The eastern chipmunk provides for the bulk or our service calls regarding small mammal control. Eastern chipmunks are found throughout Illinois and are very common throughout our service area.
Eastern chipmunks inhabit mature woods and suburban and urban areas. They feed on numerous seeds, berries, nuts, insects, carrion, young birds and bird eggs.
Chipmunk burrows are often associated with objects that enable them to hide their burrow entrance. Customers often find burrows located near wood piles, stumps, and cement stoops. The burrows can be quite large and be as much as 30 feet long. Chipmunks, while constructing their den sites, remove dirt as they excavate by placing the dirt and debris in their cheek pouches and depositing the dirt away from the den entrance. The den consists of a nesting chamber, numerous food storage chambers, side chambers and numerous escape tunnels.
Chipmunks are most active in their foraging activities in the early morning and late afternoon. When fall arrives chipmunks enter hibernation and are not usually seen again until March the following spring. Numerous foodstuff are cached in the storage chambers and if the weather turns warmer chipmunks will feed upon these stored seeds, nuts, etc..
Breeding for this species takes place two times a year, early spring and late summer/early fall. Offspring range from 2 to 5 young born April to May, and again in August to October. Gestation is approximately 31 days.
Damage and homeowner complaints consist of unwanted burrowing and damage to landscape plantings due to foraging activities. The burrowing, associated with high populations of the animals, can be quite extensive resulting in structural damage to walks, driveways and patios. Landscape and ornamental plantings can be destroyed due to soil removal and root destruction of seed seeking chipmunks.
The most effective method of control is habitat control and the trapping and relocation of the problem animals.
Copyright by Prairie State Wildlife 2023.