Seeing holes in your backyard is enough to enrage anybody who has spent time and money making the perfect outdoor environment. It can also induce anxiety if you suspect the holes have been made by snakes or chipmunks.
But let me say one thing before I go on, when it comes to the chipmunk holes vs snake holes debate, I know what I’d rather have in the holes.
It’s snakes over chipmunks, every time… and let me explain why.
Snakes won’t do damage to your backyard or garden. Chipmunks will. In fact, such is the extent to which chipmunks burrow and tunnel, it’s a potential risk to your home.
In this guide below, I will explain to you how (or rather, how you can’t) differentiate between chipmunk holes vs snake holes, and for a good reason.
I implore you to read this, because it explains why chipmunks are such a problem in your backyard. Not just to plants and vegetation, but also hard standing areas such as patios and foundations.
Chipmunk holes vs snake holes: what’s the difference?
In simple terms, there’s no sure-fire way of identifying a snake hole versus a chipmunk hole unless you see the creature coming in and out. The reason being is that snakes don’t tend to dig holes. Snakes can’t dig and tunnel into compacted soil and earth, the type of which you get in a backyard or lawn.
Instead, snakes are opportunistic creatures and will find a hole that another animal has already made, and then make it their own. Snakes like warmth and hiding places, so a hole that a rat, mole, or chipmunk has made will be perfect for them to live or hibernate in.
That’s not to say snakes can’t make holes in your yard at all. They can, but only in soft vegetation and loose soil. And then when they do, it tends to be more of a hole to curl up in, rather than a hole that leads into an underground tunnel system.
That’s not how chipmunks make holes though.
Chipmunks instead will make huge burrows that can be up to a meter in depth, and 10 meters long. They don’t stop there either. Chipmunk holes can continually be expanded year on year. They truly are the greedy property developers of the animal world.
Compare a chipmunk hole to a snake hole, and there’s simply no comparison. And I say that, only if a snake has found soft enough material to make a hole into. It’s unlikely to be honest, and even if snake could dig a hole, it won’t create damage like a chipmunk hole will.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t have both living in your yard.
Chipmunks might have made the holes, and snakes might then have moved in. And in truth, that’s not an unlikely scenario, because chipmunks are so afraid of snakes, that if one went in their hole, the chipmunks would quickly pack up and leave, never to return.
This leaves the question though of what or who is living in the holes in your yard. Is it chipmunks or snakes in the holes, no matter who made the holes orginally.
Handy Hint: Here’s what I suggest you do as humane ways of making a snake leave a hole.
What a chipmunk hole looks like
Well, firstly let’s look at what a chipmunk hole looks like.
Chipmunks will burrow holes that can be between 2 and 3 inches in diameter, with a reasonably neat appearance. Unlike a mole hole, there is typically no mounds of soil left outside of the tunnel entrance.
If you see lots of holes within a 10-meter area, it possible they have been dug by chipmunks. They love to create supplementary holes which give different access point into the tunnels they create in your backyard.
How to test if it’s a chipmunk hole vs a snake hole habitat
If you’ve not seen a chipmunk (or snake) there are some tell-tale signs of chipmunk activity. Signs of chipmunk damage include:
- Uprooted bulbs in plant pots and garden beds.
- Multiple small holes, often near the foundations of your home or along paths.
- Seed and grain piles hidden away.
- Holes and bitemarks taken out of low-hanging vegetables and fruit.
Snakes do not do any of this, and in fact, snakes are great for your yard’s ecosystem. They can keep rodents away, such as rats and chipmunks.
Therefore, I would rather have a snake hole vs a chipmunk hole. I do not want chipmunks living in my backyard and near my home at all, for reasons I will explain in a moment.
If chipmunks have dug holes, I want a snake to come along, scare them off, and take the hole over.
One way you can test to see who is living in the hole is by filling the hole with tightly compacted earth and soil.
A snake living in the hole will not be able to dig back in. On the other hand, if you fill a hole a chipmunk lives in, it’s no barrier to their digging skills. The rodent will easily tunnel through the dirt and make a hole again.
Also keep an eye out for snakeskins. If a snake lives in the chipmunk hole, it will often shed nearby, and you will see the dry skins left in your yard.
Handy Hint: I’ve also published a guide on snake holes vs crawfish holes.
I’d rather snakes live in a hole than chipmunks
As you can gather, I am no fan of chipmunks, and in truth, I don’t really want snakes living in my backyard either. But give me a choice, and I’d rather snakes in a hole than chipmunks in a hole, and here’s the biggest reason why.
Chipmunks will eat your plants and dig holes in your backyard. Anything you have planted is fair game to them. They will also help themselves to bird seed or pet food that’s left in your yard.
But by far, the biggest reason I’d rather snakes win the battle of living in a hole, is the damage chipmunks can do to property.
Chipmunks are known for burrowing under sidewalks, driveways, patios, porches, walls, and the foundations of houses. Given how extensive their tunnelling can be, it’s possible that chipmunk holes can lead to weakening and damage to property.
It will cost a lot to repair ground that has collapsed due to chipmunk activity.
Snakes in your backyard will do nothing of the sort, and in fact, snakes will scare chipmunks away… so if you see chipmunk holes, hope snakes live in them, and not rodents!
Did You Know? Rat holes are very similar to chipmunk holes.
How to get rid of chipmunks in your yard
If there are no snakes, and it is indeed chipmunks in the holes, here are 5 humane ways you can get rid of the rodents in your backyard.
- Remove any food sources: this can include using chipmunk-proof bird feeders and keeping your clean of pet food or fruit that falls onto the lawn.
- Try an ultrasonic repellent: these devices make sounds that we can’t hear, but chipmunks can, and it could scare them off, here’s one on Amazon (or click the pic below).
- Use mesh or cages over your bulbs: if the chipmunks can’t reach your planted bulbs, it may discourage them from making holes and homes in your backyard.
- Keep your backyard tidy: this means mowing the lawn regularly and removing wood piles or gardening debris that might have given them some initial places to feel safe.
- Use an anti-chipmunk spray: some people swear that mixing cayenne pepper and water and spraying it near the holes will work.
In conclusion, it’s far better to have a snake in a hole, than a chipmunk in a hole. If you see holes, hope it’s a snake, as they won’t cause damage to your backyard plants, lawn, and above all, your home!