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What to Know Before Adopting a Chipmunk
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What to Know Before Adopting a Chipmunk

Critter Culture Staff



The animals you commonly find at the pet store aren't the only critters that deserve a special place in your home. For the right person, a chipmunk also makes a great house pet. However, if you're thinking about welcoming a chipmunk into your home, there are a few things you need to know about taking care of this unconventional pet. Once you've prepared for this critter's arrival, you'll be better equipped to give it the life it deserves.


Proper housing for chipmunks

chipmunk, cage, housing Zoonar RF / Getty Images

Chipmunks are highly energetic and active creatures that need space to roam freely. When they're not scaling tree trunks or exploring your backyard, it's important to ensure that they're comfortable in their cage. To prevent your pet chipmunk from feeling trapped, be sure to house them inside a cage that's at least 4 feet long, 3 feet wide and 4 feet tall.  In addition to making their living space comfortable, it's crucial to give your chipmunk adequate time outdoors to help them stay active and healthy.


Activity levels of chipmunks

chipmunk, nature, outdoors, exercise Steve Burch / Getty Images

Chipmunks spend most of their time getting exercise and exploring their surroundings through constant movement. If you bring home a chipmunk, be sure to provide them with plenty of space to move around freely. A simple way to ensure that your chipmunk is getting enough exercise is by setting aside a part of your yard for physical activity. It's also a good idea to add an exercise wheel or branch to their cage so that they always have the opportunity to keep busy.


Dietary needs of chipmunks

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Because chipmunks are omnivores, they require a wide variety of foods in order to stay healthy. The majority of your pet's diet should consist of nuts and seeds, such as acorns, oak nuts, pecans and peanuts. It's also important to incorporate enough fruits and vegetables into your pet's diet, including broccoli, lettuce, turnip greens, strawberries, and blackberries. Chipmunks also eat frequently throughout the day, requiring 6 meals a day in order to stay healthy and energetic.

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Grooming needs of chipmunks

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In terms of grooming requirements, chipmunks are relatively low-maintenance. They clean themselves regularly by licking their fur, whiskers and paws. Chipmunks lead clean, sanitary lifestyles in general. They tend to designate a single corner of their cages as the "bathroom," which helps limit cleanup and makes their cage a more pleasant place to live in. The low-maintenance nature of chipmunks makes them a preferred pet for many different owners.


Trainability of chipmunks

Cute Siberian chipmunk or Siberian squirrel (Eutamias sibiricus) eats hazelnuts. Animal and pet at home concept. Close up, selective focus Emilija Randjelovic / Getty Images

If you're worried about training your chipmunk effectively, you'll be happy to know that this is a relatively simple task. Chipmunks are litter trainable, which makes it easy for you to ensure that they do their business at the right time and in the right place. Even if you don't directly litter train them, your pet chipmunk will naturally dedicate one corner of their habitat to do their business.


Chipmunk health concerns

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Chipmunks are generally very healthy and strong. Unlike other types of household pets, chipmunks have few known diseases and health issues. Taking care of your pet will be a much simpler and more enjoyable experience due to their robust nature. To ensure that your chipmunk remains in good health, be sure to feed them at regular intervals and give them plenty of time and space to exercise. When you support the growth and health of your pet, they'll be less likely to encounter serious health issues.


How to handle chipmunks

chipmunk, handling, cuddle, petting flySnow / Getty Images

While chipmunks can be friendly and enjoyable animals to have around, they need to be handled carefully. Unlike dogs, chipmunks aren't particularly cuddly pets. Avoid petting or handling your chipmunk, as this may cause them to perceive you as a threat. Instead, let your chipmunk cling or hang onto you as they please. It may take some time, but your chipmunk will eventually grow more accustomed to your touch. Remember to always be gentle when spending time with your pet and take things one step at a time.


Where to house your chipmunk

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To keep your chipmunk as happy and comfortable as possible, it's important to house them in a safe area of your home. Chipmunks need to feel sheltered and protected inside their cage, and it's up to you to ensure that they feel at home while spending time there. To prevent your chipmunk from feeling uncomfortable or exposed, position your pet's cage against a wall or in a cozy corner of the room. Avoid placing the cage too close to the center of the room, as this may cause your pet to feel vulnerable or exposed.


What to put inside your chipmunk's cage

chipmunk, cage, home, living environment Stephen Roberts / Getty Images

The placement and size of your pet's cage is important, but you should also pay close attention to how you fill the cage. Your chipmunk's cage is their home, and it deserves to be filled with supplies that will help them feel as comfortable and safe as possible. First, be sure to invest in a wooden nest box. This will act as your pet's central residence. Next, take the time to look for dried leaves, hay or shredded paper that will help make the cage look and feel homier. Chipmunks need a warm and cozy place to live in so they can thrive in your home environment.


Typical chipmunk behavior

chipmunk, behavior, environment, home Strekoza2 / Getty Images

Although chipmunks are fun and adorable creatures to have in your home, they can be a bit destructive when left to their own devices. Keep any furniture out of your animal's path when you take them out of their cage. Chipmunks should have plenty of room to play and explore, so make sure they're not restricted in your living space. If you have any exposed electrical wiring in your home, keep it in a place where your chipmunk won't find it. It's vital to keep your pet safe and active while they spend time in your living space.


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