Chipmunks are amusing little animals that can severely damage your yard and foundations with their burrowing. The damage can go undetected for years due to the fact that chipmunks don't leave piles of dirt where they burrow. They carry the dirt away in their cheek pouches so as to deter predators from their burrow entrances.
Chipmunks are opportunistic feeders, enjoying a diet of seeds from birdfeeders, flower bulbs and seedlings. They are most active in the warmer months, venturing close to home for food and taking up a territory of about a half an acre.
The eastern chipmunk is the most common of the species and can be found through most of the eastern US. The eastern chipmunk is about 5-6 inches long, with black and tan longitudinal stripes. The least chipmunk is another species. Much smaller, the least chipmunk is found in the Rocky Mountain region and parts of the Midwest and Canada. The least chipmunk is only 3 to 4 inches long and can be grey or tan.
Chipmunks do not hibernate fully. They become less active during the fall and winter, although they can emerge from their burrows to find food on sunny, winter days.
Their complex burrow systems can be 20 to 30 feet in length and can easily undermine structures and landscapes. The burrows consist of nesting chambers, food chambers and a number of escape routes.
Chipmunks are difficult pests to manage but a few easy steps can help reduce infestations. When planting ground cover and shrubs near homes, plant in a non-continuous pattern to reduce chipmunk habitats. Keep bird feeders away from buildings so that spilled seed doesn't attract chipmunks to foundation areas. Lastly, make sure any entrances to foundations are sealed with mesh screens to keep out the chipmunks and other pests.