New England, U.S. — Chipmunks were welcomed with plenty of acorns last fall. In fact, there were so many that the rodents couldn’t stash them all for the winter, which meant that, according to small mammal biologist Shevenell Webb, there were still many acorns on the ground waiting for them in the spring. So the chipmunks had lots of food in the spring while they got busy breeding. And when this summer came, these cute creatures became a nuisance to people in the region, “darting to and fro, digging holes in gardens, and tunneling under lawns.”
...They can destroy lawns and gardens with their burrowing, and can even get into homes, Webb said.
“We can’t grow a tulip without them digging it up,” Steven Parren, wildlife program diversity manager for the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, said of the chipmunks in his yard. “They don’t even pause.”
People needn’t get too alarmed over an overpopulation. Small mammal populations tend to explode, then crash and burn.
Such is life near the bottom of the food chain, where food supply ebbs and flows and chipmunks are easy prey for owls, hawks, snakes, foxes and raccoons. Even if their lives aren’t cut short, individual chipmunks tend to live only for three years, Webb said.
(Image Credit: Richardfabi/ AndiW/ Wikimedia Commons)