Are Chipmunks Good Climbers? [Can They Climb Walls, Fences & Poles]

are chipmunks good climbers

Chipmunks might very well be one of the cutest rodents on the planet. Cartoons often portray them as clever, creative, and wholesome critters. There is no doubt that chipmunks are excellent scavengers and proficient in nest building, but are they, good climbers? What exactly can these creatures climb? Let’s find out.

Depending on the surface in question, chipmunks try to climb just about anything. They prefer to have their feet solidly planted on the ground, but if the need arises, they will climb various structures to reach food. People have seen these rodents on rooftops, birdfeeders, and fence posts.

Let’s discuss the humble chipmunk and see what these furry rodents can and can’t climb. 

How they manage to get food, and where they prefer to stay and horde the food they find. Are chipmunks better climbers than we thought? Or are they just pretending to be good climbers?

Are Chipmunks Good Climbers?

Yes, chipmunks are considered good climbers, but they are by no means the best climbers in the rodent world. Their rat and squirrel brothers have them beaten by a mile. Nevertheless, Chipmunks will attempt to climb whatever is between themselves and the food they want.

These rodents, also known as timber tigers, ground squirrels, and minibears, prefer to spend their lives with their feet solidly planted on the ground. 

They often dig long burrows about 3 feet deep to keep them safe from roaming predators like hawks, foxes, bobcats, raccoons, owls, and coyotes. 

Chipmunks who climb know they are putting themselves at significant risk to acquire food.

Can Chipmunks Climb Walls?

Chipmunks can climb walls only if the wall has sufficient space between its stones and a rough enough texture. Smooth walls, or plastered walls, don’t give the chipmunk anything to latch its claws onto, thus making it near impossible for them to scale the wall.

Chipmunks have been seen to climb up walls that resemble more traditional stone walls with large stones and significant gaps between the rocks. 

They tend to have easier climbing rough brick walls than smooth ones without handholds or footholds. Their strong hind legs and sharp claws give them a natural athleticism.

These rodents can chew through drywall and, once inside the wall, use the internal wall beams to traverse the wall.

Can Chipmunks Climb Fences?

The answer varies based on the sort of fence in question. For example, chipmunks can struggle to climb chainlink fences as the fence is very narrow, making it difficult for the chipmunk to keep its balance. 

Chipmunks often hurry up a fence as quickly as possible to avoid dealing with the balance issue.

Larger fences with wide wood beams are much easier for chipmunks to climb. 

The rough wood texture of these fences gives chipmunks ample traction as their long claws can more easily grip the wood, allowing them to hold onto and climb up the fence without expending too much energy.

Can Chipmunks Climb Poles?

Can chipmunks climb steel poles? No. Can Chipmunks climb wooden poles? Yes. All these questions have the same thing in common. The textures and materials make the climb easy or difficult for the chipmunk. 

Chipmunks have five toes on their rear feet and four on their front feet. 

These rodents use their toenails to dig into the object they are attempting to climb. The harder, thinner, and smoother the object in question is, the harder it is for the chipmunk to climb. 

Chipmunks particularly struggle with thin, smooth rods holding up most bird feeders.

Why Do Chipmunks Climb?

Chipmunks will only climb objects, trees, and manufactured structures to acquire food or in an emergency when chased by a ground predator. As previously stated, chipmunks are perfectly contemptuous, staying on the ground and close to their burrow, offspring, and food stores.

Chipmunks love easily accessible birdfeeders as they are a source of many different kinds of seeds, fruits, and nuts. 

They don’t see birds as a threat and will often bully them away from feeders to ensure they get the most food.

Are Chipmunks More Active During The Day Or The Night?

Chipmunks are most active in the earlier parts of the morning and toward the later parts of the afternoon. Chipmunks will attempt to find food during the cooler sections of the day when it doesn’t take a lot of energy to keep them cool. 

Chipmunks prefer these periods as they are relatively safe from predators at this time. 

Unfortunately, venturing out when the sun is high and predators are most active often spells the end for our little rodent friends. 

Likewise, late nights owls patrol the sky, looking for the slightest movement below, ready to strike at a moment’s notice.

How High Can A Chipmunk Jump?

Chipmunks can jump surprisingly high. Depending on the size and activity levels of the chipmunk, some chipmunks have been observed to be able to jump as high as three feet. 

Three feet might not seem like a lot, but when you consider how short chipmunk legs are, it is pretty impressive, annoyingly impressive, but impressive non the less. 

They can also jump between structures like a tree and a nearby fence, or vice versa. Their strong hind legs make it easy for them to hop from ledge to ledge, making it difficult to stop or catch them.

If you want to keep food out of a chipmunk’s reach, you must place it at least three and a half feet off the ground.

Which Type Of Chipmunk Is The Best Climber?

The Lodgepole Chipmunk is considered the best climber in the chipmunk family. They are known as “food robbers” for a reason. This chipmunk species loves stealing food from bird nests and will climb to the very tops of trees to find them.

These little climbers can be both harmful and helpful to humans. They tend to keep certain pests in check that eat your crops, but they can also carry dangerous diseases. Best to keep a lookout for these critters from a distance.

Final Word

Chipmunks are renowned as expert climbers, and their skills may be significantly increased or hampered depending on the material they’re scaling.

They prefer rougher surfaces that allow their claws to latch onto and vast structures that support their bodies so they don’t have to deal with balance issues.

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