Cute but destructive

Regina Bargo  Tales from the Classroom
Regina Bargo
Tales from the Classroom

Oh, they are cute little rascals as they scamper quickly to hide in the weeds or grass. The chipmunk is a small ground squirrel who loves summer and sunny days. It is a gray brown creature with black and white stripes on its back and around the eyes. Its long bushy tail is nearly as long as its body and is constantly on the move.

Although they have a reputation for eating the eggs of ground birds they really prefer newly planted corn, berries, apples, pears, tomatoes and peppers. I think we often blame the crows for some of the destruction in our garden but it could be them. One year when we were working with the county agent about raising peppers as a cash crop rather than tobacco, we planted several areas on the farm to see where would be the best place. In one place where the green peppers were setting on real well, they started to spoil. We discovered something had eaten a hole in the bottom evidently to get to the seeds. So we played sleuth and discovered it was chipmunks.

They are not only cute but smart; they have to be to survive. One of their many enemies are little boys who love to catch them; they are quite easy to make into pets but they can bite. One way they show their intelligence is the way they build their escape route and homes. Their underground homes consist of a main chamber nearly a foot high with several tunnels in different direction. They also remove the dirt from their openings to make it more secure from being found. They winter in their warm underground homes with their stored nuts and food for the winter.

Yes, they are cute little rodents but can be quite destructive in the garden.