Florida Chipmunks

Identification

Fifteen species of native chipmunks of the genus Eutamias and one of the genus Tamias are found in North America. The eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus) and the least chipmunk (Eutamias minimas) are the two most widely distributed and notable species. Behavior and damage is similar among all species of native chipmunks, so damage control recommendations are similar for all species.

Eastern Chipmunk
The eastern chipmunk is a small, brownish, ground-dwelling squirrel. It is typically 5 to 6 inches (13 to 15 cm) long and weighs about 3 ounces (90 g). It has two tan and five blackish longitudinal stripes on its back, and two tan and two brownish stripes on each side of its face. The longitudinal stripes end at the reddish rump. The tail is 3 to 4 inches (8 to 10 cm) long and hairy, but it is not bushy.

Least Chipmunk
The least chipmunk is the smallest of the chipmunks. It is typically 3 2/3 to 4 1/2 inches (9 to 11 cm) long and weighs 1 to 2 ounces (35 to 70 g). The color varies from a faint yellowish gray with tawny dark stripes (Badlands, South Dakota) to a grayish tawny brown with black stripes (Wisconsin and Michigan). The stripes, however, continue to the base of the tail on all least chipmunks.

 

Habitat

The eastern chipmunk’s range includes most of the eastern United States. The least chipmunk’s range includes most of Canada, the United States Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin and parts of the upper Midwest.

Chipmonks often create burrows in well-hidden areas near objects or buildings. The burrow entrance is usually about 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. The chipmunk carries the dirt in its cheek pouches and scatters it away from the burrow, making the burrow entrance less conspicuous.

Eastern chipmunks typically inhabit mature woodlands and woodlot edges, but they also inhabit areas in and around suburban and rural homes.

The least chipmunk inhabits low sagebrush deserts, high mountain coniferous forests, and northern mixed hardwood forests.

 

Fun Facts

Chipmunks are generally solitary except during courtship or when rearing young.

The home range of a chipmunk may be up to 1/2 acre (0.2 ha), but the adult only defends a territory about 50 feet (15.2 m) around the burrow entrance.

Chipmunks are most active during the early morning and late afternoon.

Chipmunks enter a restless hibernation as winter approaches and are relatively inactive from late fall through winter months. They do not enter a deep hibernation but rely on the cache of food they have brought to their burrow. Some become active on warm, sunny days during the winter and most chipmunks emerge from hibernation in early March.

Eastern chipmunks mate two times a year, during early spring and again during the summer or early fall. There is a 31-day gestation period and two to five young are born in April–May and again in August–October. The young are sexually mature within 1 year. Adults may live up to 3 years.

Adult least chipmunks mate over a period of four to six weeks from April–mid-July. Least chipmunks produce 1 litter of two to seven young in May or June. A second litter is occasionally produced in the fall.

Chipmunk pups appear above ground when they are four to six weeks old — 2/3 the size of an adult. Young will leave the burrow at six to eight weeks of age.

 

Damage Identification

Chipmunks are considered minor agricultural pests throughout North America. When chipmunks are present in large numbers they can cause structural damage by burrowing under patios, stairs, retention walls or foundations. They may also consume flower bulbs, seeds or seedlings, and bird seed, grass seed and pet food that is not stored in rodent-proof storage containers. In New England, chipmunks and tree squirrels cause considerable damage to maple sugar tubing systems by gnawing the tubes.

 

Legal Status

Chipmunks are not protected by federal law, but state and local regulations may apply. Most states allow landowners or tenants to take chipmunks when they are causing or about to cause damage. Some states, (for example, Georgia, North Carolina and Arkansas) require a permit to kill nongame animals. Other states are currently developing laws to protect all nongame species. Consult your local conservation agency or USDA-APHIS-ADC personnel for the legal status of chipmunks in your state.

 

Prevention and Control Methods

Exclusion
Rodent-proof construction will exclude chipmunks from structures. Use 1/4-inch (0.6-cm) mesh hardware cloth to exclude chipmunks from gardens and flower beds.

Habitat Modification

Store food items, such as bird seed and dog food, in rodent-proof containers. Ground covers, shrubs, and wood piles should not be located adjacent to structure foundations.

Frightening
Not effective.

Repellents
Area repellents. Naphthalene (moth flakes or moth balls) may be effective if liberally applied in confined places. Taste repellents. Repellents containing bitrex, thiram, or ammonium soaps of higher fatty acids applied to flower bulbs, seeds, and vegetation (not for human consumption) may control feeding damage.

Toxicants
None are federally registered. Check with local extension agents or a USDA-APHIS-ADC personnel for possible Special Local Needs 24(c) registrations.

Fumigants
Not usually effective.

Trapping
Rat-sized snap traps. Live (box or cage) traps. Glue boards.

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The above information was adapted from PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF WILDLIFE DAMAGE with permission of the editors, Scott E. Hygnstrom, Robert M. Timm, and Gary E. Larson (Cooperative Extension Division, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources University of Nebraska-Lincoln, United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Animal Damage Control, Great Plains Agricultural Council Wildlife Committee).

Our local Florida offices offer Chipmunks services in the following cities:
Alachua, Alford, Altamonte Springs, Alva, Anna Maria, Apalachicola, Apollo Beach, Apopka, Archer, Atlantic Beach, Atlantis, Auburndale, Aventura, Azalea Park, Babson Park, Bahama Shores, Bal Harbour, Baldwin, Baldwin Park, Barberville, Bartlett Park, Bartow, Bascom, Bassville Park, Bay Harbor Islands, Bay Hill, Bay Lake, Bay Lake, Bayway Isles, Beachway Park, Belle Glade, Belle Island, Belle Isle, Belle Vista, Belleair, Belleair Beach, Belleair Bluffs, Belleview, Beverly Beach, Big Pine Key, Biscayne Park, Blam, Blam, Boca Grande, Boca Raton, Boggy Creek, Bokeelia, Bonita Springs, Boynton Beach, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Brandon, Brent, Briny Breezes, Bryant, Bryceville, Buenaventura Lakes, Bunnell, Callahan, Callaway, Campbellton, Canal Point, Candler, Cape Canaveral, Cape Coral, Captiva, Carrabelle, Caryville, Casselberry, Century, Chattahoochee, Chattahoochee, Cheval, Childs Park, Chipley, Chokoloskee, Cinco Bayou, Clearwater, Clearwater Beach, Clermont, Cloud Lake, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Coconut Creek, Colonial Town, Conway, Cooper City, Copeland, Coquina, Coral Gables, Coral Springs, Cottondale, Crawfordville, Crestview, Crooked Lake Park, Cutler Bay, Dade City, Dade City, Dania Beach, Davenport, Davie, Davis Islands, Dawn Cesar, Daytona Beach, Daytona Beach Shores, Debary, Deerfield Beach, Deerfield Beach, Deland, Dell Rio, Delray Beach, Deltona, Destin, Doctor Phillips, Doctors Inlet, Doral, Dundee, Dunedin, Dunnellon, Eagle Crest, Eagle Lake, Eagle Nest, Earleton, East Park, Eatonville, Ebro, Edgewater, Edgewood, Egypt Lake, El Jobean, El Portal, Elfers, Elkton, Estero, Eustis, Everglades City, Fairfield, Fairview Shores, Fellsmere, Fernandina Beach, Flagler Beach, Florida Center, Florida City, Forest City, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Meade, Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Fort Ogden, Fort Pierce, Frostproof, Fruitland Park, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Walton, Ft. Walton Beach, Gainesville, Geneva, Gibsonia, Gibsonton, Gibsonton, Glen Ridge, Glenwood, Golden Beach, Goldenrod, Golf, Gonzalez, Goodland, Graceville, Grand Ridge, Grant-valkaria, Greater Pinellas Point, Green Cove Springs, Greensboro, Greensboro, Greenville, Greenwood, Gretna, Gretna, Groveland, Gulf Breeze, Gulf Stream, Gulfport, Gulfport, Haines City, Hallandale Beach, Hastings, Havana, Havana, Haverhill, Hawthorne, Heathrow, Hialeah, Hialeah Gardens, High Springs, Highland Beach, Highland City, Hilliard, Hillsboro Beach, Hobe Sound, Holiday, Holly Hill, Hollywood, Holmes Beach, Homestead, Hypoluxo, Immokalee, Indialantic, Indian Harbour Beach, Indian River Shores, Indian Rocks, Indian Shores, Indiantown, Inidan Rocks Beach, Islamorada, Island Grove, Islandia, Isle Of Palms, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Jay, Jensen Beach, Juno Beach, Jupiter, Jupiter Island, Kathleen, Kenneth City, Key Biscayne, Key Colony Beach, Key Largo, Key West, Keystone Heights, Kirkman North, Kissimmee, La Crosse, La Crosse, La Vista, Lacoochee, Lake Alfred, Lake Buena Vista, Lake Clarke Shores, Lake Eola Heights, Lake Geneva, Lake Harbor, Lake Helen, Lake Lorraine, Lake Mary, Lake Nona, Lake Park, Lake Wales, Lake Weldona, Lake Worth, Lakeland, Lakewood Estates, Lakewood Estates, Land O Lakes, Lantana, Largo, Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderdale-by-the-sea, Lauderhill, Laurel Hill, Layton, Lazy Lake, Lee, Lee, Leesburg, Leessburg, Lehigh Acres, Lighthouse Point, Lockhart, Long Key, Longboat Key, Longwood, Loxahatchee, Loxahatchee Groves, Lutz, Lynn Haven, Madeira Beach, Madison, Madison, Maitland, Malabar, Malone, Manalapan, Mango, Mangonia Park, Marathon, Marathon Shores, Marco Island, Margate, Marianna, Marina Harbor, Marineland, Mary Esther, Mascotte, Maxamo, Mc Intosh, Meadow Woods, Medley, Medulla, Melbourne, Melbourne Beach, Melbourne Village, Metro West, Mexico Beach, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Gardens, Miami Lakes, Miami Shores, Miami Springs, Micanopy, Mid Florida, Middleburg, Midway, Midway, Millenia, Milton, Minneola, Mirabella, Miramar, Monticello, Monticello, Mount Plymouth, Mulberry, Naples, Navarre, Neptune Beach, New Port Richey, New Smyrna Beach, Newberry, Niceville, Nocatee, North Bay Village, North Fort Myers, North Lauderdale, North Miami, North Miami Beach, North Palm Beach, North Port, North Redington Beach, Oak Hill, Oak Hill, Oak Ridge, Oakland, Oakland Park, Ocala, Ocean Breeze Park, Ocean City, Ocean Ridge, Ochopee, Ocoee, Odessa, Okahumpka, Oldsmar, Ona, Opa Locka, Orange City, Orange Park, Orchid, Orlando, Orlovista, Ormond Beach, Oviedo, Pace, Pace, Pahokee, Palm Bay, Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach Shores, Palm City, Palm Coast, Palm Harbor, Palm Shores, Palm Springs, Palmetto, Palmetto Bay, Palmetto Beach, Panama City, Panama City Beach, Paradise Island, Parker, Parkland, Pass A Grill Beach, Pembroke Park, Pembroke Pines, Penney Farms, Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key, Perry, Pierson, Pine Castle, Pine Hills, Pinecrest, Pineland, Pinellas Park, Plant City, Plantation, Polk City, Pompano Beach, Ponce Inlet, Port Orange, Port Richey, Port Saint Joe, Port Salerno, Port St Lucie, Punta Gorda, Quincy, Quincy, Ranches, Reddick, Redington Beach, Redington Shores, Richmond Heights, Riverview, Riviera Beach, Rockledge, Roseland, Rosemont, Rotonda West, Royal Palm Beach, Safety Harbor, Saint Augustine, Saint Augustine Beach, Saint Cloud, Saint James City, Saint Leo, Saint Lucie, Saint Marks, Saint Pete Beach, San Antonio, Sanford, Sanibel, Sarasota, Satellite Beach, Sea Ranch Lakes, Sebastian, Seminole, Sewalls Point, Shalimar, Silver Springs, Sky Lake, Sneads, Sopchoppy, South Apopka, South Bay, South Daytona, South Miami, South Palm Beach, South Pasadena, Southchase, Southport, Southwest Ranches, Springfield, St Petersburg, St. Marks, Stuart, Sugarloaf Shores, Summerland Key, Sunny Isles Beach, Sunrise, Surfside, Sweetwater, Taft, Tallahassee, Tallahassee, Tallevast, Tamarac, Tampa, Tarpon Springs, Tavares, Tavernier, Temple Terrace, Tequesta, Tierra Verde, Timberleaf, Titusville, Titusville, Town And Country, Treasure Island, Trinity, Umatilla, Union Park, University Park, Valparaiso, Valrico, Valrico, Vanderbilt Beach, Venice, Ventura, Vernon, Vero Beach, Virginia Gardens, Vista Park, Wabasso, Wacissa, Wahneta, Waldo, Warrington, Wauchula, Wausau, Waverly, Weirsdale, Wekiva Springs, Wellington, Wesley Chapel, West Chase, West Melbourne, West Miami, West Palm Beach, West Park, Weston, Wewahitchka, Williamsburg, Wilton Manors, Windermere, Winston, Winter Beach, Winter Garden, Winter Garden, Winter Haven, Winter Park, Winter Springs, Wright, Wright, Yalaha, Yulee, Zellwood, Zephyrhills