By David Wade, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – They’re cute, and tiny and a pain in the neck for a lot of people. Karen from Walpole is curious about the chipmunk population this year. She went to our Declare Your Curiosity web page to ask: “Are there more of them than other years? They sure are wreaking havoc at my house!”

“The chipmunks got into the engine compartment of my car,” says Karen Pulling. The critters weren’t there to do repairs, they were there to chew up wires. “I had it fixed and it was over $500,” says Pulling. It’s been a constant charge of chipmunks for Karen. They dig, she fills. “A couple of days later it’s all dug out again,” she says. And they like her garden, too, digging out her flower bulbs.

“He doesn’t eat them, but he just digs them up,” she laments. She’s tried to keep them away with pepper and cloves. Her mechanic suggested she hang dryer sheets under her car’s hood. “I don’t think I’ve found that any of them work that great,” she says. What she really wants to know is, “Did their population triple or something?”

WBZ-TV’s David Wade reports

“This has been a great year for chipmunks,” says Elissa Landre, who runs Mass Audubon’s Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary in Natick. She says, blame it on the oak trees. Last fall they dropped a huge number of acorns. “Chipmunks ran around and collected them, filled their cheek pouches, and then filled their underground pantries,” she says.

A thick blanket of snow provided good insulation while the chipmunks spent the winter underground. In the spring, the fat, happy chipmunks had plenty of babies. “The adults emerged in good shape and the babies were good and healthy because their parents were well nourished,” says Landre.

That’s why there are so many chipmunks in our backyards this summer. It also means predators that like to eat chipmunks, like foxes, coyotes and hawks, are also thriving. “It’s an interesting phenomenon, It’s cyclical. After November you typically won’t see a chipmunk. And you’ll suddenly say where are they? That’s when they go underground and you’ll see them again in April,” says Landre. And the cycle begins again.

Comments (17)
  1. Inspiration says:

    Thanks for sharing this post. Stop by sometime

  2. Celia says:

    And I thought it was because we had made our cats indoor cats after being outdoor cats for many years. I swear we have dozens of chipmunks living in our yard. We also had a chipmunk living in our car engine. We thought we had scared it off but it ended up dying in there when we took a long road trip. We had to take the car to the dealership to find the remains and help get the smell out of the car.

  3. Diane L Beckwith-Zink says:

    We,have so many chipmunks in Haverhill, MA. We, did a lot of new landscape around our yard. They, are already digging holes everywhere. And, they are getting fat. They got into our wires, for our sprinklers system. We had to replace that. We, have try everything. Nothing is working. They look at you and say “Ha Ha, you can not get me”

  4. web says:

    I agree, this year more than most, there are a lot of chipmunks!

  5. Lynn says:

    Is there ANYTHING

  6. Lynn says:

    Is there ANYTHING we can do to get rid of them. They are digging holes in the yard and getting into my basement! Ive tried everything and nothing is working!

    1. Rissa says:

      A coworker tried peppermint extract for mice and it worked. It may work for chipmunks. Here’s a link with info.

  7. Willow says:

    We had a similar problem, but mostly with squirrels. I found one way to keep them out of places I don’t want them. FEED THEM. Like any other animal, they are after food. They don’t know that all that delicious stuff in gardens, a tulip bulbs are not for them to eat. I buy cracked corn and other food made especially for them, and they seem to be content to go right to their food and leave everything else alone. Besides, I love watching them play and chase each other once their bellies are full. My husband made special little feeders just for them, and it’s fun watching them figure out how to get into it. Sometimes, if you can’t beat them, feed them.

  8. Matt says:

    @Lynn buy an air rifle. seems to be working here. go to walmart get the beeman…….. works like a charm!

  9. DStein says:

    Yeah, sure they’re cute, but they’ve got holes all over my yard! Not to mention they are brazen enough to come into my garage and steal the bird seed. They’re keeping the neighborghood cats busy…..but mostly watching, not catching.

  10. kirk says:

    the key to getting rid of them is NOT to feed them. They will eat anything, so if there is no food you will have less chipmunks.

  11. lizzy says:

    Ive had chippy in my yard for years, I found him finally at the bottom of my pool last year, but now have a new chippy whos not as considerate as the first one. Chipmunks are shy by nature, and they also love to be warm and cuddly, I had one in my kitchen ceiling, but he was not distructive. Chippy built a condo in my hubby’s jeep wrangler seat and when he was found out, by the seat moving and the bird food he had stored in there fell all over, he moved to the motor cyle helmet, then he saw a mouse go up into my wall from the garage, and well he found home. The older one whos dead used to come right up to me, he was not scared one bit, I would plant a bulb, he would dig it up, it was a game. The newer one vanished too, but I know what got him, I found a black rat snake in the koi pond, that did the trick, he is 5 foot long and chipmunks are their favorite thing.They are cute but can be annoying but chewing on wires is not something thats happened with mine.

  12. Leo says:

    Build a Chipper Dipper, they work great!! Google it.

  13. mendehal says:

    had a ton of them the last two years, got an accurate pellet gun. Toast any I see in a 45 yard range. this year even though, as stated the acorns were crazy last year. Barely any since mid may. Culled the herd and nothing damaged this year in my truck nor any seeds or acorns. I feed them to the foxes and ravens.

  14. Cate at Shake-Away says:

    May we (not so modestly) suggest our certified organic repellent — Shake-Away. Our small critter formula works for chipmunks and other pesky animals to protect your flower beds, gardens and more. It’s ready to use and easy to apply, and long-lasting. Learn more at, and follow us on twitter and facebook!

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