Introduction: Chipmunk Trap - for Live Catch-and-release

Chipmunks are cute. But, they're deceptive little rascals. They sucker us in with cuteness and then dig out foundations and chew up everything else. It's time to proceed with the Chipmunk Habitat Inter-Relocation Program (CHIRP).

This instructable is an addition to this rabbit trap instructable that I did a while back. It's essentially the same trap, but chipmunk size. Nobody gets hurt, and this trap will solve all of your chipmunk woes (until next year when it'll start again).

See the animated gif to see how to set it and how it works.

If you make one of these traps, please attend to the traps...check them in a timely manner. Live traps are great because no one gets hurt, but it's inhumane to capture an animal and then leave it unattended for a long time.


  1. boards - I used wood that was about 3/5 inches in width by 3/8 inch in thickness. The dimensions are somewhat just want the whole thing to be "chipmunk" size. By that, I mean the entrance is just cozy enough for a chipmunk to crawl into.
  2. "posts" - these are long, skinny boards. The ones I used were about 3/4 inches by 1/2 inch. Again, the dimensions are not critical.
  3. dowel rod - or, just get a solid stick, it'll do
  4. string
  5. grill or hardware cloth - this is the "fence" on the sides of the trap. You want it to be strong because they'll chew once trapped. It's possible, and easier to make one without the just use wood. But, there's a big can't see inside and therefore you can't see if you've got a chipmunk. You really don't want to open the trap door and peer in--it's too dark to see anyway--'cause the little guy will scurry out and you'll freak out.


  1. saw
  2. hammer and nails
  3. wood glue (optional)
  4. knife

Step 1: Build a Skinny Box.

My goal is to make a long, skinny box that the chipmunk will crawl into. I started with a piece of wood, it was generally a 1 x 4 (actual size was 3/4" X 3 3/4"), 11 inches long. Realize, these measurements are very flexible. Chipmunks don't care.

In the second picture I added two "wall" pieces about 3.5" long and 3 inches high. Again, dimensions are flexible. Then, do the same with two more wall pieces on the other end. I think the photos show it easily.

In picture 6, I added a "roof" and then in picture 7 I added a "stopper bar." In picture 8, I cut a little square piece of wood to slide into the back "wall" and seal it up. We now have a little "house" with "windows" on both sides.

Why add windows? If you don't, when the trap is tripped, you won't know if someone is inside or if it falsely tripped. Then, you have to try to open the front door, peek into dark, wonder if you see a little guy in there, then he BOOM! busts out right in front of your face and scares the dickens out of you. I learned this with my first trap.

Step 2: A Trap Door and Wire Windows.

About that stopper bar. It's so that the little trap door can slide up and down and stop the chipmunk from pushing the door out.

Next, I put some mesh wire/metal that I had laying around onto the side windows. This is likely overkill with the metal, but they will chew it. I made one with screen and they chewed it up pretty quick. Stronger is better here.

Step 3: Add the Cross-bar

Now we need to add on a little structure as shown in the pics. The wood 1/2 X 3/4 inch pieces. The vertical poles were 11 inches long. The horizontal cross bar was 10 inches long. The "handle" was 3.5" and comes in nicely to carry the trap, especially when you've got one inside.

Step 4: Make the Trigger and String It Up.

The trigger is a critical component. I used a dowel rod, but I've also used a stick that I've just broken off a tree. This one is about 6.5" inches long. Eyeball it for your trap. Drill a hole in the roof of the box near the back end. Mine was about 2" from the back. It's for the trigger to grab onto and hold the trap door up.

The important thing is the shape of the notch. Picture two shows the shape pretty well. You'll just need to carve it and test it, carve and test. You want the notch to be big enough to hold, but not so big that it won't trip when the chipmunk bumps into it.

The last picture shows the trap set and ready.

Step 5: Finished Product.

I have had luck using peanut butter as bait. I put it on the end of a stick, then just put the entire stick into the trap...making sure the peanut butter gets all the way back into the back of the trap, behind the trigger. I usually dab a tiny bit on the "front door" of the trap to get their attention. That is a free treat, then they see the main course inside the trap, and in they go.

In case it's not apparent, the way the trap works is that while the chipmunk is eating the peanut butter at the very back of the trap, he'll bump the trigger stick that's poking down from above, and...OOPS! You got him.

See the animated gif to see an actual chipmunk release.

If you make one of these traps, please attend to the traps...check them in a timely manner. Live traps are great because no one gets hurt, but it's inhumane to capture an animal and then leave it unattended for a long time.

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