Chipmunk Wars

Tamias striatus Each morning Sydney and I take a walk usually the same route to the corner and back (about a half mile). I know the neighbors in the three houses just beyond mine and so often wave or say good morning sometimes even stopping for a chat. On Friday, I passed my neighbor Warren, a motorcycle enthusiast and nice guy. His wife often sits on their front deck drinking her morning coffee and enjoying her morning cigarette. It’s a funny thing passing people like this — do they want to say hello? Do they want to be interrupted from their routine? Should I wave or will it look like I’m being nosy and watching them from the street? Important questions all. On this morning, however, Warren stopped me to discuss the “chipmunk problem.”

When I said I didn’t know there was a problem, he asked me, “Don’t you have chipmunks?” “Of course,” I answered, “doesn’t everyone?” It must be stated here that I’m certain there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of chipmunks in the woods here. While they are very cute in a Chip ‘n Dale kind of way, they are noisy and are so small that they can get into all sorts of cracks and crevices. Chipmunks make noise that is disproportionate to their size and can wake you from a sound sleep outside the bedroom window. Noisier than the turkeys really. That said, I have no issue with the little rodents. I asked Warren if chipmunks were responsible for the holes in the yard and was happy to solve that little mystery — they are little diggers as well as living under and among the rocks in my yard. Chipmunk_emerging_from_hole Then the conversation took a bit of an odd turn. Warren told me that chipmunks had done a great deal of damage to his house — getting into his den, eating away at the wood around the house, even eating away at his driveway. I wasn’t really alarmed — more interested. Then he told me of his plan to rid his property of chipmunks.

“I’d shoot them if it wasn’t illegal,” he stated. I said I thought that one would have to be a very good shot since they are so tiny and very very fast. “I am a good shot, but I trap them and then drive them to another location a few miles away.” He showed me his trap and told me that amazon has a trap that can hold up to 20 chipmunks!! I tried to picture myself trapping 20 chipmunks and driving them somewhere but decided that wasn’t for me and, besides, I really don’t have a problem (knocking wood here!). The idea of 20 chipmunks making a difference to the population in the woods seems a bit ridiculous to me. And, what prevents more chipmunks from populating the area from which their family and friends have been removed? If those specific chipmunks don’t come back won’t others? The whole thing seemed pretty ridiculous to me but we had a very serious conversation which ended with Warren telling me he was going out of town for a week but when he got back the “battle will begin!” Ah, the joys of country living. I hope I don’t live to eat my words and must admit I did check the screen over the dryer vent and make sure my car doors are always closed (someone told me that they once got into her car and did a lot of damage). Vico 486 warm up non-literal shootI also am more careful about leaving doors open when letting Sydney out since they are particularly enamored with the drainpipes next to the house. So to my southern friends, I say, yes chipmunks are very cute but be careful what you wish for!