How to Catch a Chipmunk with a Live Trap

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How to Catch a Chipmunk with a Live Trap

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"If you have an opening in your foundation larger than a U.S. quarter, a chipmunk can fit into it. Seal these voids with Stuf-Fit Copper Mesh and caulk."

How to Catch a Chipmunk with a Live Trap

Chubby-cheeked chipmunks are adorable, but don't let that face fool you - they can cause severe damage to your home. These small animals create burrows that can ruin your lawn and foundation. If they can access it through an opening, chipmunks can also find shelter in your attic or shed. One method of removing a chipmunk from your property is using a live trap to catch and release the animal. Live trapping is a safe and effective way to keep animals away from your home.

If you want to catch a chipmunk with a live trap, read this guide for instructions and product recommendations.


Before using a live trap, you need to make sure that the wild animal you are dealing with is a chipmunk. This will ensure that you are using the correct bait and strategies.


Chipmunks are generally 2 to 6 inches long with a 3 inch tail. They normally weigh less than one pound and mainly feed on seeds, nuts, and fruit. Their color can vary between brown, yellow, and gray. They also have black and white stripes down their backs.

Use the image and description above to confirm that you are dealing with a chipmunk on your property.


Once you've confirmed that your pest animal is a chipmunk, it is helpful to recognize the areas where it is most active. This is where you will place your live trap.

Where to Inspect

You want to pick areas that have high activity from chipmunks. Areas with trees and shrubbery are where they will likely be. These animals are most likely searching your property for shelter.

What to Look For

Look for disturbed areas in your yard or garden. Chipmunks are burrowers. They will dig holes for shelter, as well as holes for resting and nesting. Chipmunk tracks may also be visible. These tracks will look like tiny hands with four toes in the front and five toes on their hind feet.


Now that you've identified your pest animal as a chipmunk and taken note of areas where it is most active, you can use your live trap. Be sure to wear gloves when handling the trap to prevent leaving your scent. If a chipmunk picks up a human scent on the trap, it will avoid the trap, which will make it ineffective.

Step 1 - Remove Food Sources


You want the chipmunk to enter the live trap with the help of bait. Because of this, competing food sources need to be removed. Keep your trash sealed in trash bags and stored in trash bins with a lid to keep it closed. Any pet food or bowls of water should be placed inside as soon as possible as well.

Step 2 - Place the Trap

Small Cage by Tree

By now, you should have taken note of areas with high chipmunk activity. These areas are where you will put your trap. Be sure to place your trap on an even surface. A chipmunk might push or knock over the trap in order to reach the bait inside. Place a brick or weight on top of the trap to avoid this.

Step 3 - Bait and Set the Trap

Trap Bait

Using the proper bait will increase your chances of catching a chipmunk. These animals prefer nuts, but it is best to use peanut butter so chipmunks cannot take the bait and run away. The bait should be placed near the back of the trap. This ensures that the chipmunk will need to step on the trigger plate in order to reach the food.

You will then set your trap by pushing on the door lock and lifting the door plate. Keep the door plate lifted while pulling the trigger arm forward to set it. You will know it is set when the trigger arm's hook catches the door.

Step 4 - Monitor the Trap


You will need to check the traps twice a day, preferably once in the morning and once in the evening. This is when you will refill bait if needed. Checking the trap frequently may dissuade chipmunks from approaching the trap. Do not keep an animal trapped in the cage for longer than 24 hours.

Step 5 - Relocate the Chipmunk

Any non-target animals should be released immediately. Once you have captured a chipmunk in your live trap, check your local authorities to make sure you are correctly relocating the animal. Approach the trap slowly and use a gentle voice. Place a towel over the cage to avoid frightening the chipmunk. Once you have relocated far enough, carefully open the trap and release the animal. You can read more about releasing an animal from a live trap here.


After using your live trap, you want to make sure that wild animals do not invade your property again. You can take some preventative measures to keep your area chipmunk-free.


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Remove all clutter and debris from your property, since chipmunks may be drawn to nest and burrow in these areas. Keep trash in a closed container. Any potential food or water sources, especially pet food, should be properly sealed in a container and stored indoors. Regularly check the property for spots that retain water.



To avoid chipmunks from entering your home, be sure to check the foundation for cracks and openings. These can be sealed with Stuf-Fit Copper Mesh and caulk. Stuf-Fit is a breathable material that many animals cannot chew through. It will not rust and can be stuffed into cracks and crevices before sealing with caulk. Repair any voids or openings around the home or structure.

Key Takeaways

  • Chipmunks are small creatures with a great sense of smell. They are most likely invading your area looking for food and shelter. These tiny creatures can cause severe damage to your yard and foundation.
  • Bait the live trap with peanut butter, making sure it is placed behind the trigger plate of the trap.
  • Check the trap once in the morning and once in the evening. Once a chipmunk is caught, check with your local authorities to make sure you safely and correctly release it.
  • Prevent chipmunks from entering your property again by removing any potential food sources and trash, as well as sealing any cracks and crevices with Stuf-Fit Copper Mesh and caulk.
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