Chipmunks and squirrels are closely related, and both are members of the squirrel family. But they have significantly different characteristics that impact how they interact with homes and businesses in NYC and the types of damage they can do.
In New York and New Jersey, the local species are the Eastern chipmunk and the grey squirrel. Learn more about the differences between these two animals to help identify what is causing trouble at your home and what you should do to stop it.
Traits of Squirrels and Chipmunks
Squirrels and chipmunks have a similar silhouette but are otherwise very different. Some of what makes them unique include:
- Appearance – Chipmunks are tan in color with black and white stripes on their back. Grey squirrels are a grey-brown color, often with a lighter underside, and a distinctive bushy tail. Squirrels can weigh a pound or more, but chipmunks weigh only 2 to 4 ounces.
- Habitat – Adaptable squirrels thrive in environments ranging from urban to wild. They are climbers and will often reside in elevated spaces like trees and attics. Chipmunks prefer woodland, making them more common on rural and suburban properties. They burrow and are more likely to be found close to or underneath the ground.
- Diet – Omnivorous chipmunks will eat fruits, vegetables, and nuts, as well as bird eggs, insects, worms, and small amphibians. Squirrels are solely vegetarian and prefer nuts, berries, and seeds, although those in urban areas are accustomed to eating trash.
They can appear to have similar behavior as well, as both are problem-solving pests that are quick to look for exists and avoid danger. Typically, any issue you have with squirrels or chipmunks is by accident, as both would prefer to avoid humans but still find themselves in people’s homes and landscapes.
Damage to Properties from Squirrels and Chipmunks
Both squirrels and chipmunks can cause damage to your landscaping with their eating habits, but a chipmunk’s expanded diet and propensity to burrow may result in additional garden damage.
When it comes to interior damage, squirrels are more often responsible. Squirrels use adjacent trees and powerlines to climb onto roofs. From there, they will find an opening or use their claws to make one. Once inside, they’ll nest in attics and wall voids where continued chewing can damage insulation, wiring, HVAC ducts, and more.
Chipmunks and squirrels can cause extensive damage indoors and out at homes and businesses in New York. The habits and size of squirrels make them more of a risk for costly interior destruction, but chipmunks damage in your yard can be every equally frustrating. NY and NJ Animal Control trappers can effectively remove and prevent either pest. Call us today to learn more about how we can help.