June 25th, 2014

How to Get a Chipmunk Out of Your House

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Groovy Green Livin Chipmunk

Strange title for a post, isn’t it? Right now there’s a  chipmunk in my life. I feel like I’m in my own little Caddyshack -remember Bill Murray chasing a gopher? That’s me right now. There’s one big problem – I have no idea where the chipmunk is.

This is not quite how I envisioned my first few days of summer. My vision was in fact very different. Me working quietly from my office, going on a mid-day run, hanging with my husband while my kids kick off 4 weeks at overnight camp.

Everything came to a screeching halt when I saw a small tail peeking out from behind our family room sofa.

Let me take a minute to share the backstory.

Way back around Halloween I decided to store old, unopened bags of Halloween candy on a bench in our garage. I forgot about them. Mistake number 1.

About a month ago my youngest son reported finding an empty candy wrapper outside the garage and proudly proclaimed “it wasn’t me!” We found another wrapper in the garage a few days later, which led us to the bags of unused Halloween candy on the bench. A chipmunk had broken in and stolen a few chocolate bars.

I tossed the half eaten candy and moved a second bag of unopened, untouched candy into  a closet in the house.

Fast forward to yesterday. While working, I left the door from our garage into our house open. Mistake number 2.

The chipmunk decided to come in and somehow managed to find the unopened, uneaten bag of old Halloween candy. Seriously smart chipmunk. I found another candy wrapper on the stairs before spotting the chipmunk.

I freaked. Yes, I know that I’m a lot bigger than a little chipmunk, but it was in my house. It had crossed a line.

How I got rid of the chipmunk……I think

I called for help. Thankfully I was able to reach a sweet friend who’s in the know when it comes to this sort of thing. I certainly was not. This was well beyond my pay grade.

I went to a local hardware store and purchased a Have a Heart Trap. This was the two door, easy set trap that took me over a half an hour to figure out. The goal was to capture the chipmunk and set it free outside.

All the bedroom doors were closed before going to the store. When I came home my son’s door was slightly ajar. Then I spotted the tail again in his room. Smart chipmunk.

The Have a Heart Trap was set with peanut butter in my son’s room. I was also advised to open a window and remove the screen so the chipmunk could escape. Done.

His door was closed and I patiently waited for the sound of the trap working. Nothing.

So here’s where I’m at right now: No chipmunk in the trap. No chipmunk sighting. No idea if  it exited through the window. No sleep for me.

What would you do? Assume that it’s out? Call wildlife rescue to come over and confirm that it’s out (this one is high on my list right now)? Keep the room sealed for a few days and hope for the best? Advice needed……


photo credit: beckstei via photopin cc

24 Responses to “How to Get a Chipmunk Out of Your House”

  1. OMG – so funny and not funny at the same time! This actually happened to me once – when I was a kid, a chipmunk got into my bedroom and my mom got someone to suck it up into the vacuum cleaner. Then they let it go outside – it was OK! Maybe your boys will find a new pet when they come home from camp.
    Micaela @MindfulMomma recently posted..Easy Eco Swap – Oil Mister vs. Cooking SprayMy Profile

  2. That’s hilarious Micaela. I didn’t think of the vacuum cleaner! This guy was fast-I don’t think I can catch him. If he’s still here after camp my kids will loose it!

  3. I’d guess if it’s gone if you haven’t seen any more candy wrappers lying around 🙂

    We had one in our kitchen and it did leave when we left the door open. We locked all the pets in the bedroom. It took nearly an hour, I think (my husband sat very quietly where he could see from a distance).

  4. My hubby and dad used a shop vac on a ground squirrel.

    Other than that, I got nthing.

  5. Good point Christy! I think he’s gone…I haven’t seen him in a day. Hopefully he left through the open window.

  6. Did they catch it and set it free Regina?

  7. Chipmunks dont like the smell of peppermint. Try putting 3-5 drops of peppermint oil on cotton balls or add a few drops to water and use a spray.

    If he is still in the room\house this may encourage him\her to exit via the window….

  8. Great post ! Very amusing !
    Domi x

  9. Makes a great story…hope it has a happy ending :). Good to know about peppermint…we have a happy one camping out in our garage!

  10. Thanks Becca. So far the ending is happy. As far as we can tell, Chippy (our creative name for our house guest) has escaped without harm. Peppermint is a great bit of info!

  11. It’s timely to see this. We have a glis-glis, aka a dormouse, that lives in the walls of our country house and scrambles around all night long. De-facto actually caught it. Picture him hopping around the bedroom in his boxer shorts with an empty paint bucket. He managed to get a lid on the bucket without it escaping. (I didn’t do much to help, I felt compelled to video the entire escapade.) Then he drove 3 km away (this was at 2 am) to let set it free. Remarkably, two days later it returned.

    So — if it does return and you do catch your critter and plan to set it free, you might go further afield…

    We managed to catch it again and set it free again (further away, after the first debacle) — and then it was quiet for a while. But yesterday we returned to our country house and “they’re baaack…” Hope your furry friend doesn’t come back to haunt you!

  12. I remember a similar problem with a squirrel that had fallen down the chimney. We devised a plan, put on as much safety gear as we could and opened the flu. A very angry squirrel fell into the fireplace. An angry squirrel screams really loudly, and looked like it wanted to kill us. We eventually managed to get it through the living room and opened the front door and it ran for the hills.

  13. Thanks for sharing this. I spotted great a few chipmunks in our area and I am afraid of them. I think the peppermint would be a help when the time comes.

  14. I am living this nightmare right now! Only difference is Im not sure it’s a chipmunk. Also my critter didn’t sneak in through a doorI. Mine chewed its way in through concrete & carpet! I heard “it” & saw “it” out of the corner of my eye almost a week ago. I’m terrified of any rodent, inside or outside. Of course, I prefer my rodents stay outside. For the past week I have been hiding out in my bedroom. When it’s absolutely necessary to leave my bedroom I put on my big old army boots. I’m also terrified of a rodent biting me on my toes. The traps have been set & the rodent isn’t taking the bait. I can’t hide in my bedroom forever. I would appreciate any suggestions on what my next step should be. I no longer feel safe hiding in my bedroom & I won’t be getting much sleep now that this article informed me that these creatures can open up doors. HELP!!!

  15. My dad used to love feeding the squirrels. I would get so nervous when they took the food right out of his hand.
    He was leaving the house one day & when he walked outside a squirrel either jumped or fell right on his head!!! It scratched his head all up & luckily didn’t bite him.
    The lesson of this story is…Don’t Feed the Squirrels!!!

  16. I’ve been tossing a few peanuts in the shell into the back yard just to watch the chipmunks gather them up, or fight off the competition. One bold little chippy now comes right up the stairs onto my deck. When I left the door to the deck open slightly the other day, I turned around to see the little chipmunk inside the house, looking back at me. He was ready to run deeper into the house, but I called him and made reassuring sounds to lure him out. Thankfully he responded and approached me, exiting the house for peanuts, so I shut the door to keep him from going back inside. These entertaining little rodents tend to be motivated almost entirely by food, so use that fact to get the little critters to go where you want. My little house guest was quite familiar with me, and I didn’t panic or scare him. They are nervous animals, but if you are calm, they will respond to food, and they love peanuts! The Havahart traps are an excellent way to capture a chipmunk so it can be relocated, if they’re a nuisance.

  17. Great job Kevin. I think I need to have a bag of peanuts around just in case my little friend returns!

  18. My dog alerted me that something was under the chair. It was a very fast chipmunk. She chased it while I screamed.we were doing everything wrong, I opened up the front door ,put some peanut butter on some bread and went upstairs with the dog. Hopefully it will be gone in the morning ☹️.

  19. Good luck, Marion! Are you leaving your door open during the night?! I’m sure the chipmunk wants to leave just as badly as you want it to leave!

  20. Oh my word, my cat caught a chipmunk and when I opened the door the free it from my cat she ran into the house with the chipmunk in her mouth! Of course she dropped it as soon as she got inside and now I can’t find it. I’m freaking out because I have a 16 month old and a 4 year old. With the amount of snacks my kids drop I could feed that chipmunk for the rest of its life. I propped ooen the front and back door. But I think it’s in shock and hiding I haven’t heard it’s nails on the wood floor since before I opened the doors. I don’t know what to do

  21. Hang in there, Lisa. I’m sure it’s frightened. Have you seen it again?

  22. We had a very similar incident to Lisa. Our cat brought a chipmunk in and dropped it. Now I can’t find it. The last time it was seen, it was in the bathroom. The cat sits outside the door so I think it must still be there but we can’t find it. I put a trap (one that won’t hurt him but will catch him) in the bathroom last night and closed the door. Nothing. PLEASE help!!!!

  23. Hi Susan, Sorry to hear! Is the window in your bathroom open? Have you been back into the bathroom? I’m guessing your cat knows exactly where the chipmunk is. Follow his/her cues

  24. My cat brought in a chipmunk and we managed to get it out of the kitchen but it went under our couch and when we looked underneath the couch, I couldn’t see it. I’m afriad it burrowed into our couch, but if that’s not the case then i’ve lost it. I know it hasn’t run out and we’re leaving the door open, but I don’t want to have to buy traps to catch it. How do i get it to just run out?? HELP!!!!!

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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