Are Chipmunks Good Pets? Let’s See!

Sure, chipmunks are cute and all. Practically everyone has heard of chipmunks before – that much we know for sure. After all, they’ve been on the TV and the big screen multiple times. Who hasn’t heard of Alvin and the Chipmunks, right? It’s true… chipmunks are adorable little creatures that many people can’t get enough of. No wonder a lot of people consider the possibility of actually having them as pets! However, are chipmunks good pets?

That’s a good question that we should all be asking before we even consider actually keeping them and trying to domesticate them.

Chipmunks are adorable in every way – both in appearance and also in behavior. Animal lovers really get tempted to try to keep them as pets for this reason. Today, we are going to discuss whether chipmunks actually make good pets or not. If they do, what exactly do you need to have and do in order to keep a chipmunk in happy health?

Chipmunks in the Wild

Pet Chipmunk

Chipmunks in general are some of the most adorable little creatures known to man. They look incredibly innocent and harmless, and it’s no wonder that many have an overwhelming desire to pet or even cuddle them. However, unless the chipmunk has been domesticated from birth, these little animals are actually wild, unpredictable, and will very likely be weary of you. As a result, they generally won’t allow you to come near them, much less touch them! Sometimes, you may find that these little critters might even bite if you attempt to pet them or get near them.

To be completely honest, we would generally not advise you to try and keep wild animals as pets – simply because they belong in the wild and should be allowed to remain in their natural habitat. However, if you really wish to have a chipmunk for a pet, it is possible.

Remember that if you want to keep these wild animals as pets it will take a LOT of time, effort and commitment to get there – these little animals need a lot of time and attention before they eventually begin to trust you.

What Are Chipmunks Like?

These cute little creatures are usually needy. You can expect these animals to want your attention frequently – that’s for sure. On top of that, they are also known to be quite stubborn – something that you might find annoying and frustrating to deal with. This is why it is so important for you to have a lot of patience if you want to keep a chipmunk for a pet. They actually may end up pushing your limits and making you lose your patience once in a while – exactly the reason why we say that you need to be fully committed if you are going to keep a chipmunk for a pet.

Furthermore, chipmunks are known to be rather destructive – most certainly not a quality you would normally look for when you consider a pet! To be completely honest, chipmunks are comparable to untrained puppies, in terms of destruction. They could get into your stuff and wreak utter havoc. Your furniture could get all scratched and nibbled up. Your shoes and all of your other valuable items could also end up in disrepair. If you keep a chipmunk for a pet, you may want to limit their uncaged time for this particular reason.

If this was the sole factor to consider, perhaps we might answer “are chipmunks good pets” with a resounding NO. However…

It’s Not All Bad!

If you are really determined to keep a chipmunk as a pet, the simple fact is that yes, it is possible…and there certainly are plus sides to it too. We humans sleep during the night (typically) and spend most of our active time in the day, making us diurnal. Similarly, chipmunks hold the same type of pattern – and so, you won’t have to worry about being kept awake by your chipmunk pet. In contrast to many other pets that are nocturnal, chipmunks typically will not keep you awake or bother you at night because they, themselves, will be sleeping!

Another good thing about keeping chipmunks for pets is the fact that they don’t need any bathing or grooming (something that many would surely come to appreciate). These adorable little critters aren’t as smelly as other creatures, such as sugar gliders, cats, or even dogs. As an added bonus, chipmunks also do not need any litter training, so there is much less to worry about in that regard.

Also note that chipmunks are quite resilient and hardy. As a result, they often fall sick infrequently. This is a good thing, especially if you are worried that you’ll frequently have to bring your pet to the vet.

Are chipmunks good pets? You can judge that for yourself! Here’s some more information about them that you might find helpful.

Keeping Chipmunks

Naturally, if you are absolutely committed to keeping a chipmunk as your pet, you need to know what they need to live happy, healthy lives. This is why we have done all the research for you, so that you can more easily prepare for when you get to keep a chipmunk (just in case). So, here is all you need to know:

What Kind of Housing Do Chipmunks Need?

Are Chipmunks Good Pets

Chipmunks are small on average, and so it comes as no surprise that most people would think that they would need a small-ish cage. However, this is actually wrong, and is a complete misconception. Although chipmunks are tiny, they are very different from hamsters! In contrast to hamsters, chipmunks are actually incredibly active and as a result, they will need as much space as they can possibly get.

These playful little animals despise being confined to small spaces for long periods of time. They are curious and rather hyperactive animals that enjoy running, jumping, and exploring.

Therefore, the cage that you do get for your chipmunk will have to be big enough to allow them all of the play-time and exercise they need. Ideally, you would want a cage about 6 ft x 6 ft x 4 ft. Most people who have kept chipmunks in the past do not recommend keeping an adult chipmunk in a cage less than 4 ft in height. And, of course, the bigger the cage, the better. Yes, these little critters can actually take up a ton of space for how small they are!

Note that when placing the cage inside a room, it is best to rest it against the wall in order to help the chipmunks feel more secure. Putting the cage in the middle of the room will make them feel too exposed, causing stress and anxiety.

What Kind of Flooring Do Chipmunks Need?

Chipmunks love to burrow by nature – yes, they are indeed burrowing animals. And so, it’s in their nature to dig in order to store their food and any other things that they may consider valuable. Therefore, if you want to prevent any damage to the floors of your cage, you may want to place down some peat moss. You can even use a bale with holes that are cut into the plastic. This will allow the burrowing chipmunk to satisfy their urges to explore and roam without causing any damage!

You also have the option of putting shredded paper or typical wood shavings all over the cage floor. However, cleaning everything can be incredibly tedious, so it’s best to add a waste catch pan underneath the cage to make it easier to clean.

What Kind of Accessories Do Chipmunks Need?

Once you’ve gotten a cage all set up and ready for a chipmunk, the next thing you need to do is to fill it up with accessories. In general, you will need a nest box made out of wood. If you plan to have more than just two chipmunks, you will end up needing one box for every adult. You don’t need the nest box to be huge in size – a small box that is about 6in x 8in x 6in is enough. You’ll need this box to have a hole for an entrance, roughly 2.5 inches in diameter. This hole should be halfway up one of the box’s sides. The box can then be filled with either hay, shredded paper, or even dried leaves.

To help your chipmunk stay entertained while they are in the cage, it’s a good idea to keep some stuff like logs, pipes, and the like inside the cage for them to play around in.

Letting Your Chipmunk Out of the Cage

Because chipmunks are wild creatures, they will get antsy and bored if you keep them in a cage 24/7. Therefore, you’ll need to let the chipmunk out every now and then. However, because we have established that chipmunks are rather destructive and hyperactive little creatures, you will need to make sure that the room you release the chipmunk in is, in a word, “chipmunk-proof”.

Chipmunk-Proofing Your Room

To ensure that the room you release your chipmunk into is safe, it’s best to pick a room that is spacious and has a minimum amount of furniture and belongings. You should also cover all of the places in which a chipmunk could hide or escape in. Because of their curious, adventuring nature, these animals won’t waste a second not exploring once released into the room. They may end up getting into a spot that you could have a hard time catching them from!

Make sure that this chipmunk-proof room has no valuables in order to avoid getting your stuff chewed up and destroyed. Electrical wires are of particular concern, so do your best to remove them from the room. Otherwise, ensure that you supervise your chipmunk!

You can add things like tree branches, logs, and shelves into the room to allow the chipmunk to feel right at home. It also staves off boredom and allows them to exercise. Move these objects around every so often to keep things feeling fresh and new to your pet.

Are chipmunks good pets? Well, they can be – but only if you have the dedication and the patience for it.

Outdoor Enclosures

You can also choose to put your new pet chipmunk outdoors, if you wish. An outdoor enclosure is possible, and in this case you can use something like an aviary cage. However, you need to still keep in mind the dimensions we mentioned above. Additionally, you should cover up the floor so that the chipmunks won’t burrow out and escape!

What Do Chipmunks Eat?

are chipmunks good pets

Of course, you can’t keep a chipmunk for a pet without knowing what they eat! So here’s what you need to know…

Adult chipmunks require roughly 28 grams a day of food. They should have cereals, vegetables (such as carrots and turnips), fruits, nuts, and a small amount of animal protein (eggs and pieces of meat, for example). You can feed them peanuts, as well as sunflower seeds, but it’s best to give these in only small amounts. Chipmunks enjoy variety, so you generally won’t have to worry about them rejecting your food.

Feed your chipmunk in their own food dish. Ideally, you want a ceramic dish because these hyper little critters won’t be able to tip it or flip it over. Also, you will need a constant water source so you have to make sure they have a water dish (water changed every day) or a water feeder bottle (the drip type that you can find in pet stores).

Now that you know much more about chipmunks and the requirements that come with them, are chipmunks good pets? What do you think?

Additional Information

Before we wrap up this article answering the question of “are chipmunks good pets”, we want to discuss a few more tips!

Grooming for Chipmunks

As we previously mentioned, chipmunks are rather clean little critters. They do their own grooming, and as a result, you won’t need to give them any baths! In fact, you won’t have to do any grooming for them at all – they take care of everything in that regard. However, you will need to clean their cages regularly (every few days) and also give it a thorough scrubbing once every week or two.

Handling Your Chipmunk

Chipmunks in general are not very affectionate. As wild creatures, they typically don’t even enjoy being handled. The only time you will really be able to get a chipmunk used to being handled, as well as petted, is when you get them used to it from the time they are a baby. For them to enjoy affection, they will need to be domesticated and tamed from the beginning.

Even some of the most timid and well tamed chipmunks still won’t enjoy being petted and handled – instead, they will likely just cling or even hang onto you.


Are chipmunks good pets?

We’ve surely attempted to answer that question here today! Chipmunks indeed hold many different qualities that can make them both a good and a bad pet. They can be rather expensive to start off with and maintain yearly, but in the end, if you are committed and patient, you will be able to keep this cute little animal as a pet!