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Can Chipmunks Be Relocated? (Plus Better Alternatives)

Can Chipmunks Be Relocated? (Plus Better Alternatives)

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Chipmunks are small rodents that sometimes appear in residential areas. Once their numbers grow, they can be seen as a nuisance and may disrupt the peace in your home.

You start wondering whether chipmunks can be relocated. While it’s possible, translocation isn’t recommended by researchers and scientists.

This article will guide you on safely relocating a chipmunk, and also explore the possible effects of relocating them. Additionally, we’ll teach you alternatives to keep these rodents away from your home.

How to Relocate a Chipmunk

Before setting up a trap, ensure your local regulations allow you to relocate chipmunks. You may contact your wildlife office and ask them for advice.

Once you confirm you can trap and release chipmunks, ensure the trap won’t injure or cause them harm.

Once you catch a chipmunk, you should relocate them 5–10 miles away from your home. This will reduce its chances of coming back significantly. .

Why You Should Consider Relocating a Chipmunk

Chipmunks create habitats in forests, woodland edges, and shrubberies. They thrive in spaces with adequate food resources. Then, the greenery provides them shelter and cover from potential predators.

However, some chipmunk territories survive in rural and urban spaces, making encounters with humans possible.

One concern with chipmunks is they can cause property damage. Keep in mind that chipmunks are burrowing and digging animals, which means they create shelters underground.

Their burrows can cause structural damage under houses, decks, and on sidewalks. Additionally, chipmunks can affect gardens by digging under them and eating any available food source.

Another concern with chipmunk populations is they’re possible carriers of various diseases. Rodents, like chipmunks, can spread diseases such as Hantavirus, Lyme disease, and salmonellosis.

Humans can contract these diseases through chipmunk droppings, getting contact with infected chipmunks, or getting bitten by ticks.

Drawbacks of Relocating a Chipmunk

When humans encounter wildlife in their living spaces, we immediately think of ways to relocate them. However, this may pose more risks to the animal than the benefit we can get from it.

Unfamiliar Territory

Chipmunks build their nests where there is a reliable food source and cover from predators. When dumped in a new area, they have fewer chances of survival.

First, chipmunks have to fight with other animals for a food source and a nest. Then, they’re at risk of being eaten by predators.

A study showed that 97% of relocated squirrels didn’t survive or disappear within three months. In that sense, relocating chipmunks to unfamiliar territory can only lead to their probable death.

Leaving Their Young Behind

When you spot an adult chipmunk, especially during the breeding season, there’s a possibility of a den nearby.

Trapping and relocating the chipmunk can mean leaving two to six babies behind. Since their young rely on their milk for survival, getting orphaned may lead to their untimely death.

Imbalance to Wildlife

A chipmunk in your area is part of its ecosystem. Once an animal is absent from its habitat, another one will replace it. Further, a more invasive species will settle in and build their territory in your area.

Additionally, chipmunks are omnivores, and a large part of their diet consists of eating seeds, nuts, small insects, and even earthworms.

Once there’s an absence of chipmunks, vegetation can grow sparse as there are no longer chipmunks that can help spread seeds. In contrast, there might be an overpopulation of insects and other small animals chipmunks feed on.

Alternatives to Relocating a Chipmunk

If you’re unsure about trapping and releasing chipmunks, there are a few ways you can drive them out without harming them.

If you find an opening to burrows in your garden or under your porch, ensure there are no occupants before doing repairs. You can do this by blocking the hole with torn-up sheets of paper.

An untouched opening (up to four days) means the den has been vacated. You can block any possible point of entry by using silicone or caulk.

However, if you see the papers were moved away, it’s possible a chipmunk has nested and is taking care of her young. Denning season only lasts two months, and babies are weaned after this period. It’s best to wait until it’s over.

Alternatively, you can spray apple cider vinegar in areas where they frequent and at the entrance of their burrows. Chipmunks are not particularly fond of the smell of vinegar and may be deterred from returning.

Then, doing some maintenance work can also discourage them from entering our yards and houses.

Clean up any fallen debris around your yard to prevent them from making nests. Then, move bird feeders around 15–30 feet from your home. Clear the ground of any fallen bird seeds, since these can attract chipmunks and other wildlife.

Finally, if you have a garden, ensure the foliage is trimmed back and away from your fences to prevent chipmunks from getting in.

Final Thoughts

While relocating chipmunks is the first solution that comes to mind, it’s not as friendly as we think it is. Instead of relocating them, there are a few steps we can do around our home such as blocking entryways and cleaning up.

This way, the tiny rodents are discouraged from entering our spaces, and we can cohabitate peacefully with them


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