Chipmunks commonly live near people and their homes, but they present more of a nuisance in gardens and lawns than houses. Sometimes, however, they can cause some structural damage, although they do not really chew anything but vegetation.
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Habitat and Habits
Chipmunks prefer to live in woods and on the edges of wooded areas, but they often set up their homes in yards and near homes. They dig burrows or holes and eat plants, seeds, birdseed, mushrooms, nuts, fruits and sometimes dead animals, young birds and eggs. Many times, they will dig their burrows near buildings and foundations, storing much of their food inside the holes.
Besides chewing up gardens and flowers, chipmunks can do damage to buildings. If you have a large number of them near your home, their burrows and tunnels and movements can disturb foundations, stone walls, patios and other structures. Homes with bushes and other landscaping that provide cover, along with bird feeders and sources of water, will attract chipmunks, increasing the chances that they will do some damage.
Keep chipmunks out of your foundation or other structures by inspecting your home and foundation for cracks and other openings they could use. Close off the openings with caulk or hardware cloth with 1/4-inch mesh. Keep bushes and landscaping plants controlled to avoid giving the rodents a continuous, covered path from a wooded area to your home. Plants that provide cover near the foundation also will encourage the animals, so plant them farther away and keep them trimmed.
You likely will not see a chipmunk hole near your home's foundation if wood piles, shrubs or any kind of debris cover the area. Chipmunks cannot resist birdseed, so place your bird feeders at least 15 feet away from your home. Keep any unused pet or bird food in sealed containers to keep chipmunks from exploring and moving in. To remove the animals, you can try squirrel repellents and live or snap traps, but changing the habitat to encourage chipmunks to move away from your home usually has the best results.