related to the squirrel. Chipmunks are found all over the North American continent and in some parts of Asia. Chipmunks are most readily recognized by their big puffy cheeks and coloring. The coat color of a chipmunk will vary greatly depending on the species. It can be reddish-brown with darker stripes that start on the sides of the head and end at the tail, or its coat can be multi-colored with alternating black and white stripes. The chipmunk is one of the smallest rodents, rarely getting bigger than 8 inches long or weighing more than 2 ounces.
Chipmunks can live in nearly any environment from mountains to deserts. As long as there are shrubs and minimal food sources, a chipmunk can survive. However, they prefer environments that offer a lot of undergrowth such as forests or valleys to protect them from predators. Chipmunks build their homes in a variety of different places from burrows with tunnels and dens to building a nest in a hollow tree or a log. The natural predators for chipmunks include snakes, owls, hawks, weasels, raccoons, foxes and dogs. However, even with this long list of predators, the average life expectancy for these little critters is 3 years. Chipmunk removal can help control nuisance chipmunk populations.
Chipmunks are omnivores which make it possible for them to survive in a variety of different areas. The main sources of food for chipmunks are grains, nuts, fruits, insects and berries. When eating, the chipmunk will stand on its hind legs and grid its food down to manageable bites. Chipmunks, like any other squirrel, are food hoarders. They will stash the food they find in their enormous cheeks until they can make it back to their den where they will hoard the food in a food chamber. This cache of food is very important to the chipmunks’ survival during the winter because they hibernate, but unlike other animals they do not have any fat to sustain them so they must eat periodically from their cache during the hibernation.
Chipmunks do not like to be around each other; in fact the only time that chipmunks interact is during mating season. During the mating season, a female chipmunk will give a shrill, chirping sound that attracts the male chipmunks. Males will also put on a loud and extravagant show to impress the lady chipmunks. The male during breeding season will chatter loudly and make gesturing with his bushy tail. Ironically, these gestures are the same to issue warnings of danger to other chipmunks or the signal that they are about to fight each other.
The male chipmunk will stay close to the female during the thirty day gestation period and during the first few weeks of the young’s life. The usual litter size is 2-8 young and the young will stay close to the den to learn all the necessary life skills before leaving to make dens of their own. Chipmunks will sexually mature very early and the overall population of chipmunks can explode as easily as it can decline.
As of right now, chipmunks are not in any danger of becoming extinct, even though some populations where having a chipmunk population is highly undesirable may be on the decline. Usually chipmunks and humans will get along just fine, but chipmunks do carry diseases that they can pass on to other animals and they can destroy a vegetable garden in no time. Let our Chipmunk Removal experts help.
For chipmunk removal, wildlife removal, animal control, animal management and pest control services in the Richmond and Charlottesville Virginia areas call us at (434) 260-7077. You can also visit us on the web at Wildlife Removal in Virginia or Richmond Animal Removal.