Chipmunks are Cute, But Not When They Are Burrowing on your Property

Reader Contribution by Elizabeth Gatto
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If you have chipmunks coming onto your land, chances are they are eating from your garden or burrowing in areas that can cause damage to your home and property.  They are attracted by food such as seeds, flower bulbs, fruit, and vegetables and since you take pride in these items on your property, we have some suggestions for how you can prevent chipmunks from making them their next meal. 

The first deterrent we will discuss is a bird decoy.  Large birds overhead will often scare them away, especially owls, hawks, and eagles. So, you may find that you have some success with decoys. These are plastic versions of the animal itself, come in a variety of animal forms and can be placed on the roof. When the chipmunk captures a glimpse of these decoy-predators, they could believe they are about to get hunted and scamper off. What is not so good here is that they will often scamper off back below ground level, which doesn’t really help you to get rid of them at all. Now they’re just underground, waiting for the predator – the decoy – to go away and when they pop up to see if it’s gone, they will burrow back down again.  Therefore, these are not very effective.

The next method is purchasing a wildlife eviction fluid such as raccoon eviction fluid.  It comes in various forms, but in the case of chipmunks, usually contains the urine and other gland secretions of various wildlife that would normally be a predator for the chipmunk. Foxes, coyote, and bobcats are all used for this, and it can have a certain degree of success, but usually only when the chipmunk is female and believes her youngsters are in danger. Again, these creatures are above-ground predators, and all the time the chipmunk is below ground, it is relatively safe.

By far, the most effective solution when it comes to getting rid of chipmunks, as well as a whole host of other nuisance wildlife, is to remove the food that attracted them in the first place. For chipmunks, as well as a raccoons and opossums, it could be a bird feeder. You can easily remove the seeds from your birdfeeder, and see if they move on.  However, if they are going after your flower bulbs or your vegetable garden, you cannot easily dig up your plants and move them indoors. 

But in the Garden…

If they are eating your plants, a protective barrier is the best chipmunk prevention approach to take.  Mesh wiring is made out of a durable metal, and it provides the perfect barrier for various wild critters, as long as you make sure the holes between the wires aren’t too big. If they are too large, the chipmunk can just scoot right through them.  Smaller mesh wiring and chicken wire is not so easy to fit through, and it won’t be easy to chew through either.

If you have certain areas of your garden that are hit quite a lot, or you have plants growing that are well-known to provide food for chipmunks, it is well worth creating an underground fencing system around them also. In order to do this, you must start by digging a trench that is between one to two feet deep, entirely circling the patch of ground you wish to protect. In that trench, you will add a vertical fence or mesh wiring, positioning it so that it has a couple-of-inch long horizontal barrier at the bottom of your 1-2 foot vertical one. This prevents the chipmunk from coming straight in, via an underground tunnel. Even if it were to dig down, with the intention of coming back up the other side of the barrier, they wouldn’t be able to because of that horizontal section you added. When you fill the trench back in again with the soil that you initially took out of it, making sure the wiring/fence system is entirely secure and can’t be moved, you have an underground barrier that works really well. For added protection, try using a mixture of soil and coarse pebbles or stones to fill the trench. The burrowing creatures don’t like large or coarse stones and pebbles that much.

Above ground, you could add more fencing and netting. If you make it a few feet high, you can protect the land from various wild critters, chipmunks included. If you attach netting at the top of the fence, or even add a full “cage” or box of mesh wiring, stretched over a wooden frame, you have protection all the way around, leaving no access point.  If you have the option, you could go around the entire perimeter of your land using this trench and mesh-wire fencing method, making sure that animals can’t even get onto your land, let alone anywhere close to the food that it might contain. That, combined with an above-ground fence, can work rather well for overall protection, but might not prove to be cost-effective if you have a large land area to cover.  Not only is this expensive and a lot of work, some homeowners don’t like the idea of how this makes your property or garden look.

The good news about chipmunks is that they are very easy to scare off. They do not like coming into contact with humans at all. In fact, we’re one of their biggest predators so they will leave if they come into contact with you.  The more repellents you use, the more success you will have, but you must remember that all of these deterrent-based solutions come with varying degrees of success, effort, and cost. The bad news is that if natural repellents were as good as they make out to be, professional wildlife removal experts wouldn’t be a necessary and valued service, which it is, more so now than ever.  Good luck with your chipmunk eviction, if you find you are not having success, there are professional wildlife removal experts that can guarantee to help you by humanely removing chipmunks the first time.

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