How to deal with problem Chipmunk in Massachusetts

Chipmunk (chipmunk, chippie, grinny)


Chipmunks are small, striped ground squirrels found throughout North America. They are small, only 5-6 inches long. They primarily eat and store nuts, acorns, berries, seeds, mushrooms, insects, and carrion. They are inactive from late fall through winter, relying during that time on their stored food. Chipmunks are found in open forests and woodlot edges with rocky cover, but they also inhabit areas in and around homes. They dig extensive burrows in, around, and under plants, stumps, stone walls, rocks, buildings, patios, and foundations.

Chipmunks breed twice per year, in spring (April-May), then in summer (July-August), bearing 4 to 5 pups per litter. Breeding seasons should be considered when conducting nuisance control activity in order to avoid orphaning young.

Most chipmunk damage and problems are a result of:

  • Feeding on plants and flowers
  • Raiding bird feeders
  • Burrowing
  • Entry into basements, garages, etc.

Laws and regulations to be aware of

Regulations for Massachusetts

Relocation of Wildlife

No person shall transport any fish or wildlife species in Massachusetts. 

Exceptions to transporting and liberating wildlife in Massachusetts include: (a) Permitted Massachusetts wildlife rehabilitators may transport within Massachusetts and liberate rehabilitated wildlife; (b) a permitted Massachusetts problem animal control agent may liberate problem animals at the site of capture, or may transport within Massachusetts such animals to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or for the purposes of euthanasia.

Killing of Wildlife by Owner or Tenant of Land

Under Mass.General Law 131, Section 37, a property owner or tenant of land may hunt or take by other means, except by poison or snare, any mammal which he finds damaging his property, provided that such killing is not contrary to any federal law or regulation.  Animals killed under this law, must be reported to authorities within 24 hours.

Trap Types Restricted in Massachusetts

A person shall not use, set, place, maintain, manufacture or possess any trap for the purpose of capturing furbearing mammals, except for common type mouse and rat traps, nets, and box or cage type traps, as otherwise permitted by law. A box or cage type trap is one that confines the whole animal without grasping any part of the animal, including Hancock or Bailey's type live trap for beavers. Other than nets and common type mouse or rat traps, traps designed to capture and hold a furbearing mammal by gripping the mammal's body, or body part are prohibited, including steel jaw leghold traps, padded leghold traps, and snares.

Use of Poison

No person, except as otherwise provided by law, shall place or expose poisons or registered frightening agents for the purpose of killing or frightening wild birds or mammals without obtaining from the Director a permit so to do.

Firearm Discharge

A person shall not discharge any firearm or release any arrow upon or across any state or hard surfaced highway, or within one hundred and fifty feet, of any such highway, or possess a loaded firearm or hunt by any means within five hundred feet of any dwelling in use, except as authorized by the owner or occupant thereof.

While we attempt to provide guidance about state and federal regulations pertaining to specific species and control techniques, we do not provide information about local jurisdictions (city, town, county, etc.) where regulations may be more restrictive, especially as it applies to discharge of firearms, transport of animals or use of trapping equipment. Contact your local city or county government to inquire further. No guarantee is made that information (or lack of information) associated with a species or control technique is completely accurate or current. You should become familiar with federal, state and local laws before beginning any wildlife control activities.