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10 Jun

Do you remember the talking Disney chipmunks, Chip n’ Dale? I couldn’t always understand what they were saying but they sure were cute!  Next to Eeyore, they were our daughter’s favorites.  Well, now we have our own version of these famous chipmunks and I’ve named them Skamper and Hyde.  Cutest little things with adorable antics! 

While sitting on our front porch, we observe them hug the perimeter of the front of the house as they make their rounds. We place bird seed (meant for the birds I might add!) on the flagstone walkway and along come Skamper and Hyde.  I attempt to divert them with a brief twist and tap of my foot and momentarily, they both scamper and hide.  But while under a large leaf of a nearby giant hosta, they ponder, plan and prepare their getaway route and off they run to the seed pile.  They almost look like miniature upright vacuum cleaners with tails up, sucking in the seeds until their horizontal cheeks are filled to the brim.  Then off they go to their storage places.  Time and time and time and time again! 

However, cute and adorable only go so far! They are a nuisance and are also destructive! They make holes in the garden where tunneling allows excessive water retention that can cause fungus and rot to appear.  They frequently tunnel under the porch and driveway, threaten foundations and pockmark the lawn with their holes.  They are also known for chewing on air conditioning pipes, cable lines and electrical lines.  Cars are also vulnerable as some have been reported to build their nests in air filters and chew on wiring.  They also can be infected with fleas, mites, ticks and diseases that can spread to humans and pets in your yard. So what can be done?

According to www.aaanimalcontrol.com, chipmunk traps can be useful so that once trapped, they can be carried to a location far from home and set free. Some use mothballs, but they deteriorate over time and  can poison the environment.  Better options include outdoor cats or large plastic owls placed in the yard that scare them away as both owl and cat are predators of chipmunks.  If you find chipmunks entering your garage, it is suggested you place a pan of cat litter near the garage door fooling them to believe you have a cat around! 

That cat litter trick would have helped us the day I found one chipmunk entering the garage by hugging the wall and baseboards, then jumping up onto the garbage can lid, climbing on up to the potting bench, jumping up and diving into the small swinging lid container that was storing peanuts in the shell meant for feeding Bluejays.  The little guy then exited the container and the garage in the same manner it entered, but this time he was carrying a peanut in the shell horizontally in his mouth.  Back to being cute and adorable once again I’m afraid.       


3 Responses to Cute and Adorable? Or Nuisance and Destructive?

  1. Beverly Viscariello

    June 10, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Good afternoon,. Interesting information not widely known. I had 2 around our shed about 2 years ago but haven’t seen them recently. I guess I should be happy about that!
    Till the next blog story! Bev

  2. Wolf

    June 10, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    The question really is, how do we strike a balance with the rest of nature? We humans are so accustomed to being able to sculpt our own environment, we almost act offended that burrowing rodents can figure out a way to one-up our defenses and take “our” food and territory. It’s really about deterring them from causing actual damage while not losing sight of the fact that we’re all animals sharing the same space, pursuing the same goals of territory, mates, offspring, and most of all, food.

    I worked at a home improvement store once, and had someone ask me if we had anything to get rid of snakes. My reply was, “set out some mouse-traps.” They looked at me like I was nuts–they want to get rid of snakes, not mice! But why is there a snake? Because there’s snake-food around–they probably didn’t even realize they had a lot of rodents near their house. Why are there cute little chipmunks around? Because there’s chipmunk food. I recently realized that the reason my obnoxiously murderous cat was able to kill birds even on our fire escape was that I wasn’t being neat enough about putting the seed in the bird-feeders, and some of it was spilled on the fire-escape, drawing birds right to where my cat could get them. I started sweeping up after refilling the bird-feeders, and he hasn’t killed any birds since.

    Looking at chipmunks, and most other pests, from these two angles, food availability drawing them in and predators clearing them out, seems to work pretty well for us. We invite spiders into the house because we know we’ll get insects in during the evenings–our screens will never be that efficient with as often as we go in and out. We make sure our garden has lots of good hiding spots for spiders and centipedes. And we have to put down screening under and around the ground-squirrels’ favorite food, because there’s no way they won’t be interested in our delicious food!

  3. Elaine Pitra

    June 11, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Just had one try to get a drink from sprinkling can and drowned.

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