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Do Chipmunks Keep Mice Away? (The Pros & Cons of Having Them in Your Yard)

Do Chipmunks Keep Mice Away? (The Pros & Cons of Having Them in Your Yard)

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When March marches in and the weather becomes hotter, pests and mice become active. As such, many homeowners seek ways to deal with the mousy nuisance the month brings.

If this is your case, you may have heard of some people insisting that chipmunks can solve your mice issue. So, how accurate are these words?

As it turns out, chipmunks are indeed effective at keeping mice away from your property. But there are other things to consider before inviting these rodents into your yard.

So, keep up, and let’s talk about chipmunks, mice, and more.

Chipmunks Overview

Chipmunks are a small variety of rodents native to North America. You can identify these critters through their unique fur and skin markings.

Chipmunks in the US have two white stripes on their tiny heads. They also have dark and light markings, striping their fur, running across their backs.

Many homeowners consider chipmunks pests because of their tendency to damage crops, gardens, and landscapes. Some think of chipmunks as blessings for their pest control qualities.

Will Chipmunks Eat Mice?

A chipmunk and a mouse go into a bar, and guess what? Yes, the mouse gets eaten, and you’ll have one less pest to worry about in your home.

Mice are part of a chipmunk’s diet, which includes insects and pests. So, it’s natural for a chipmunk to hunt and consume a mouse when it sees one.

That said, chipmunks are an excellent solution to mice invasion. Having these critters around your home reduces the risk of mice entering your property.

Fewer mice mean less risk of structural damage to your home. You’ll also reduce the chance of food contamination and disease spread caused by mice.

On average, one chipmunk can eat a few mice each week. So, if you’re placing mice snare around your house without any luck, a chipmunk or two might solve the problem for you.

Do Chipmunks Kill Mice?

Chipmunks killing mice to consume them is part of their routine. And despite their size, chipmunks hunt even adult mice for food.

But how do they do it?

Well, chipmunks have extraordinary senses for hunting prey and avoiding predators. Their diurnal eyes are sharper during the day, which helps detect movements in their surroundings.

On the other hand, mice’s vision isn’t as sharp during the day. As nocturnal animals, their eyeballs are designed for low-light scenarios, so they don’t function as well in the daylight.

In addition to their eyesight, chipmunks also have superior hearing. They’re highly sensitive to sound, allowing them to hear the slightest movements of prey.

These factors make chipmunks hunting mice easier. They can effortlessly identify mice’s movements and make a meal out of these pesky little creatures.

Chipmunk Diet

Chipmunks aren’t known for being picky eaters. They’re omnivores, which means they feed on practically anything, including nuts, flowers, mushrooms, insects, worms, frogs, and snails.

So, besides mice issues, chipmunks can also help you with all sorts of pests. They can reduce insects that harm your crops, like caterpillars, beetles, and grasshoppers.

Chipmunks prefer these types of food as they’re easy to find and transport. They forage and fill their cheeks with food to hoard in their underground dens, serving as their supply for the winter.

Will Chipmunks Eat Mice Bait?

If you’re using mouse food traps to eliminate these pesky critters, you might wonder whether chipmunks eat them too. Well, that depends on the bait you’re using.

Peanut butter, for instance, is one of the most recommended food lures for mice. It’s a cost-effective bait, as rodents love the sweet taste and nutty aroma.

If this is the bait you’re using, let us tell you, chipmunks will devour peanut butter. They’ll also eat other typical mice baits like seeds, grains, cheese, cat food, and dog food.

It’s worth noting that mice poison can kill chipmunks. However, experts emphasize that such pest control methods aren’t meant for chipmunks and aren’t recommended.

Should You Keep Chipmunks In Your Yard?

It’s only natural to consider keeping chipmunks in your yard after knowing they help keep mice away. So, here are some chipmunk benefits and drawbacks to keep in mind:

Benefits of Having Chipmunks Around

Chipmunks and similar rodents are crucial for ecosystems. Their diet and behavior serve vital purposes in enriching the environment.

1 – Insect Control

Chipmunks spend a considerable portion of their time foraging and eating. For this reason, they can be wonderful companions if you’re having pest or insect issues.

2 – Seed Dispersal

The primary role of chipmunks in the ecology is to spread seeds. These critters have a habit of gathering food and burying them all around the area, which can grow into new plants.

3 – Tree Health

Chipmunks are nature’s adorable gardeners. They help expand forests and nurture trees through their droppings which contain a particular fungus beneficial to plants.

4 – Soil Aeration

These critters burrow underground, building networks of dens and food caches. This nesting behavior helps aerate the soil, which improves plant growth and nutrient absorption.

Disadvantages of Having Chipmunks Around

Of course, as rodents, chipmunks can also be a nuisance to farmers and homeowners. Here are some cons to having these critters in your backyard:

1 – Garden Pests

Having chipmunks might be a terrible idea if you own a garden with flowering plants. They’ll consume the roots and bulbs of your plants, including vegetables and fruits.

2 – Property Damage

Chipmunks seldom cause damage enough to compromise your house. Still, they can tunnel under porches and sidewalks, decreasing their integrity.

3 – Landscape Damage

The incessant burrowing of chipmunks creates holes across your lawn. These nests can run as deep as three feet and extend for over 30 feet.

4 – Nuisance Issues

As cute as they are, chipmunks cause minimal headaches for many homeowners. They raid livestock feed containers and bird bins, scattering seeds and nuts throughout the area.

How to Attract Chipmunks In Your Yard

If you’re experiencing severe mice infestation, inviting chipmunks to your lawn may alleviate your problem. Below are some ways to attract these furry creatures to your yard.

Plant Green Plants and Fruits

Chipmunks love green plants and fruits. In the wild, they prefer areas with bushes, greeneries, nut trees, and fruit-bearing trees—spots providing good cover.

They love flowers like coneflowers, black-eyed Susan, coreopsis, and sunflowers as well. This flora produces seeds that can draw chipmunks and even songbirds to your location.

Here’s a tip:

Create patches of grass and plants to cater to insects. Insects are a chipmunk favorite, so luring them into some spots of your yard will draw the attention of chipmunks.

Provide Water and Food

Placing food and water sources in your yard can also lure chipmunks. They may be foraging experts, but chipmunks won’t refuse free resources.

You can utilize bird baths, large bowls, or small ponds for your chipmunk drinking area. Just remember to change the water regularly to prevent mosquito infestation.

Bird Feeders work wonders when trying to attract chipmunks as well. After all, these critters are notorious bandits known for raiding bird feeders and other livestock food.

Here’s another tip: chipmunks love sunflower seeds, so try to mix them in your birdfeeder. You can even leave seeds, nuts, and grains throughout your yard!

Avoid Insecticides and Pesticides

Pesticides and insecticides kill the natural prey of chipmunks. As such, you should avoid using them in or near your yard if you want to attract these critters.

More importantly, using these pesticides can harm or, worse, kill chipmunks. Even without direct exposure, consuming insects and fruits doused with chemicals can harm these animals.

It’s best to use natural and organic pesticides if you can’t avoid using them so as not to harm other wildlife.

Give Chipmunks Shelter

Chipmunks avoid areas that won’t provide them cover against predators. This tendency draws them to spots that can provide them with safe shelter.

That said, this chipmunk-luring step works best with large spaces. For instance, dead tree trunks and bushes serve as excellent hiding spots.

You can even create miniature hideouts for these furry animals. Use clay pots, leaves, or branches, and scatter them throughout the bushy spots of your yard.

Final Thoughts

Did you know there are over 21 species of chipmunks in the US? So you may have dozens of them running around your backyard while reading this.

Chipmunks are excellent pest control agents for pests like mice too. You just need to know how to attract them!


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