Cute squirrel-like rodents are always adored! We get to see rats and mice every day. But we don’t see chipmunks much! Where do these cuties live and what do they eat? First of all, be sure if you are calling them the right name or not!
Are they innocent? Why do they say chipmunks eat rats and mice? Is it true- do chipmunks keep mice away? Is it possible to keep the house mice-free with a domesticated chipmunk? We have all your answers here! All you need is to skim through!
To begin with, we all know that mice are rodents. On the other hand, chipmunks to are from the same family line. Though they are from the same family, some specific differences are visible between them. Chipmunks look more like a squirrel when it comes to the outlook. They both have different genus. And they have a lot of differences between them.
From their size to habits, they are quite different. As the confusion regarding chipmunks eating mice is always on the hype, there’s the same talk about the groundhogs too. Do groundhogs eat rabbits or rats? What about mice?
So, most people think that chipmunks eat a mouse. They are both from the same family, why would such an idea circulate among the people?
- Well, the idea was generated because mice are comparatively smaller than chipmunks. On the other hand, chipmunks are quite larger. In this world, every weaker living being is threatened by the stronger. So, the same idea was applied here and people used to think that as chipmunks are larger, they will eat a mouse.
- Another factor that pushed the idea go further is the different living nature of the two animals. Though they are from the same family, the way they live including their residence are vastly different. Mice, as we all know its name is a domestic resident. They try to live indoor to serve their needs of food and shelter.
If you compare it to the chipmunks, it’s quite diverse. Where mice are the residents of almost the whole world, chipmunks mostly live in North America (only Siberian chipmunks live in Asia.) unlike the mice, chipmunks live underground. If they do not have a rivalry, why do they live in different places?
These are the ideas that created the confusion of whether chipmunks eat a mouse or not! Does it? Because, the family doesn’t eat family, no! This is where the confusion began! Today, we will clear out if a chipmunk eats mice or keep it away!
Chipmunk’s Eating Habits
The main food for chipmunks is nuts and fruit. They are fond of seed and scarf grain. Cereals including oats, barley, corn, wheat, and millet sprays are their favorite food. Anything nutty or seedy is what they crave.
As they live underground in the yard, you must understand that they are living there for the food! And their food is your plants!
Yes, chipmunks love vegetables. Most of the chipmunks live a vegetarian life! But they are also seen eating insets! Worms and bird eggs are also their food when they have no other food!
Do Chipmunks Eat Meat?
We already know that the eating habit of a chipmunk does not include a mouse. But we also told you about chipmunks eating insects, right? Do chipmunks eat live animals? Yes, if they are facing a shortage of food, you can see those eating live animals!
Here, the thing is, chipmunks are omnivores. And so, they don’t only live on plants but they eat meat at times too!
Apart from insects, they eat worms and bird eggs. Besides, frogs are one of their favorite snacks. From centipedes and millipedes, you can suddenly find out a chipmunk eating baby birds and baby snakes too! That surely makes you confused about their meat-eating habit right?
The Truth- Do Chipmunks Eat Mice?
And now you know that if a chipmunk can eat meat, it can eat mice too! To clear out the confusion let us tell you that, yes, chipmunks eat mice. The rodent family has the nature of eating each other, you can’t help! Chipmunks only eat mice when they get one.
If you think that chipmunks especially go for hunting mice then no, they don’t! They love plants, veggies, and fruits more than meat. And so, they do not go hunting meat or mice. But if they get one before them, they won’t leave it!
Another thing that you need to keep in mind is chipmunks do not often hunt the larger mice or rats. They go for the defenseless ones. Larger mice give them a tough fight and they don’t like to waste so much energy on fighting and hurting themselves.
So, they pick up the defenseless mice when they get them. Also, the children mice are often attacked by the chipmunks because they are simply easy targets for the larger rodents like chipmunks.
If you see chipmunks going for a mouse, mostly, it will be a dead mouse. They love to go for easy food. If the animal is already dead, it is easy for them to eat it and feed themselves. Otherwise, they mostly try to ignore mice if they have another source of food.
But if you think that chipmunks never hunt for the mice then you are wrong. At times, for the weather condition or the environmental situation, foods are scarce. Also, there are situations when they don’t get the necessary water that they need to survive.
And this is the point they start hunting for mice. In this situation, even if they don’t find any dead mice, they will settle for a live mouse. Even if the mouse is an adult, even if it takes a lot of fight to kill it and eat it, the chipmunk will go for it. For them, in this situation, surviving is the top priority.
Using Chipmunks to Keep Away Mice
Yes, you can rely on keeping a chipmunk in your house so that you can scare the mice and the rats away. But will chipmunks ever be domesticated? These are semi-wild animals and they love to stay outdoors. They have lived underground for years and it gets tough for them to settle indoors.
If the chipmunk was born indoors, you can keep it as a pet to scare the mice of your house away. But if you have got a wild chipmunk, it will get tough to domesticate them. They do not make good pets.
Though they can be trained, they are not the type of wild animals that can stay inside and serve as a pet for long. Eventually, it will leave. So, to keep a mouse away, it’s better to rely on traps and tricks rather than a wild chipmunk!
There’s no need to get into confusion if a chipmunk can attack or eat a mice because yes, it can! As we have discussed, it is an omnivore and it can eat almost anything. From plants to meat, if it is hungry, it can attach to any small animal. So, you shouldn’t keep them as your pets! If the mice of your house are suddenly getting lost, search if there’s a chipmunk behind it!