A-z - Animals

Chipmunk Holes: How To Identify And Fill A Chipmunk Hole

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key point:

  • Chipmunks are less likely to damage your property. In fact, the Humane Society says there are no documented cases of this happening.
  • A chipmunk's burrow entrance is 2-3 inches in diameter and is level with the ground.
  • The many pockets in the burrow allow chipmunks to store food, use the toilet, and give birth to chipmunk babies. These usually surround the larger nesting area where the chipmunk sleeps.

Chipmunks are cute little animals! They can also seem mysterious because we don't see them most of their lives. You may have noticed chipmunk holes in your yard and wondered what the structure beneath the soil looks like. Or maybe you've had enough and want to stuff them in a way that doesn't harm the animals.

In this article, we'll talk more about chipmunk holes, what they look like, and how to fill them.

What does a chipmunk burrow look like?

Chipmunks play near their den in Colorado
Chipmunk burrows are 2-3 inches in diameter.

©Ryan Narron/Shutterstock.com

Chipmunk burrows are 2-3 inches in diameter. They don't have mounds like mole holes or anthills. Instead, they lay flat on the ground. Inside, a chipmunk's burrow is a complex little home made up of multiple entrances, some of which may be plugged and no longer used by chipmunks. Caves also have "insert holes," which lead to tunnels straight down.

The many pockets in the burrow allow chipmunks to store food, use the toilet, and give birth to chipmunk babies. These usually surround the larger nesting area where the chipmunk sleeps.

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Finally, the bottom of the burrow has some drainage tunnels that collect water, keeping chipmunks dry and safe under the soil.

Chipmunk burrows have grown more complex over time – like lucky humans upgrading to bigger houses, except the chipmunks just build their extensions! Chipmunks also often have multiple burrows. Some are shallower and used as quick hiding places while foraging, while their nesting burrows are larger and more complex.

The burrows can go three feet deep into the ground and extend up to thirty feet long!

How do chipmunks make holes?

Chipmunks burrow by digging. They first dig straight down, then dig a tunnel parallel to the ground, and finally build their nest. Over time, they dig tunnels out of their nests to their nests.

These pockets are primarily used to store food, but chipmunks also have a designated "bathroom" within the burrow and a pocket away from the main nest.

How many chipmunks live in a hole?

Closeup of Eastern Chipmunk
Only one chipmunk lives in each burrow.

© iStock.com/rodmacpherson

Chipmunks are solitary animals, and they interact primarily during mating season. Chipmunks live alone unless a chipmunk mother takes care of her pups. They are also very territorial and will defend the boundaries around their burrows with loud chippers and chucks.

Where does the dirt go when chipmunks dig holes?

It was said earlier that there are no piles of dirt around chipmunk holes. You might be wondering, where does all this dirt go if it doesn't come to the surface?

Chipmunks store dirt in their cheek pouches as they dig. They later brought it out of the cave and scattered it on the ground.

Torpor's Oriental Chipmunk
Chipmunks go into torpor to survive the cold winter.

©Breck P. Kent/Shutterstock.com

Does the chipmunk burrow have two entrances?

Chipmunk burrows can have multiple entrances, depending on the size of the burrow. Usually, there is more than one entrance, and if the cave is large and old, there may be more than one.

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How do you get rid of chipmunks naturally?

The Humane Society makes a good case for keeping chipmunks. Their main argument? Look at those cute little faces!

Jokes aside, chipmunks are very unlikely to damage your property. In fact, the Humane Society says there are no documented cases of this happening. This appears to be just a rumor spread by pest control companies to make money. The damage a chipmunk can do is usually limited to gardens.

You can keep chipmunks away by using humane deterrents, such as planting daffodils and alliums. A gravel border and L-shaped footer can keep chipmunks away from your property, even a part of it if you choose.

Removing debris where chipmunks can hide, including rocks, logs, and dense vegetation, will also reduce the chances of them hanging out in your yard.

chipmunk cheeks stuffed with peanuts
Chipmunks have cheek pouches that they use to transport food to their burrows.

© Fiona M. Donnelly/Shutterstock.com

chipmunk inside the house

If a chipmunk is in your house, try confining it in one room. Of course, keep your pets out so they don't eat the little ones! Once you have isolated it, open the doors and windows of that room, and leave, the chipmunk will run free on its own. If this solution doesn't work, try setting a live trap with peanut butter bait or using a towel to catch chipmunks.

Always put your safety first. Wear heavy gloves when handling chipmunks, act quickly, and release them immediately.

Once a chipmunk is caught, it can be released into the yard. If you're not sure how it got inside, look for holes two inches in diameter or larger in your interior or exterior walls.

Should you fill chipmunk holes?

Chipmunks play near their den in Colorado
Chipmunk holes can be filled with gravel, or used as a humane deterrent.

©Ryan Narron/Shutterstock.com

After reading the above, you may see chipmunks in a new light and know that, according to the Humane Society, chipmunks are less likely to damage buildings. But maybe you still don't want holes in your yard.

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Chipmunks' holes can be filled with dirt, but they'll likely dig them out again. While filling the hole with cat litter is recommended, it is not recommended. It will stop the chipmunk from burrowing again, with the added bonus of smelling like a predator, but it's not good for the environment or human health.

Cat urine often contains a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii . This is harmless to them, but can be transmitted to humans and cause toxoplasmosis.

Many people can get toxoplasmosis and have no symptoms, but it tends to affect pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems more often. Severe cases of toxoplasmosis can cause damage to the eyes, brain, and other organs.

Try filling the hole with gravel instead of cat litter. It's loose and green, and it's hard for chipmunks to create new burrows in it.

Where do chipmunks live?

Chipmunks are found throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The Siberian chipmunk ranges from the White Sea in northwestern Russia through Siberia to northern Japan and China.

Chipmunks are commonly found in forests, woodlands, meadows, and in yards and gardens with nut trees and bird feeders.

Chipmunks have striped coats.

© Gilles Gonthier/Creative Commons

keep chipmunks away forever

However, it's important to know that filling the hole won't keep chipmunks away from them forever, and they may continue to dig new holes nearby to access their burrows.

To keep chipmunks out longer, try planting something they don't like, using a gravel border, or fencing your yard. As long as the fence goes deep enough into the ground and there are no holes for the chipmunks to walk through, it should keep them out.

next…

  • Ground Squirrels vs Chipmunks: 5 Key Differences: Spot the difference between these two adorable backyard rodents!
  • Chipmunk Sounds: How to Recognize a Chipmunk by Sound: Learn the sounds chipmunks make. They have to sound as cute as they look!
  • Do Chipmunks Hibernate? : They seem to be very busy in the fall – collecting nuts and storing them in their burrows. So, do they hibernate?