Skip to Content

Do Chipmunks Climb Trees? (2 Reasons Why They Do)

Do Chipmunks Climb Trees? (2 Reasons Why They Do)

Share this post:

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

If you’re wondering, “Do chipmunks climb trees?” The answer is yes.

Chipmunks can easily climb trees. However, they do it only occasionally as these animals spend most of their time on the ground.

Chipmunks are kind of good climbers, yet they aren’t as skilled as other rodents, like rats and squirrels.

In this post, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about chipmunks’ climbing abilities.

We’ll also provide you with tips and tricks to keep chipmunks away from your backyard and home.

Why Do Chipmunks Climb Trees? Two Main Reasons

There are two primary reasons why chipmunks climb trees. Here they are:

1 – To Obtain Food

Chipmunks are foodies; they’ll go out of their way to obtain more food. That’s why the most common reason they climb trees is to reach delicious food like nuts and acorns.

These nuts grow at heights within trees. That way, chipmunks have to climb to access them.

Chipmunks eat some of these nuts and store the rest to consume during the winter when they experience food scarcity.

In addition, some chipmunks, like the lodgepole chipmunk, climb trees to steal bird food from their nests.

2 – To Escape Predators

The second main reason chipmunks climb trees is to hide from predators.

The small size of these animals makes them vulnerable to being preyed upon by various predators. These predators include raccoons, foxes, coyotes, birds, and snakes.

Chipmunks typically protect themselves from predators by digging burrows and hiding in them. Though, in some cases, climbing a tree becomes the only resort for these mammals to survive.

Still, there’s always a high risk that chipmunks may fall from the tree when climbing fast.

Do Chipmunks Nest in Trees?

Chipmunks live in areas with a myriad of trees and shrubs. Nonetheless, they don’t nest in trees.

These animals live in such areas as they provide cover for them from potential predators.

How High Do Chipmunks Climb?

There’s no precise information about how high chipmunks can climb. Nonetheless, they generally don’t climb too high. Instead, they try to stay as close to the ground as possible.

That’s because chipmunks have delicate claws, making them less capable of climbing high than most other rodents.

Additionally, because their climbing abilities are limited, chipmunks might get injured while ascending or navigating through trees.

How High Do Chipmunks Jump?

Chipmunks can jump up to three feet despite their significantly short legs. However, the exact height a chipmunk can jump depends on its size and activity level.

Not only can chipmunks jump upward to climb objects, but they also can leap between structures.

This includes navigating from one tree branch to another or from the wall to a nearby structure.

Can Chipmunks Climb Walls?

Yes, chipmunks can climb walls, but not all types of walls. These animals can only climb walls with rough textures and wide spaces between their stones.

Nonetheless, if they attempt to climb a smooth or plastered wall, they won’t be able to grip their claws onto it. As a result, they’ll likely fail to ascend.

Can Chipmunks Climb Fences?

Chipmunks can climb certain types of fences, like large ones with wide wood beams.

The rough wood surface of such fences allows chipmunks to grip with their claws and climb with minimal effort.

On the other hand, chain link fences can be highly challenging for a chipmunk to climb.

These fences have considerably narrow gaps, which makes it difficult for chipmunks to maintain their balance.

That way, some chipmunks might succeed in climbing this type of fence, yet the majority will fail.

Can Chipmunks Climb Poles?

Chipmunks can’t climb steel poles, but they can climb wooden ones.

The reason is that wooden poles have a texture that suits the movement of the legs and claws of chipmunks. This makes climbing them much easier.

Chipmunks use the rear and front toes to grip the wood of the pole and move upward.

Which Chipmunk Is the Best Climber?

One of the best chipmunk climbers is the lodgepole chipmunk. These chipmunks can climb notably higher than any other chipmunk.

In addition, they’re known as” food robbers” due to their cleverness in stealing food from bird nests.

Where Do Chipmunks Live?

Chipmunks live in underground burrows. These burrows can reach a length of up to 30 feet and a depth of 3 feet. They consist of many tunnels and chambers.

Chipmunks use some chambers in burrows to hibernate during winter.

They use other chambers for food storage, mainly nuts and seeds. They might also store other types of food like flowers.

When chipmunks clean the burrows, they remove their dirt far away from them to ensure predators don’t detect their homes.

Some chipmunks can also live inside bushes and logs.

In addition, chipmunks aren’t social mammals. They don’t interact outside of the breeding season.

Each chipmunk lives alone, except for females that have young chipmunks. These mammals produce one or two litters annually, usually born in the spring or early summer.

Each litter consists of 2 to 8 infants who remain with their mother until they reach eight weeks of age.

Once they reach this age, they leave their mother and live independently.

What Brings Chipmunks to Your Yard?

The presence of chipmunks in your backyard can be a significant source of annoyance. These animals can turn your yard into a messy spot by nesting and depositing feces.

Even worse, your backyard could become home to up to 20 chipmunks if you don’t get rid of them as soon as possible.

To keep chipmunks away from your backyard, you need to be aware of the things that attract them in the first place.

This is to remove these objects and make the space unattractive for these animals. Here’s a list of things that makes your backyard an ideal destination for chipmunks:

  • Nuts, especially acorns
  • Bird seed
  • Grains, especially corn
  • Mushrooms
  • Insects, especially caterpillars
  • Pet food
  • Food residues
  • Bark

How to Prevent Chipmunks From Invading Your Backyard and Home

Luckily, there are many ways you can prevent chipmunks from invading your backyard. Here are some of the most effective methods:

  1. Trim your backyard plantings regularly.
  2. Remove any piles of objects, especially rocks and wood.
  3. Place a plant-free gravel border around your backyard and home.
  4. Clean the bird feeders in your backyard regularly and remove the spilled seeds. In addition, place the bird feeders at least 15 feet away from any other structures.
  5. Clean your backyard regularly, removing food leftovers and keeping leaves and debris away from your home.
  6. Plant flowers that repel chipmunks, such as sage, marigolds, daffodils, lavender, and allium.
  7. Set up traps in your backyard to catch chipmunks and release them far away from your home.

Final Thoughts

Do chipmunks climb trees? Yes, chipmunks climb trees occasionally. They do so to search for food or escape predators.

Chipmunks can also climb various types of walls, fences, and poles. In addition, these animals can jump up to three feet and leap from one structure to another.

Further, most chipmunks live in underground burrows, while some reside inside bushes and logs.

If you’re struggling to remove chipmunks from your backyard, refer to the simple steps mentioned above for guidance on how to do this.


If you want more backyard tips including recipes, how-tos and more, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel

Share this post: