The Safe Way To Feed Chipmunks

Chipmunks are the latest trend in social media. Yes, you read that right. Maybe it’s because we have all been spending more time enjoying the outdoors, taking in our surroundings. These little creatures have always been right there waiting for us. Here is your guide to getting a chipmunk to eat out of your hand safely, the right type of food, and the newly popular chipmunk picnic table.

The Wild Chipmunk Diet

Before you stock up on a Costco sized jar of peanuts and sunflower seeds, plan a variety of foods for your little friend. Chipmunks love shelled, unsalted peanuts, and it’s adorable to see them fill their cheeks with them. But overfeeding a chipmunk with peanuts can be bad for their diet. If feeding them becomes a habit, try to limit the amount of sunflower seeds and peanuts that you feed them. The high calorie content may result in the chipmunk becoming ill. Peanuts can swell in their stomachs making it potentially harmful. Instead, offer a variety of treats. It may entice your chipmunk to come back more often for more.

Aim for food options that are as close to what they would find in nature as possible. Don’t feed them processed foods, dairy, or meat. Try healthier options like small pieces of grapes, apples, cucumbers, strawberries and dry raisins. Other good nuts to try in moderation are pine nuts, walnuts, and almonds. Chipmunks have also been known to love dry oats.

Build Trust & Keep Them Coming Back

You may have a brave chipmunk at your cottage that boldly comes right up to you, making this very easy. However, most of them are pretty skiddish and will take some coaxing to get to come over.

  • Start by watching to see where chipmunks frequent most on your property. Leave a couple of shelled peanuts for them to find.
  • Next wait for them to show up, and leave one or two peanuts a little closer from their spot to your seating area. Leave the food out in an open area and step far back. Give the chipmunk lots of space to feel comfortable to approach it. Shelled peanuts or sunflower seeds are good to entice them to come over.
  • Repeat the pattern of feeding every other day at the most, to not make the chipmunk too reliant on you for food. You don’t want them to abandon their natural hunting instinct.
  • As a relationship is established, start slowly putting food in your hand and letting the chipmunk take it from you. This is where you can introduce more types of food. (You can also grab your phone and join the Instagram trend with your new chipmunk).

The Chipmunk Picnic Table

Ready to take it to the next level? Treat your chipmunk with some new furniture! Picnic tables for chipmunks now exist. As do cedar plank food storage boxes made just for chipmunks. You truly can find anything on the Internet. We found some options on Amazon. Or if you’re handy, you can make your own.

Photo Credit: @englishanj

Chipmunk Facts

  • There are 21 identified species of chipmunks in North America.
  • Chipmunks can make burrows more than ten feet in length.
  • Chipmunks mate between February to April and usually produce 2 litters a year. The young are on their own by eight weeks old.
  • Chipmunks hibernate through the winter, but wake every few days to eat.
  • Chipmunks have a life expectancy of 2-3 years.

Have fun with your new outdoor pet, and don’t forget to name them. Ours are named Alvin, Simon, and of course, Theodore.

Tag us on Facebook and Instagram @canadadocks with pics of your new friends. 


Facts are courtesy of the National Wildlife Federation.

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