Will a Mouse Trap Kill a Chipmunk?

When faced with unwanted rodent visitors, such as chipmunks, it’s natural to seek effective solutions to keep them away from our homes and gardens.

However, it’s important to consider the ethical implications of our chosen methods. One frequently asked question is, “Will a mouse trap kill a chipmunk?”

In this article, we will explore various approaches to dealing with chipmunks, focusing on humane alternatives to traditional mouse traps.

By understanding these alternatives, you can make an informed decision about the best course of action to address chipmunk-related concerns while prioritizing their well-being.

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Will a Mouse Trap Kill a Chipmunk?

A regular spring-loaded snap trap that is designed to kill mice may also be able to kill a chipmunk. However, the results can be unpredictable.

Chipmunks are larger, stronger, and more agile than mice. The force of a regular mouse trap may not be enough to quickly and humanely kill a chipmunk.

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At best, the trap may stun or injure the chipmunk before it escapes. At worst, the trap may only lightly trap the chipmunk by the leg or tail, causing severe injury without killing it.

This would lead to a slow, painful death for the chipmunk.

Using a regular mouse trap on a chipmunk also risks the trap not closing fully over its body.

The chipmunk could still escape with serious wounds, leaving you with a suffering animal still loose and a reset trap.

For these reasons, regular snap traps designed for mice cannot be recommended for chipmunks. A larger, more powerful trap designed specifically for chipmunks or similar small animals is a more humane and effective option.

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Humane Alternatives to Mouse Traps

There are several humane alternatives to traditional mouse traps that can help you address the issue without causing harm to these small creatures.

Let’s explore some of these alternatives below.

Will a mouse trap kill a chipmunk

Live Traps

  • Live traps offer a humane way to capture chipmunks without causing them harm.
  • These traps are designed to securely contain the chipmunk without inflicting any injury.
  • Once captured, it’s important to release the chipmunk in an appropriate environment where it can thrive without causing disturbances.
  • Remember to check local regulations regarding the relocation of captured wildlife.
Catching a Chipmunk With a Live Trap

Cage Traps

  • Cage traps are another effective option for catching chipmunks humanely.
  • These traps feature a wire mesh enclosure that allows the chipmunk to enter but not escape.
  • Place some enticing bait inside the trap, and once the chipmunk is safely captured, it can be released in a suitable habitat away from your property.

Bucket Traps

  • Bucket traps can be easily assembled using a large container or bucket.
  • Create a ramp leading up to the rim of the bucket and place some bait inside.
  • When the chipmunk climbs up the ramp to reach the bait, it will fall into the bucket, where it can later be released unharmed.
chipmunk/rodent bucket trap (Outdoors Nation)

Ultrasonic Devices

  • Ultrasonic devices emit high-frequency sound waves that are unpleasant to chipmunks and other rodents. e
  • These devices are silent to human ears but can effectively deter chipmunks from entering specific areas.
  • Place the ultrasonic device strategically near the areas frequented by chipmunks to discourage them from approaching.
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Natural Repellents

  • Certain plants are known to possess natural repellent properties that chipmunks find unpleasant.

Exclusion Methods

  • Preventing chipmunks from entering your property in the first place is a proactive approach.
  • Seal any gaps or openings in your home’s exterior, including cracks in walls, gaps in windows, or spaces beneath doors.
  • This will make it more difficult for chipmunks to gain access to your living spaces.
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Is Lethal Action Necessary?

While it’s important to prioritize humane methods when dealing with chipmunks, there may be situations where lethal action is considered.

However, it’s crucial to exhaust all other alternatives before resorting to such measures.

Electric Traps

  • Electric traps are designed to deliver a lethal shock upon contact with the chipmunk.
  • While these traps may effectively eliminate the problem, they should be cautiously approached.
  • The use of electric traps raises ethical concerns since it directly causes harm to the chipmunk.
  • Therefore, it is advisable to explore non-lethal options before considering electric traps.


Rodenticides are chemical substances specifically formulated to kill rodents, including chipmunks. These products are typically available in various forms such as pellets or bait stations.

However, it’s crucial to exercise extreme caution and use rodenticides as an absolute last resort. There are several reasons for this.

  • Rodenticides can have unintended consequences by affecting other wildlife or entering the food chain.
  • Secondary poisoning may occur when predators or scavengers consume chipmunks that have ingested rodenticides.
  • Rodenticides pose potential risks to humans and pets and accidental ingestion or exposure to these toxic substances can result in severe health complications.
Therefore, it is strongly recommended to explore humane alternatives and exhaust all non-lethal methods before considering the use of rodenticides. 

If lethal action becomes necessary, it is advisable to seek professional assistance to ensure the most humane and responsible approach.
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Is Eliminating Chipmunks Necessary?

Before taking lethal action, consider whether chipmunks really need to be eliminated completely from your yard.

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Chipmunks benefit your garden, by eating slugs, snails, and insects. A few can be tolerated.
  • They keep the rodent population down by competing with rats and mice for resources.
Chipmunks Are MORE Useful Than You Thought! (Brendan J. Fox)
  • While they dig burrows, the holes help aerate the soil. They rarely cause significant damage to lawns and plants compared to other pests.
  • They do not commonly carry diseases transmittable to humans or pets. Their droppings are relatively dry and odorless.
  • Chipmunks are entertaining to watch and the young are cute. Many people enjoy seeing them around.
  • The risks posed are minimal as long as they are excluded from getting indoors.
  • Trapping or killing chipmunks creates a vacant habitat for new chipmunks to occupy. It can turn into an endless cycle.

With some tolerance and smart exclusion tactics, chipmunks can usually be managed without lethal control.

Reserve dangerous poisons only for severe infestations when other methods fail.
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Final Thoughts

Before setting any mouse traps to try to kill chipmunks, think twice. The unpleasant results make this option unadvisable.

Invest first in humane deterrents like ultrasonic repellers, predator scents, and physical barriers.

Live cage traps are the most humane way to capture and relocate nuisance chipmunks away from your home.

For severe damage, high-powered traps designed specifically to kill chipmunks are quicker and more effective than mouse traps.

But try to find a sustainable balance, as chipmunks are not usually dangerous pests that must be eliminated entirely.

With smart tolerance and exclusion tactics, you can humanely keep chipmunks from causing problems around your home and yard.


Will mouse traps work to kill chipmunks?

Traditional mouse traps might not be effective at killing chipmunks. Chipmunks are larger and more agile than mice, making them less likely to be caught in standard mouse traps.

It’s recommended to consider alternative methods for chipmunk control.

Will a victor electronic mouse trap kill chipmunks?

A Victor electronic mouse trap might catch a chipmunk, but it might not always kill it effectively due to chipmunks’ size and agility.

These traps are designed for mice and might not deliver the desired results for chipmunk control.

Is a mouse trap strong enough to kill a chipmunk?

Mouse traps are designed to kill smaller pests like mice, and they might not be strong enough to effectively kill chipmunks.

Chipmunks are adept at escaping traditional mouse traps due to their size and quick reflexes.

Are chipmunks bad to have around your house?

Chipmunks are generally not harmful to humans, but they can cause damage to gardens, yards, and structures.

While they might be cute and fascinating to observe, it’s essential to manage their populations if they start causing problems on your property.

Resources – (for further reading)

University of Missouri Extension – Controlling Nuisance Chipmunks

I'm Ernest M Noah, the founder of BugsTips.com. I have years of experience as an exterminator in Texas and Idaho, and I'm passionate about educating people on how to deal with pest problems effectively and safely.