Do Chipmunks Dig Tunnels in Yards and What Damage Do They Cause?
The cute, ground-dwelling chipmunks are members of the squirrel family and are considered pests for all homeowners.
As chipmunks always seek a habitat that provides them with shelter and comfort, they build extensive burrow systems next to or directly beneath natural or man-made settings.
There are two types of burrows they dig. Shallow burrows in which they seek safety and rest during the day, and complex, deeper, and more spacious burrows where they store food, nest, and hibernate during the winter months.
The burrow is their home base from which they rarely travel more than a third of a mile.
Do Chipmunks Dig Tunnels in Yards?
So, chipmunks do dig tunnels in yards, it is however quite difficult for a homeowner to find these burrows.
Don’t look for piles of dirt in this case. Chipmunks build their tunnels without any dirt lying at the entrance and exit holes. These openings are very small, just 2 or 3 inches in diameter.
Have a look around your yard and search underneath stones, fallen logs, stumps, woodpiles, and any areas around your lawn, as these are inviting places for these small creatures. In addition, patios, basements, stairs, or any well-hidden sites near your home can fit a chipmunk’s needs.
You might be surprised to discover one or more burrows. Although a chipmunk is an expert tree climber, you can usually spot them scurrying on the ground in the vicinity of their burrows. That’s because they spend most of their lives either on the ground or in their underground burrows.
The burrow system consists of several openings, nesting chambers, a couple of storage chambers for nuts and seeds, side tunnels, and separate escape tunnels.
To create such a den, the chipmunk will remove a huge amount of soil from around and underneath your house! It will then remove all the soil excavated from digging the tunnels, carry it in the cheek pouches, and scatter it away from the burrow hole. This will effectively camouflage the entrance to the den.
As the living chambers are often far from the burrow entrance, it makes it difficult to get rid of chipmunks that become a nuisance on your property.
How Deep Do Chipmunks Burrow?
Chipmunk’s burrow excavations can be huge. The main tunnel can extend 2 to 3 feet deep under the ground and reach 20 to 30 feet in length.
The tunnels within the burrow system vary in width and may run alongside extensive tree roots. The chipmunk is also continuously expanding its burrow system each year.
What Damage Can Chipmunks Cause to Your Property?
Despite their innocent looks, these nuisance pests are capable of doing damage to your home and yard. They will leave signs of their presence in two ways:
On a residential property, chipmunk burrowing can cause some destructive, structural damage. Since they often choose to dig their tunnels under sidewalks and driveways, near the concrete patios, porches, stairs, retention walls, and the foundation, this activity can weaken the supports leading to damage to these areas.
Chipmunks will also happily chew up your vegetable seeds, flower bulbs, fruits, and plants in your garden. They will help themselves pet bowls and bird feeders as these are a tempting snack for them.
If you have trees or shrubs in your yard, you are unintentionally offering them cover and a great place to climb.
Can Chipmunks Ruin Your House Foundation?
The burrowing activities of chipmunks can be a big problem for your house foundation and landscape structures. These pests can cause a lot of damage with their extensive nest burrows and can undermine a whole part of the foundation causing a drop over time.
Burrowing and the subsequent influx of water loosens soil beneath a structure, and the excavated space underneath will cause the integrity of the structure to weaken. It will result in cracking and, eventually, collapsing of the unsupported slab. Water may even appear inside your house.
When new burrows are not large enough to cause serious damage, chipmunks are considered just a minor nuisance. However, when a well-established colony of chipmunks is allowed to thrive on the property, it can inflict significant damage to structures by undermining their foundations.
And old burrows are always taken over by new chipmunk generations that keep on building new tunnels.
Lastly, if you’ve allowed chipmunks to live in your yard for too long, you might face the consequences.
If you’re having chipmunk problems, or you have a colony of chipmunks digging in your yard or underneath your house, contact us today. Westchester Wildlife company provides expert chipmunk trapping and removal services since 1982, in Westchester County, NY, Dutchess County, NY, Putnam County, NY, and Fairfield County, CT.
We can humanely remove chipmunks in your yard, from under decks or sheds, or anywhere else. Don’t let chipmunks chase you off your property. Get in touch now!