How to get rid of chipmunks in your yard – 8 humane deterents to try

Experts reveal how to get rid of chipmunks humanely and rid your yard of these diminutive pests

An Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus) in garden
(Image credit: arlutz73 via Getty Images)

Although chipmunks are one of the cutest pests you are likely to encounter, if you have spotted them lingering in your yard or digging up your flower beds, you probably want to know how to get rid of chipmunks once and for all. 

Despite their diminutive size, chipmunks can be incredibly destructive, whether they are disrupting your manicured lawn or burrowing beneath your home. The good news, however, is that, like getting rid of squirrels, humanely getting rid of chipmunks from your yard can be easy with the right expert tips and a little bit of patience. 

Here, pest control experts have explained how you can get rid of chipmunks from your yard humanely. 

How to get rid of chipmunks in your yard

Below, we have listed some effective measures for preventing chipmunks, but for a fast solution to an existing problem, you may want to consider using a humane trap – much like when getting rid of moles, or getting rid of lizards. Chipmunks are most active during the day time which, in theory, will make them easier to relocate.

1. Use a humane trap

A chipmunk inside a humane trap and release trap in a yard

(Image credit: xphotoz via Getty Images)

‘When it comes to traps, it is important to use humane options that do not harm the chipmunks,’ says Gulshan Zahra, biotechnologist and pest researcher at Pest Keen. ‘Live traps are a good option as they allow you to catch the chipmunk and release it into the wild. However, it is important to note that trapping and relocating chipmunks may not be legal in all areas, so be sure to check local regulations before using this method.’

How to use a humane chipmunk trap

Once you have purchased a humane chipmunk trap, such as this Kensizer Chipmunk trap from Amazon, it is relatively easy to capture and release these fluffy pests. This is how it's done:

  • Place the trap in an area where you have seen chipmunk activity. In the yard, this may be along a fence, wall, or near shrubs.
  • Add some bait, such as peanut butter or sausage. The trap recommended above has a hook for hanging the bait onto. Alternatively, place 1oz of the bait behind and on the pedal.
  • Test the trigger mechanism before leaving the trap in place.
  • Be sure to check on the traps regularly so chipmunks can be released quickly, to avoid any distress caused to them while in the humane trap.
  • Approach and handle the trap with care, ideally wearing some gloves to protect your hands. 
  • When releasing any chipmunks you have caught, make sure to move them far away from your property and to an area of wilderness away from roads to keep them safe and prevent them from coming back into your yard. 
  • Don't forget to clean the trap thoroughly before using it again.

2. Remove any sources of food

A chipmunk eating a nut

(Image credit: Alamy)

Removing food sources from your yard, or inhibiting access to birdfeeders, is one of the most effective ways of tackling pest problems, from getting rid of skunks to ridding yourself of chipmunks. 

‘Firstly, it is important to understand that chipmunks are attracted to places where they can find food, water, and shelter. They are known to be opportunistic feeders and will eat a wide range of things, including nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables,’ explains Gulshan from Pest Keen. 

‘Therefore, the first step to getting rid of chipmunks is to remove any food sources that may be attracting them to your property in the first place. This can include cleaning up fallen fruits and nuts, storing bird seed in sealed containers, and removing any other potential food sources.’ 

3. Consider an ultrasonic deterrent

A chipmunk coming out of a burrow hole

(Image credit: Alamy)

Also perfect for keeping wasps away from your porch and getting rid of bats humanely, ultrasonic deterrents are humane noise machines that make your yard unpleasant for pests such as chipmunks to hang around in, explains Gulshan.

Ultrasonic chipmunk repellents are particularly effective. These devices emit high-frequency sounds that are designed to be unpleasant for chipmunks and other rodents, making them less likely to stay in the area. While these repellents can be effective, it is important to note that they may not work in all cases and may need to be used in combination with other methods.

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This solar recharging ultrasonic deterrent quickly and efficiently expels chipmunks from your garden and stops them from returning.

4. Protect your plants

'Oftentimes, it is your perfectly manicured gardens and flower beds that are attracting chipmunks to your yard,' explains Rachel Bull, Head of Gardens at Homes & Gardens. 'There are a few steps you can take to help protect your plants and deprive the chipmunks of snacking opportunities. For starters, you can plant flower bulbs in bulb cages to prevent chipmunks from digging them up.’ 

‘If you have chipmunks snacking on your precious garden foliage, place hardware cloth – such as this cloth, available from Amazon – about one foot underneath the soil and over the top of your plants to prevent chipmunks (along with other digging rodents and animals) from getting to your garden. Once you've done that and removed the primary chipmunk attractants on your property, you can then proceed to fill any holes they have left behind, adds Zackary DeAngelis, pest control expert and Founder of Pest Pointers. ‘Be mindful that you may have to continue this process while they make new entrances until the chipmunks realize that there isn't anything left for them in your yard.’ 

Zack
Zackary DeAngelis

Zack ended up founding Pest Pointers in the summer of 2019 due to his love of the outdoors and vast experience dealing with wildlife having grown up on 50+ acres of land, where living in a place surrounded by woods, swamps, and animals gave him a ton of experience in dealing with the outdoors.

5. Find alternative storage for log piles

Garden storage ideas for firewood

(Image credit: Polly Eltes / Future)

If you have a cozy wood burner, then the chances are you also have piles of firewood somewhere in your yard. These piles offer perfect shelter for small chipmunks, however, encouraging them to make a home in your yard. 

Keep firewood and leaf piles away from your property so that chipmunks cannot burrow underneath them and possibly under the foundation of your home. Instead, consider some locked or concealed backyard storage to keep your logs dry and free from pests.  

6. Keep your yard clean and tidy

‘Cleaning your yard is another way to discourage chipmunks from setting up shop,’ explains Gulshan, pest researcher at Pest Keen. ‘Chipmunks love to burrow, and they will often use piles of leaves, brush, and other debris to create their homes. By keeping your garden clean and tidy, you can make it less attractive to these critters.’ 

7. Protect bird feeders from dropping seeds

A chipmunk eating on a bird feeder

(Image credit: Alamy)

Birds are excellent pest control experts in their own right, and creating a wildlife garden with a bird feeder is a great way to encourage these creatures into your yard. The downside is that birdseed is a perfect snack for chipmunks, encouraging them into your space too. 

‘It is important to protect your bird feeders,’ urges Rachel Bull, Head of Gardens. ‘Try not to store food outside, including birdseed or pet food, unless it is stored in rodent-proof containers.

'Chipmunks will likely be drawn to spilled seeds, so frequently clean up any excess seeds from your floors,' she continues. 'You could also opt for birdseed that does not attract chipmunks, such as thistle, and place bird feeders at least 15 - 30 feet from any structure.’ 

You can follow this same advice to keep squirrels away from bird feeders, as most opportunistic rodents will come into your yard if they suspect there is birdseed on the menu. 

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This rodent-proof bird feeder allows you to attract Downy Woodpeckers and other small birds into your yard while keeping out pests like chipmunks and squirrels.

8. Consider a non-lethal chipmunk repellent

As with getting rid of mice, it is important to consider non-lethal and homemade chipmunk repellents over poisons and toxins. Not only are poisons unnecessarily harmful to rodents, but they can damage plants, soil, and other non-harmful creatures such as hedgehogs or even household pets. 

You can find a variety of rodent repellents on the market that hopefully will work for you, or you can make your own chipmunk repellent easily at home

A repellent spray may not be the perfect solution for getting rid of chipmunks when used on its own, however, warns Zack DeAngelis of Pest Pointers. ‘While you can use things like scent repellents and specific rodent sprays, they're generally supplemental and need to be practiced with exclusion methods to be as successful as possible.’ 

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This water-based peppermint and cinnamon oil mix is ideal for repelling chipmunks naturally with no chemicals.

FAQs

What attracts chipmunks?

As with getting rid of larger pests like raccoons, understanding what attracts chipmunks to your property can help deter them, and prevent them from returning after removal. 

‘Chipmunks are attracted to two main things in your yard: Food and shelter,’ begins Zack DeAngelis, pest expert at Pest Pointers. ‘Generally, they won't build a shelter if they don't have a food source, so that's the main thing you want to watch out for. 

‘Chipmunks also love tall grass and hedges as these can protect them from predators outside of burrows, so make sure to keep your grass trimmed and keep your landscaping as maintained as possible to make your yard less attractive to them,’ Zack suggests. 

How to identify a chipmunk

There are two ways to determine whether or not it is a chipmunk destroying your yard. Firstly, you can recognize them on sight: ‘When it comes to identifying chipmunks, they are easy to spot due to their distinctive markings,’ explains Gulshan from Pest Keep. ‘Chipmunks have brown fur with stripes on their backs and sides, and they have a white stripe above their eyes. They are typically around five to six inches long and weigh around two to three ounces.’

The second way to recognize chipmunks is by the damage they leave behind, especially if you can't spot any in your yard. ‘Chipmunks are most commonly identified by the 'lovely' little burrows they make. When I say little, I actually mean huge, as their entire underground system can span up to 30 feet long and two to three feet deep,’ explains Zack DeAngelis of Pest Pointers. 

‘As you can imagine, this has the potential to cause quite a lot of structural issues for your property as their tunneling has the potential to reach your garden bed where chipmunks will have full access to the most important part of your plants: the roots.’

‘The most common chipmunk plant damage is the uprooting of bulbs,’ Zack continues. ‘However, you'll more than likely notice small holes on your property, which are the entrances to the chipmunks' burrow generally around two inches wide. 

These are usually somewhere near the foundation of your home. You'll know if it's an active burrow by how fresh the dirt is around the entrance. If it's dry and pale, it's probably an old burrow entrance. In this instance, you should check your yard for more entrances to see where the active burrow starts. In many cases, however, there are usually multiple burrow entrances where the chipmunks could be entering from.’ 

What do chipmunks hate the most?

Chipmunks are particularly averse to garlic, pepper, and mint scents, making these ideal natural repellents to help prevent or deter small groups of chipmunks from your property. 

Do chipmunks bite humans?

Chipmunks have been known to bite humans when they feel threatened. Although their first instinct is to run away, cornering and handling chipmunks, especially wild ones, is ill-advised as they will naturally attempt to defend themselves by scratching and biting if needed. These wounds can easily become infected, so should be treated by a professional soon after. 


Don't let the cute appearance of chipmunks fool you, these clever creatures can also be dangerous. Their burrows might even cause structural damage to a house. Therefore, it is essential to humanely deal with chipmunks as soon as you spot them.

Chiana Dickson
Writer

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.

With contributions from