The maxim that you should never judge a book by its cover holds true when it comes to the contrary appearance and nature of chipmunks.
Just look at this cute, innocent, little rodent – who wouldn’t want to cuddle it! As much as their appearance and behavior may be heartwarming, chipmunks are wild creatures that unless already tamed, right after their birth. just might respond to touching with a bite!
This doesn’t mean that chipmunks can’t be kept at home as pets. It’s just that you need to devote a lot of time, patience, and space for them. If you’re willing to commit, you’ll love living with these adorable creatures. Before you buy one though, you should look up your state laws and local ordinances because in some regions, it’s illegal to keep chipmunks as pets.
Apart from that, you need to know a few things about these rodents before you bring them home.
Accommodation For A Pet Chipmunk
It’s not uncommon for people to assume that chipmunks would require a small cage. After all, how much space can the smallest member of the squirrel family need? However, it’s far from the truth!
Chipmunks are super energetic and active animals and they require enough space to move and play around. They wouldn’t like it if you keep them confined in a small place for long. Hence, the first rule for keeping pet chipmunks is to have enough space for them to jump, run, exercise, and explore.
Ideal Cage Size
Ideally, the size of the cage should be no less than 6 ft. x 6 ft. x 4 ft. You shouldn’t keep an adult chipmunk in a cage that’s less than 4 ft. tall. Always remember, the more spacious the cage, the better!
Chipmunks are naturally burrowing animals who like to dig into the grounds to store their food. Make sure their cage is designed to satisfy their urge of burrowing.
To prevent any damage to the floor of the cage, consider keeping a moss peat bale with holed plastic. This will allow them to embrace their natural tendencies of digging tunnels. You can also place wood shavings or shredded paper on the cage floor. It’ll ultimately make it easier for you to clean the cage – a true win-win situation! Or you could just add a pull-out tray at the cage’s bottom to clean the mess without damaging the floor.
Chipmunks like to feel safe and secure and hence, the best spot to keep their cage is against a wall. Placing the cage in the middle of the room where all four sides of the cage are exposed will only make the rodents feel vulnerable and overtly exposed.
Don’t leave the playful little creatures with nothing in the cage! At least keep a wooden nest box, if not anything else. And don’t forget, a separate box for each chipmunk! The dimensions of the next box should ideally be 6-inch x 8-inch x 6-inch with a 2.5-inch entrance hole.
Spread some dried leaves, shredded paper, or hay in the box for maximum comfort.
Other items to accessorize a chipmunk’s cage include empty pipes, logs, and tree branches.
Other Considerations For Your Pet Chipmunk
After you get the cage set up there are a few other things to consider and prepare for.
Chipmunk-Proof the Room
You wouldn’t want to keep the curious pets in their cage all the time, right? So, make sure that your room is safe for them to come out. To begin with, there should be sufficient space in the room. Remove as much furniture as you can and cover all the tiny holes and empty spaces where chipmunks can hide. If you let them out of the cage without considering these things, then you’ll soon be crazy running trying to catch them.
Moreover, remove all your valuables from the room because these little creatures can get destructive when they’re on hyperactive mode. There shouldn’t be any electrical wires lying around – otherwise, they’ll start chewing on them.
Before opening the cage door, don’t forget to spread a few toys and tubes in the room for their entertainment. Pet chipmunks can easily get bored if they don’t find anything worth exploring and playing.
Your Pet Chipmunk’s Diet
A healthy adult chipmunk eats about 28 g of food a day. They usually feed on cereals with added fruits, vegetables, nuts, as well as some meat pieces or eggs. They also like to occasionally nibble on peanuts, sunflower seeds, twigs.
Typically, chipmunks don’t enjoy a routine meal so don’t hesitate to change their diet after every few days. That being said, the best meal plan will depend on your pet’s unique eating preferences.
A ceramic plate is the best bet when it comes to the food container. Also, make sure clean water is available 24/7 in a dish.
We almost forgot to mention that chipmunks have an instinct to store food in their cheeks and later hide it somewhere safe. So, you don’t need to panic when they’re just being themselves.
Luckily, chipmunks are clean animals who don’t require special baths or grooming. They don’t emit a bad odor and you don’t even need to litter train them. On top of that, they’re quite resistant to catch diseases. The only thing you need to do is to clean their cage and give their house a nice wash and scrub every once in a while.
As much as you’d find it difficult to resist, chipmunks don’t really like to be picked up. Instead of being petted or handled, they like to cling on to their owners. Chipmunks aren’t cuddly at all and chances are, they won’t let you pick them up unless they’re super trained or familiar with human contact.
If you’d like to hold and cuddle your pet chipmunks, make sure you start handling them from day one. The more they get used to your company, the more comfortable they’ll feel in your hands. However, it won’t happen overnight. Be prepared to be patient until the day your little pet decides to jump and sit on your shoulder for a quick pat!
In a nutshell, chipmunks are extremely adorable, playful little creatures to keep at home only if you have the time and energy for them. Make sure you have a safe, healthy, and fun environment to offer them at your place before bringing them in! With an abundance of love and the right care, chipmunks have years of companionship to offer to their owners!