Thursday, October 2, 2008

We've declared war

on the chipmunks.

Yes, yes, I know...they're really cute.
Cute, that is, until they become not cute.

Let me explain.
At the beginning of spring, they were adorable. Bright-eyed, furry little faces would peek out at me from between the rocks, scurrying every now and then across the ground to snatch the seeds that the birds had let drop from the feeder.

A month or so later, we noticed an increase of the bright-eyed, furry little faces. It was no longer an occasional scurry across the ground to the dropped seed was now a pretty constant back and forth from rocky hiding place to feeder and back. They were still cute, but the population explosion was a bit unnerving.

Then I began to notice things...unpleasant things...

No longer fearing being out in the open, they brazenly began climbing the feeders - literally sticking their faces into the feeder holes:

to gorge themselves on as many sunflower seeds as they could stuff in their chubby faces before I'd shoo them away:

Pounds and pounds of black sunflower seeds disappeared. The birds, too, disappeared because they couldn't get to their food before the chipmunks did. So we bought a funny little dome-thingy like this to keep the chipmunks from climbing the feeders (sorry, bad sun glare in photo):

This fazed them for about a minute. Then they quickly expanded their menu plan to include my suet. They clearly had no issues with being greasy: hanging by their feet to reach into the suet cages to pull out fistfuls of the seed-filled fat was just plain cool. Needless to say, my suet feeders now hang empty:

Therefore, it shouldn't have surprised me as much as it did, when I went out to cut the heads off my sunflowers to hang for the birds, that the chipmunks had beaten me to it:

I've learned first-hand that the cuteness of chipmunks loses its appeal after a while.

The worst of it is, now the little dudes have become destructive.
Repeatedly, I have found many of my potted outdoor plants to have large holes dug in them. Plants have been damaged and potting soil is scattered everywhere:

My barn has become a favored nesting spot and they are pulling and pushing the insulation out of the walls:

Oh, and regarding the insulation? They don't seem to have a preference between the pink or the yellow:

There are so many chipmunks around here now, that all their various hideouts are causing erosion within the retaining rock walls: they're burrowing along the foundation of the house...bad, bad, bad:

So, we bought some traps. The non-hurting kind, of course. Quicker than you can possibly imagine, we caught our first one:

Roxy was enthralled - these guys have been taunting her for months. She had a thing or two to say to him!:

Then we caught another:

Within a couple hours, we had three:

Cheeky little buggers:

No matter how cute they are, these chipmunks have, sadly, become nuisances who are destroying our yard and damaging our property. So, while this does not solve the mystery of who is eating my tomatoes, it's still time for them to live someplace else. I never realized that pest control was going to be such big a part of my farm life! Now: on to the MOLES!!

No chipmunks in this blog post were harmed in any way. :-)


  1. It cracks me up that they are causing all this damage and then you show them in a little "spa" with food and water. They are probably happy to have it so easily provide to them. You better take them for a LONG drive. I have heard stories of them makin their way back. Little buggers!

  2. I used to feel the same way about squirrels...till Rocky changed my heart. Chipmunks are a notch or two above squirrels in the "pugnacious" department however. You're a kind soul; I'd not be so merciful on them. Good luck in the war. Live traps are a farmer's best friend (next to his varmint gun)!

  3. HA! Wait. They seem to be getting some pretty fine accommodations after they are captured. Just how far are they being driven away? Mouse distance or even further?

    Im wondering if the bats are enjoying the company out in the barn.

  4. We used to have a chipmunk problem until we got our T-Bone. His eyes glaze over and gets this manic look, digs feverishly until he reaches the chipmunk, a few bone crushing bites and he's done. He is also a pro at getting moles too. Too bad we don't live closer, I'd rent him out. ;-)
    nw nature nut cracked me up with the spa comment. It is so true!

  5. I'm rather fond of the little rodents, however, no one likes a pushy neighbour. I guess it's a case of too much of a good thing. I'm glad you captured them and will be simply relocating their cute little bottoms further on up the road somewhere.

  6. You are very kind to capture them with a humane trap. So where are you gonna take them? There are a lot of them. I had to do that with a couple of possums that were trying to get my chickens. We released them several miles from here where they wouldn't bother anyone hopefully.

  7. Take them far, far away.......another state even. They will return like migrating lemmings...OR keep them in their little spa as entertainment for Roxy.:)

  8. Good luck in this adventure. I'm thinkin' that they're thinkin' that this spa life ain't so bad!

  9. As they say in New England....
    The Bass-tids!!
    Hope you find a rocky cliff to place them gently on far from your home!!!

  10. BoDog loves to chase chipmunks. He hasn't ever caught one, but he still loves the chase.
    I like your husband used to build some exactly like those to sell, a few years ago. He had small ones all the way up to the size to catch wild hogs.
    (just a little tidbit of info)
    I loved your pictures.
    Have a good day.

  11. I'm cracking up too at the chipmunk hilton you've provided these guys!! You're the best Danni. Sooo.....where are you relocating these guys? For once, I'm actually glad I don't live nearby!!

  12. We had plenty of chipmunks in our old orchard, they were especially fond of the large pine trees growing there, and we didn't have a problem with them YET.
    The problem was Bear.
    When he showed up, he declared war on the chipmunks and our orchard LOOKED like a battleground!!
    He would dig the rodents out, and being such a large dog, we had holes the size of bomb craters throughout the orchard.
    We would have to fill in these pits before we could mow, or risk damaging the lawnmower. They would range in size anyware from the size of a volleyball to the size of our riding lawnmower.
    He has eliminated all of the chipmunks and we no longer have an orchard that looks like the surface of the moon.
    Maybe you should package your little critters up and send them to "carolynn" or sell them on ebay to help pay for damages!

  13. Wow. They grow them smart out there: we have that kind of problem with pernicious little red squirrels, but our chipmunks stay on the ground (and eat crumbs left by the very sloppy squirrels). Then again, now that I think about that, maybe that strategy is part of their larger existential plan.

  14. So what did you end up doing with those little cuties? Did ya take my advice, huh, huh????

  15. I'm having the same problem with Sparrows, although when I speak of catching them, folks want to know how I'm going to kill them. They beg me not to make them someone else's problem.
    My wonderful FIL used to drown their chipmunks. :(

  16. If you feed them they will come...

    The only way to reduce a population is to decrease their food. Introducing a predator might help for a while, but will eventually make them stronger, smarter, and healthier. Cut their access to grain, bird seed, and the garden, and they will quickly go away. Or, you could import some Jedi cats and launch a full scale war like I did with the mice.

  17. The goatmother has a bird feed pole like yours, complete with baffle. If you hang the suet around the middle where the two hooks come from (and above the baffle) the chipmunks and squirrels can't get to it. That is 'if' you do not have the pole near any trees (they are world-class jumpers). The goatmother put chicken wire in the tops of all her pots. When the bird feeders were moved farther from the house, the chipmunks were less apt to dig in the pots to hide their pilfered booty. As for the insulation...well, that is mostly Douglas squirrels here in WA. A word of warning though...the chipmunks built a nest under the hood of the RAV4 near the heater and the 'family' ended up seeing quite a bit of the country before they were discovered. It is a wonder they didn't fall out. So keep your 'fresh air' vents closed when your vehicles are parked. :) To top it off, all of the nest couldn't be removed and the car had to be taken to the Toyota dealer (who rolled his eyes and said it was nothing new).

  18. Well , now that you have 3, Alvin,Simon, and Theodore,you will be a hit while they sing through the holidays!!

  19. They have this awesome bird feeder that spins the squirrel or chipmunk around and around and then throws them across the yard. It is very fun!

  20. They are a pain, you need a crazy dog to spook them off. Our dog, Callie keeps most the critters at a distance.

  21. My grandpa had a similar problem and his solution was to befriend the 'munks. He trained one in particular to come and eat from his hand. He had incredible patience and just sat on his porch with a handful of seeds. Evenetually, he got to where he could pick him up by the tail while the munk ate. He named him Edgar Snyder, after an ambulance chaser in Pittsburgh who always had his mug on bad tv adverts! Anyhow, train them! Alvin, Simon and Theodore would be proud!

  22. HAHA, they look so funny in that cage with the chick water dispenser. So where are you putting them? Pictures!!! :D I'm glad you aren't killing them...our cats have, by themselves, declared war. I get a dead chipmunk on my tackroom floor every other day, minimum. :-( poor little rodents!

  23. Hahaha, love the Chipmunk Hotel. It's amazing how something so teeny can be so destructive!

  24. we also face these kind of situation. thanks for the solution


I ♥ it when you leave a comment.