Help! I Found a Chipmunk!
Fast and agile, chipmunks can be a fun backyard critter to watch scurrying across the yard, but sometimes they need our help! Chipmunks love a fully covered home, whether it’s in a log or under a rock. Unlike squirrels, chipmunks like to build complex burrows underground. They also communicate using sharp, loud chirps, so you can see where they got their name.
Remember: It is illegal to keep and raise any type of wildlife unless you are a legally licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
Myth: Chipmunks will abandon their babies because you touched them, this is not true.
If You Find a Chipmunk That:
Is not fully furred, and its eyes are sealed shut
Appears sick or injured
Is lethargic, disoriented or has difficulty moving/balancing
Is approaching humans
Has been in a dog or cat’s mouth
Has parasites, including fly eggs (look like little grains of rice)
This is an emergency!
Call Silent Voices Wildlife Rescue - our licensed team is standing by to assist you.
If You Find a Chipmunk That:
Looks like a miniature adult and can evade humans
Had its den excavated and the den location is known
This is absolutely normal! Chipmunks are independent between six and nine weeks and will explore outside their dens starting at five weeks. We’d recommend that you leave that cute little chipmunk right where it is. It doesn’t need any help, and it’s not injured.
How To Save Baby and Juvenile Chipmunks
Chipmunks are born pink and furless with their eyes closed. During their infancy, they should remain in their dens with their mother and are rarely seen outside of their homes.
After about two weeks, they begin to grow fur and show off their characteristic striped pattern, and their eyes will open after four weeks. It’s not until their fifth to seventh week that chipmunk kits will begin to emerge from their dens to forage for food.
Mother chipmunks typically have two litters of kits each year. The first litter is born in early spring, usually in April. Often they may hear a second litter during the Summer.
How To Renest Chipmunk Kits
If you find a chipmunk kit walking around with closed eyes and no mother or adult chipmunk nearby, renesting may be necessary. Kits are rarely found outside the den unless they are of age, which is about eight weeks, and their eyes and ears are open.
Wear thick gardening gloves. Chipmunks are rodents and have strong teeth and powerful bites.
Check the kits carefully for injuries. Purple or red spots under the skin are a common sign of bruising. If the kits appear injured, or are bleeding. Immediate call and turn it over to a licensed wildlife rehabilitation expert. Wild animals are not pets.
Do not give the kits any food, water or formula — we want them to be hungry and call for mom!
Gather the kits and place them in a box that they cannot crawl out of. Make sure the box is also accessible for the adult chipmunk to reach in and collect the kits.
Keep the kits warm. This is a priority! Fill a bottle with hot water and wrap it in a towel. Place the wrapped water bottle securely in the box next to the kits. You may need to reheat the water bottle throughout the reunion process. You can also use heating pads, rice-filled socks or hand warmers. Note: If the kits can be returned directly to the original nest, no heat source is required.
Place the kits in a safe location as close as possible to where they were found.
Leave the area and watch from a distance. Mom will not come back if she senses danger (humans, pets, etc.).
Allow time from when they were found. Allow several daylight hours for mom to return and retrieve her kits.
If the mom does not retrieve her kits by the next morning. Keep those babies warm and secure, but do NOT offer them any food, water, or formula.
Call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator to assist you.
Be aware: Those cute little chipmunks can be aggressive and will bite hard if you try to approach them.
How To Save Adult Chipmunks
Chipmunks are independent at about nine weeks and should look and act like adults. Healthy chipmunks should be fast and agile, and should try to avoid humans. Adult chipmunks are also often mistaken as babies due to their small size, but as long as they retain their high energy and fear of humans, there’s no need for you to intervene! We recommend that you please DO NOT try to save them!
It’s fun to watch wildlife, but let’s try not to needlessly bring it home.