Best way to evict a chipmunk?
November 27, 2021 9:18 AM   Subscribe

A chipmunk has taken up residence in my basement. He is undeterred by the fact that I have cats, and they have no interest in catching him. He is able to get the bait out of a havahart trap without triggering it. I would rather use a pest company as a very last resort, so are there some good nontoxic sprays or deterrents I could use? Everything I can find online is about keeping them out of the garden, which is of no use in the US northeast in November. Any ideas?
posted by JanetLand to Pets & Animals (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This rat deterrent device, which emits animal vocalizations--barking dogs, squawking birds and the like--in addition to ultrasonic might be worth a try, if all other attempts have failed. It seems to have reduced the chipmunk population outside of my basement, as well as controlling mice who get inside. Far from a perfect solution, and the downside is the noisiness of the box when you're attempting to chill in your basement. But it checks the box on nontoxicity.
posted by Gordion Knott at 9:44 AM on November 27, 2021

Some peppermint oil on cotton balls will both drive away chipmunks and get your basement smelling seasonally appropriate.
posted by chrisulonic at 10:05 AM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

She (probably a she, extrapolating from my experience w/squirrels) will want to go in and out. You must find where she does this. There is an anti-bird incursion goo you will want to buy, something like this. Smear this on the hole. Repeat daily, or even more frequently (if the goo has been rubbed off, add more goo). The offender will get the goo on her coat, and she will not like this. After a while, she will seek another place to nest. When the animal no longer returns, close the hole.

You DON'T want to close the hole before you do this. I have followed this protocol with squirrels, quite successfully. Buspar may help–it helped me during the time it took to evict the interlopers.
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 10:38 AM on November 27, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: ivanthenotsoterrible is right about finding where the critter got in asap. If one got in, others will follow, and you don’t want chipmunks scurrying about inside your walls and such. Trust me on that one.

You should prepare yourself for hiring the pest control people. Sorry. These little varmints aren’t the easiest to rid your home of. Plus, the pest control people have better experience at finding the various spots they are getting in through. You’d be amazed how little space they need.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:30 AM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

Your Havahart isn't set properly. Oil it up, bait it with peanut butter, and set the mechanism so that the little bits only overlap by a millimeter or less, so that it requires minimal travel to activate.

I have caught lots of chipmunks with havaharts, totally doable. You do need the right size, if it's bigger than a shoe box, it's too big.

You'll have to either seal its route of ingress or take it a good few miles away, or it will be back.
posted by SaltySalticid at 11:54 AM on November 27, 2021 [5 favorites]

Keep the trap baited, you might get lucky.
posted by theora55 at 12:48 PM on November 27, 2021

She's your chipmunk, now.

Some home and garden centers carry Coyote urine, which works very will with rats or other similar rodents, it's available online as well. The idea of an active predator in the area usually gives them the creeps, and they will literally sometimes just leave.
posted by firstdaffodils at 1:17 PM on November 27, 2021

I use the rat size snap traps baited with walnuts. Careful or soon you’ll have a dozen chipmunks. Remember, relocating a live rodent (after trapping) is illegal in most municipalities.
posted by LoveHam at 3:28 PM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

While I'm not saying the peppermint oil won't work, I can say that the chipmunks in the garden have no qualms zooming in and out of the peppermint plants that grow in that very same garden. I don't know if the oil being more concentrated makes the difference, but I've seen the little striped furballs grabbing the plants to investigate them. They certainly don't seem annoyed by them or by their smell.
posted by sardonyx at 6:07 PM on November 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Minor update -- baited the trap again, and this time it was sprung, but the bait is gone and there's nothing inside. #houdini
posted by JanetLand at 5:15 AM on November 28, 2021

Did you use peanut butter? Its instinct will be to pick up a nut and leave. But peanut butter makes that much harder.

If it's heard the scary snap and dodged the trap twice now, it will be extra primed to run, and this gets tougher. They can in some circumstances get out of a sprung havahart if the latches don't settle right.

The way you catch a rodent that has learned about traps is to feed it peanut butter in an unset trap for a few days. This will prime it to come right to the trap and also ease its fears. For me 2-3 days of unset baits has always been enough.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:22 AM on November 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

You can rig the havahart trap so that the door stays open, and leave it baited for at least a week or two before you set the trap to catch the chipmunk. Animals - especially rodents - are naturally afraid of new things, so let the little fellow get used to the presence of the wire monster and learn that there is always a tasty treat to be had there. Hint: anything with fennel or anise scent works wonders.
posted by zaelic at 6:43 AM on November 28, 2021

Offer her a record deal?

I kid, kid, please don't hate me
posted by Hermione Granger at 5:43 AM on December 1, 2021

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