• Do Chipmunks Hibernate In Winter?

    Whenever there is cold weather, chipmunks spend most of their time hibernating and simply sleeping or resting in their dens. They are known to be quite occupied, and just one of them will quickly gather up to 165 acorns per day.

    In as little as two days, the chipmunk will have managed to collect enough food to take them through the whole winter season. However, they are also known to store up more food than is necessary, so they will typically have collected more than they need for the cold months.

    Even though they are known to hibernate during the winter, chipmunks will not be asleep for the entire season as most other hibernators do. They will typically retreat back to their burrows. Occasionally, they wake up to bring their body temperature back to normal.

    When they are on these awake breaks, the chipmunks will feed on the food stored over time to build up their fat reserves. This is very important for the cold season aa it allows them to stay protected from the cold. Every few days, the chipmunk wakes up for temperature adjustment, has a few more nuts, and quietly goes back to sleep for some more days.


    What Months Do Chipmunks Hibernate?

    The typical period for chipmunk hibernation lies between October and the middle of March. This is usually when the weather outside is harsh and the temperatures have dropped to deficient levels.

    The chipmunks in the southern parts of the US have better weather, as it is much warmer in these places. As such, they will hibernate for a shorter amount of time, between December and late January. Their bodies also undergo essential changes that enable them to survive the winter.

    These are all important as they ensure that the chipmunk can survive the harsh, cold months and get them through safely and as intact as possible. The months of hibernation are generally uneventful, and not many things happen during that time for chipmunks.



    At What Temperature Do Chipmunks Hibernate?

    At around 40°F is when the chipmunk starts to hibernate. Once it has gotten cold enough, it will retreat to its burrow to spend the winter.

    Other things also happen when the chipmunk is undergoing the hibernation process. These enable them to spend as little energy as possible, and as such, they will easily manage to get through the winter with much ease. For instance, their body temperature will start to lower to match them with their surroundings. As such, they will not lose heat quickly, allowing them to maintain a constant temperature for the rest of the winter.

    They will also slow their heart rate down from the usual 350 beats per minute to a mere four beats per minute. This is several magnitudes slower and indicates the changes the chipmunk has to undergo to stay safe and warm for the winter. When their hearts are beating this slow, they can sleep out the rest of the winter and get the rest they have worked so hard for.


    Where Do Chipmunks Sleep In The Winter?

    The most excellent chipmunk preference is to live alone in an underground hole or burrow, referred to as a den. They like to hibernate when the weather is cold, and this is where they will spend most of their time, staying insulated from the harsh cold temperatures outside.

    They are usually relaxed when in hibernation, and most of their body functions are significantly slower to enable them to get through the cold winters. Most of the time a chipmunk spends in hibernation goes to sleep while a portion is reserved for feeding, urinating, and defecating.



    What Do Chipmunks Eat When They Hibernate?

    Inside a chipmunk’s den is enough storage space for their nuts and seeds. These nuts and seeds are essential as they are a food source for the chipmunk that lasts through the entire winter. They love to eat and will wake up occasionally to get fed and get the break they need from the enormous amount of rest they have had.

    Chipmunks usually gather enough nuts and seeds to eat throughout the winter, which is what the rest of the year is meant for. They are very hardworking creatures and, as such, will work through all kinds of challenges to get the much-needed supplies in storage and ready for the cold winter months.


    Our experts are trained to remove all types of nuisance wildlife, including chipmunks. We provide effective trapping and removal services in Westchester County, Dutchess County, Putnam County, NY, and Fairfield County, CT. So if you’re having chipmunk issues on your property at any time of the year, call Westchester Wildlife to get rid of them!



  • Are Chipmunks Smarter Than Squirrels?

    Animals tend to have intelligent capabilities that are far advanced beyond what we think about them. Animals have improved their habits based on the influence of the environment, and most of the things they do indicate that they are bright and intelligent.

    When we compare a chipmunk and a squirrel, we find the chipmunk to be smarter than a squirrel. This might come as a surprise, but it is a fact observed from their nature. Both animals are smart and intelligent, but the chipmunk is a bit smarter than the squirrel. Let us break it down.


    How Intelligent Is A Chipmunk And A Squirrel?

    Chipmunks are known to make homes for themselves by creating complex tunnel systems in their burrows. They can create a system up to 30 feet long, which is evidence of their great IQ. They can also make nests in bushes and logs and only interact during the mating season. They also have a complicated communication system that uses various calls, which all have different meanings.

    Squirrels are always obsessed with nuts. They can always be seen burying them and seem always to remember precisely where they had buried their stash. Instead of storing all their nuts in one place to prepare for the winter, the squirrels are scatter-hoarders and will keep nuts in several places.

    This shows that they are organized creatures that are always meticulous about how they store their food. They also have a strong sense of smell which helps them find food.

    However, in terms of IQ, the chipmunks exceed the squirrels since they have been known to create more complex systems for their habitat.



    How Do Chipmunks And Squirrels Communicate?

    Chipmunks have vocal communication, which is primarily made up of a series of high-pitched “chip” noises that are similar to the chirping of birds. The repeated sounds can last for up to 30 minutes and make claims on their territories. If these calls are challenged, it can sometimes lead to aggression. The vocalizations are also quite complex and are all used to pass different information to the other chipmunks within hearing distance.

    To respond to a danger on the ground, such as when a chipmunk is being chased by a predator, it will use deep clucking sounds or trills that are much shorter than chips. They are a warning to other chipmunks to be more alert and vigilant.

    In addition, body language is used when one chipmunk comes across other chipmunks. These are visual cues implying their intention and can be accompanied by chemical communication through smells.

    Squirrels make use of a vast number of complex signals to communicate with each other. These include complex vocalizations, scent, and visual cues. Vocalizations can be categorized into warnings, mating, nesting, and aggressive calls. A male pursuing a female squirrel will use a series of calls similar to sneezes to get her attention. A frightened squirrel will let out a small shrill scream.

    Squirrels also use the tail for communication, and it can be shaken or waved depending on the message. Moreover, body language is used by the squirrels to convey their emotional state. Scents are also part of their communication, and they use them to mark their territory.


    Can Chipmunks And Squirrels Understand, Remember, Or Recognize Humans?

    Squirrels have, over time, adapted to living with people and have been proven to have an excellent memory. They can remember humans and can recognize the people that can be trusted as a source of food. Their memory is evident in studies where they were able to navigate a maze.

    Chipmunks are not social and friendly. They would not even make a good pet and always try to stay hidden. Only chipmunks raised from an early age will be accustomed to human contact, and they can learn to play and tolerate petting.



    Do Chipmunks And Squirrels Bite?

    By nature, squirrels are not known to be aggressive, they are usually frightened of humans and will not attack them. Their natural defense is to bite whenever they feel threatened, but they will not bite their owners hard. The biting habit is a natural trait of the squirrels, and they cannot stop it. A pet squirrel will only bite playfully, and it will not hurt you.

    Chipmunks are harmless unless they are feeling threatened. In such a scenario, the chipmunk will bite you hard and run off as fast as it can. When stressed, chipmunks become a lot more aggressive, and in this case, they will scratch or bite you.

    When you see a distressed chipmunk, be sure to keep your hands away from it as it has very sharp teeth, and the bite will hurt. If it bites deeply, you might even start to bleed, and you must be treated immediately to avoid the risk of infection or even a septic reaction.

    Treating the wound as soon as possible is the recommended course of action when a chipmunk has bitten you. Although they do not carry rabies, chipmunks can transmit other diseases such as Lyme disease, plague, and La Crosse encephalitis.


    Our Westchester Wildlife technicians are highly trained and experienced in eliminating squirrels and chipmunks from your property. If you’re seeking squirrel or chipmunk control services in Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam Counties, NY, and Fairfield County, CT, contact us today to schedule a free phone consultation or an appointment with our qualified team of pest and wildlife exterminators.



  • 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:


    Structural damage

    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.


    Ruined gardens

    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!