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Do Chipmunks Keep Rats Away?

Do Chipmunks Keep Rats Away?

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If you have a garden or backyard, you may have noticed a few unwanted visitors roaming around, like rats and chipmunks. These rodents can damage plants by digging up and eating fruits, vegetables, or bulbs in your garden.

You may want to know how to keep these animals off your lawn, or maybe you’re just curious how they get along. Do chipmunks keep rats away, or can they co-exist peacefully in the same environment?

Chipmunks and rats usually live harmoniously because they have different niches, but they may still compete for food or space when their habitats overlap or when resources are scarce.

In this article, we’ll tell you the difference between these rodents, their dietary preferences, their interactions, and how to keep them away from your garden.

When do Chipmunks Keep Rats Away?

Chipmunks generally can’t keep rats away by themselves. The two rodents have different niches, or specific factors needed to survive, which means they can usually coexist peacefully.

At times when resources are few and this isn’t possible, rats may stay away from chipmunks’ territory for the following reasons.

1 – Chipmunks Marking Their Turf

Sometimes, chipmunks may try to keep rats and other animals away from their territory by marking the area with urine or feces. Doing so helps other animals know about their presence in and ownership of the area.

They may also warn off intruders by vocalizing or displaying. Low-pitched chucks help chipmunks communicate aggression and territoriality.

Chipmunks may also adopt aggressive postures when facing off intruders or attack them by biting or scratching. However, these strategies may not always work against larger and more aggressive rats.

2 – Other Sources of Food or Shelter are Available

Rats may choose not to stay in the area where chipmunks live if they find better places to live or find food. They’re opportunistic animals that look for the easiest ways to survive.

They don’t have strong attachments to their territory and will easily move to another location if it offers more food. For example, rats may avoid chipmunks’ territory if they find a garbage dump, a farm, or a house that has more food.

In this way, they can avoid competing or fighting with chipmunks while enjoying more resources for themselves.

Do Chipmunks Eat Rats?

Chipmunks don’t eat rats, nor do rats eat chipmunks. These rodents have different dietary preferences and don’t usually see each other as food sources.

However, the two animals may see each other as competition when their habitats are close and resources are lacking. They may encounter each other while digging burrows or exploring in the same area, and show different reactions.

They’ll likely avoid or ignore each other. In some situations, they may also show aggression.

Rats are usually more aggressive than chipmunks and may chase or attack them if they feel threatened or territorial. On the other hand, chipmunks are smaller and more timid and may flee or hide if they sense any danger.

How Can You Keep Chipmunks and Rats Away from Your Garden?

Welcoming chipmunks into your garden to keep the rats at bay may not be the most effective method. In reality, chipmunks may also be nuisances in your garden, especially if you have vegetables, fruits, or bulbs.

Instead, you can use these effective strategies to ensure your home and garden is safe from these rodents.

1 – Remove Garbage and Other Food Sources

Rats and chipmunks are attracted to garbage and food scraps including birdseed, pet food, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. As such, removing these from your property, and storing or disposing of them properly can reduce the risk of attracting these rodents.

2 – Seal Holes and Gaps in Your House and Shed

Rodents can enter your house or shed through holes or gaps in the walls or ceiling. Inspect your house for any of these openings and seal them properly to prevent rodents from entering your house and building nests there.

3 – Contact a Pest Control Service

If you have an existing rat or chipmunk problem that’s severe or persistent, it may be time to call a pest control service. They can inspect your property, identify the rodent and the extent of the infestation, and eliminate them.

4 – Set Up a Fence

Setting up a fence can keep chipmunks out of your garden. It should be at least three feet high and buried six inches deep to prevent rodents from jumping over it or digging under it.

What Are the Dietary Habits of Chipmunks and Rats?

Chipmunks are herbivores, meaning they eat mostly plant-based food like seeds, nuts, berries, fruits, and mushrooms. However, they may also occasionally eat insects and small birds or animals.

These animals have large cheek pouches that they use to store food which they’ll carry to their burrows or caches for later use.

On the other hand, rats are omnivorous and eat a mix of plants and animals. Some of the foods they usually eat include grains, fruits, vegetables, meat, insects, and anything else they can find.

They don’t have cheek pouches, but similar to chipmunks, they, too, bring food to their burrows and hiding places to be eaten later.

Can You Catch a Chipmunk with a Rat Trap?

Yes, you can catch a chipmunk with a rat trap. However, you should consider a few things before using this method.

1 – Rat Traps Are Lethal

Using rat traps can lead to serious injuries or even death for chipmunks. If you want to remove chipmunks from your area, but don’t want to harm them, you should use other methods like live cage traps.

2 – Rat Traps Aren’t Selective

These traps can also catch other animals besides chipmunks and rats. They can even harm your pets.

To avoid harming other animals, you should place the traps in areas where only chipmunks are active. For example, try placing rat traps outside of chipmunks’ burrows.

3 – Rat Traps Need Bait

Place baits in the trap using food that attracts chipmunks to be more effective. Some examples of good chipmunk bait include peanut butter, sunflower seeds, and small pieces of fruits and vegetables.

Can You Use Rat Poison for Chipmunks?

Rat poisons aren’t effective in killing chipmunks. They contain rodenticides that target rats and mice but won’t work on other animals.

A more effective and humane method of removing chipmunks is through using live traps. They let you catch chipmunks without harming them.

By using live traps, you can safely relocate chipmunks instead of harming them.

Final Thoughts

Rats and chipmunks have different behaviors and dietary preferences that allow them to coexist harmoniously in the same area. However, they may still compete for food or space when resources are low.

To keep rodents away from your house and garden, you can use methods like removing garbage and sealing holes and gaps in your house or shed. You can also try contacting pest control services or setting up a fence around your garden.


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