Now you know what a Chipmunk is how do you look after one?
Well the first thing to know about Chipmunks is they are different to Hamsters and other Rodents. A mistake lots of people make with these animals is treating them like a Hamster, this includes the cage they keep them in and the diet they are fed and how they handle the Chipmunk. Many pet shops will also give out completely wrong information and new owners would believe this information will be correct since the Chipmunk is a Rodent same as a Hamster or Gerbil. Chipmunks are Exotic Rodents for a reason, treating one like a Hamster is going to end up with it living in a cage far too small, feeding it an incomplete or completely unsuitable diet devoid of Calcium and going to cause stress by the owner and their children trying to handle it the same way they would a Hamster.
It is important that new owners do their research, when I got Chipmunks there was not much information out there on how to properly care for these animals so this led to me creating this website.Chipmunks do not make a good first pet for a child or a nice pet for young Children in general. They can bite hard, hate sudden movements which can frighten them, are very quick and they are also not very hand able, they will not like being held or enjoy being cuddled!. Chipmunks are not suited to children younger than teenage. I was 12 when I got my first Chipmunks and I was well experienced with other Rodents first. If you want a pet for a young child get a Hamster, Rat or Mouse, they make lovely pets and usually are very happy to be handled and their care is also quite easy. Chipmunks are always under your feet making it easy to accidentally step on them or injure them in some way, the tails are also so vulnerable and kids often grab at animals tails, if they do this to a Chipmunk it will shed its tail and it never grows back!. And the diet is not something you could expect kids to get correct. Also remember kids often get bored easily with pets, this is the main reason I won't sell mine to be pets for children. A pet is a life time commitment not a passing craze or just for Christmas!. I do think growing up with pets is great for children so I am not against kids having animals but the animal's care has to be the parents responsibly. They can't expect children to want to clean them out or always remember to feed them and when the kids do lose interest they must be able to take over the pets care full time otherwise they should never buy a pet for their children in the first place. So many pets are given up because kids don't look after them anymore or want to handle them and its really sad.
What type of accommodation do Chipmunks need?
Chipmunks need space so a Hamster cage will not make a suitable home. They should never be housed in aquariums either as they need to climb. With Chipmunks the more space you can give them the better. There is not a big choice of Chipmunk cages available to buy and many are too small so its a good idea to have a good look around before you buy one. For Chipmunks bigger is better really it can never be too big as they are very active animals, always climbing and running about. For a single Chipmunk the minium dimentions should be at least 5 foot high by at least 2 foot width and 2 foot length (Height is the most important, cages that a longer than taller are not suitable for these animals) one Chipmunk will be very happy in this size cage and will never be lonely as Chipmunks are naturally solitary, as with all animals they are social when young and youngsters are much easier to mix together than older Chipmunks. For a pair you really need a bigger sized cage at least taller I think 5 1/2-6 foot high is better for a pair or a group of Chipmunks. You can't buy many cages that tall so you would probably be looking to make something. You can buy cages with lots of levels which are quite tall and these are a good size for a Chipmunk but its best that the levels are removed to allow maximum space for the Chipmunks to dart around. One or two levels can be left as Chipmunks do like shelves but too many levels would restrict the Chipmunks space to move around. Large bird cages make good homes too but these can be expensive and you should check the size of the bars that they are not too wide for Chipmunks. Some people have bought huge Parrot cages with wide bar spacing and covered over the bars with a small sized wire mesh so wide barred cages can be an option if you are good with D.I.Y. You can of course make your own cage you don't have to be great at D.I.Y. and by making it yourself you can make it to your own specifications, some people have made really nice cages. When making a cage it's important to remember that a Chipmunk is a rodent so any exposed wood will be gnawed. You need to put the wire mesh on the inside of the frames. Having a wire meshed bottom to the cage with a removable tray underneath makes cleaning easy. You could also have a wooden floor (covered with mesh) but you might find this might smell if they use the floor as a toilet. Some people have used tiles for the base so its easy to sweep and clean. Another thing to remember about Chipmunks is they are great at escaping so something to bare in mind is where you site the cage. Generally the cage should be in a room with not too much furniture/places to hide (in case they escape or its where they have their out of cage time) but its a good idea to have it in an area of the house where the people are in a lot as with especially shy Chipmunks seeing people all the time even just walking around/passing by will help them get less nervous. The cage should be out of draughts and not in direct sunlight. Having a stand raises the cage off the floor which reduces draughts. Chipmunks love shelves so the cage should have at least one of these but several at different levels is a good idea. Also include branches and wooden perches so they have plenty of places to sit and climb on.
The cage above is almost 6 foot high (175cm tall). Length is about 3 1/2 foot (103cm long) and the width is about 1 1/2 foot (46cm wide). This is a excellent size for a single Chipmunk and is also a good size for two Chipmunks.
Here are some more cages:
The wooden cage is no longer in use, we had it for 15 years and unfortunately because its so old now it needs a lot of repairs to it before it could ever be used again. Plus we haven't got room in the house for it at the moment. This cage was a good size, great for a single Chippie or a pair. It was a well built cage but if it has faults it is that the wood back would of better if the wood was covered with mesh or just a normal wired pane of wood. They did chew the wooden back (not right through it) and also the cage was not the easiest to clean. They tended to urinate down the wooden back or when they peed on the wooden shelf some of it run down the back. We also had problems with our first female urinating out of one of the side panes so that's why its covered with a wooden sheet in the first picture above. But we later removed that because later Chipmunks didn't do it. It might be better to have the back of the cage a normal wooden and wire meshed pane but a plastic sheet fixed onto the back, maybe that wouldn't smell as much because unfortunately wood does soak it in and it can smell after a while. Make it easy to remove the plastic so you can give it a good clean. Also there was other exposed wood in the cage which got chewed. All the wood should of been covered with mesh but my Grandad who didn't really know about Chipmunks I think did a good job. The position of the door didn't make it the easiest cage to access, the door would of been better as a lower door or the whole side panel being a door. Things that I think were a good idea was having a small side door which I could use to put a food bowl in (without opening the main door, this helped prevent escapes but we found they chewed the shelf which the bowl went on and one Chipmunk used it as a toilet so it didn't work as well as hoped.)
The next cages are Bird cages. The very end one on the left is ours (not in use anymore) the other two housed some Chipmunks I was looking after for a friend one Christmas while she was on holiday so its her cages. These cages are quite good for Chipmunks, two of them are only suitable for one Chipmunk as not large enough for two or more but the one on the right which I have another photo of below is a good size I think, it would be better if it was taller but width and length size is about right. This can house a single Chipmunk, or up to 3 if they get along well and have lots of out of cage time. I think it is a Ferplast Mito. Both the owner's cages have been well fitted out with things to keep them entertained and I got some great ideas myself to do some improvements to my Cages. These cages have lots or doors on each side including some big ones so there is lots of access into the cage and you can use a small door to put a bowl on a shelf. Cleaning isn't the easiest, you need to use the big doors to put in new floor covering because the trays tend to be difficult to remove/get rusty easily and the gap between the top tray and the second tray under that one can allow Chippies to escape. The second tray is there I think to stop that but the cage is designed for Birds and Chips are so small and can flatten their bodies, it doesn't take much gap for them to get out so if using this type of cage check the metal cover (which goes over the gap at the front of the cage is secured). The bar spacing is good I've had no trouble with them squeezing through the bars. I would say on my cage it has verticle bars on two sides, these can make it harder for Chipmunks to climb up them, horizontal bars are much better. But generally Chipmunks will soon get used to vertical bars. The triangular roof of these cages be a problem, we found we had to remove the roof to get them in and out of our house because it was too wide to get through the doors. You might want to take the roof off and make your own flat roof, some people have done this and actually It can look good and makes it easy to hang things from the roof like hammocks. Having the cage on a stand is good this prevents drafts and also means you could keep things under the cage to keep the room tidier. Overall I think they make reasonable cages I will list some advantages and disadvantages of each cage I have bought or come across for sale below. Some are not very tall so you need to get the right size for the number of Chips you plan to house in there. You could always get a second-hand cage on places like Preloved, our one was second hand but still in quite good condition, quite often people have similar cages for sale so worth a look. Ebay might be another place to try for cages. Something to take note: lots of cages sold for Chipmunks especially second-hand cages are too small. Many people think Hamster cages or similar size small cages are suitable for these animals that is wrong.
Here is a closer picture of the bigger Bird cage:
This cage is a FERPLAST MITO LARGE, great size for a single Chip, could house up to three. This particular cage had two females living in it. The dimensions are 169cm high, by 119cm by 75cm
Our Bird cage was a FERPLAST BRIO. This cage I got from a friend who had bought Chipmunks from me earlier that year, she had bought an outside aviary so no longer needed her inside cage . It is just over 5 foot high (160cm) with the stand. Without the stand it is just over 4 foot high (137cm). The length is just over 2 foot (66cm) and the width is just under 2 foot (57cm). When I first got this cage I thought it would be a good height for Tiny who was only about 6 months then but I quickly found it was too small for him. The height lets it down because it is not as tall as it looks because a fair bit of the height is taken up by the stand part, my male quickly got so bored in this cage, and he became too hyperactive for it so I needed to move him into something bigger and instead I put an older female in there who wasn't as active.
Unfortunately I cannot find out what the bar spacing is, I think it was quite narrow if I remember probably more narrower than the Rosewood Aurora and Happy House cages so babies less than 4 weeks old probably couldn't squeeze out and because the lower part is at first solid metal they probably couldn't climb up it but to be on the safe side if you use it for a mother and babies you might want to half cover the lower part of all the sides with cardboard or wood until the babies are over 4 weeks old.
Advantages of the FERPLAST cages:
. Attractive looking
. A reasonable size cage, good width and length
. Good small bar spacing so no escapes, even tiny babies won't get out
. all metal cage (except for one plastic tray) so not easily gnawed
. has some horizontal bars which are better for the Chipmunks to climb on
. Removable metal tray to make cleaning easier, also can't be chewed
. no wire grill at the bottom of the cage so nicer for the Chipmunk's feet
. lets them dig in the tray because of no wire grill at the bottom
. lots of small doors and several large doors (bottom and top) make access to the cage user friendly
. has a stand so reduces risk of draughts and has space underneath for some storage.
. wheels make the cage easy to move around.
Disadvantages of FERPLAST cages:
. Paint chips easy, cage also can rust and bits will eventually break off
. height isn't the best, these cages only have about 4 foot of actual height the Chipmunk can use, the rest is just the stand part of the cage. The BRIO cages are only big enough for one Chipmunk. The MITO cage could house up to three adult Chipmunks maximum.
. some vertical bars can make it more difficult for the Chipmunk to get around the cage
. The tray can rust, chip or bits can in time break off. The tray can get stuck or be stiff to remove. There is one plastic tray which can be easily chewed.
. The flap which goes over the tray area allows a lot of stuff such as bedding to fall out of the cage and can allow Chipmunks to escape, when tray is out there is a gap they can squeeze through. This needs securing as Chipmunks can easily push it open.
. I have found the doors can be stiff/hard to open or can get stuck.
. The triangular roof is a hazard, it has sharp edges and sticks out further than the main cage so needs to be removed before the cage can be taken in or out of the house
. You can't easily hang things from the roof of the cage so the roof part of the cage is wasted space.
. the wheels can fall off or get stiff so are hard to move.
. The cage can be a bit tricky to put together, the parts which slot the cage together are long so it really has to be assembled outside or if inside has to be done with the cage lying on the floor which makes it more difficult. It is really a two person job.
. The bits that slot the cage together or the actual sides of the cage can easily bend and this makes putting the cage together more difficult. With ours we had to force them in which still meant the cage was a bit bent but this is a common problem with cages of this design. Some pieces have got bent in transit, but if this happens with yours you can hammer them in.
ROSEWOOD AURORA 600-
This cage I got with my Chipmunks Sugar and Spice, their owner had bought them from me a few years before but found she didn't have enough time for them anymore so I took them back with the cage she had for them as I didn't have a spare cage of my own.
The Dimensions are 156cm high, 59cm by 88cm
Bar spacing is 11mm so no chance of adult Chipmunks or older babies squeezing through.
Advantages of the ROSEWOOD AURORA 600
. Its a reasonable sized cage, great length and width, height lets it down a bit as not the tallest.
. Good bar spacing, no escapes once Chipmunks are over 4 weeks old unless they are especially tiny!
. The cage is all metal so not easily gnawed
. Removable metal tray makes cleaning easy
. several large and small doors (top and bottom) on the front make cleaning easy. The large doors are very large so very practical for cleaning but allow your Chipmunks to slip past you easily.
. has a stand so reduces risk of draughts and has space underneath for storage
. wheels make the cage easy to move around
. If you buy the cage brand new it comes with shelves added, you don't really need the ladders so i would remove those for Chipmunks as they can get around fine without them. You might want to keep them in at first until they get used to getting around without them.
. It has a useful small side door with a shelf area with food bowls that slides out of the cage, so you can easily top up the food without having to open the main doors.
. The roof is flat and barred so you can easily hang toys from it so can use all available space in the cage.
Disadvantages of the ROSEWOOD AURORA 600
. All the bars are vertical which can cause problems for Chipmunks getting around especially very young babies
. Babies younger than 4 weeks can easily fall through the wire grill at the bottom so if you use it as a breeding cage you need to fully cover the bottom to prevent this happening. They can't get out of the bars at the sides unless they are already able to climb at that age as there is a solid metal bit all around the bottom of each cage side, before they can reach the bars.
. The wire grill at the bottom of the cage can cause Bumblefoot so it should be at least partly covered by something soft like a mat.
. Height isn't the best, like the Ferplast only about 4 foot of height is available to the Chipmunks. I would house no more than three adults maximum in this cage.
. The paint does chip, can rust and eventually bits can break off
. The tray can rust, the paint can chip and eventually bits can break off. The metal grill can sometimes cause the tray to get stuck, make it stiff to remove.
. You do tend to get a lot of mess underneath the cage, there is a slight gap at the back where the tray doesn't quite fully fit and this allows lots to fall through the cage. Definitely have the cage on a easily cleanable surface.
.Urine/poop can drip down the edges of the stand part and onto the wheels and floor if the Chipmunks go to the toilet on the metal edge of the cage. This can then lead to ruining your carpet or rusting of the cage.
.The flap which goes over the tray area, allows a lot of stuff to fall through and can be easily pushed open by the Chipmunks if not fully secured. They can squeeze out even with the metal grill as there is a slight gap.
. The doors can be quite stiff to open or get stuck, they also make a lot of noise when you open them so difficult not to alert the Chipmunks to you doing things in the cage even when they are asleep!
. The cage itself rattles when the Chipmunks are running around it so it is not the most quiet of cages.
. The small sliding door on the side which has the bowls does have a small gap which may allow small babies to squeeze out. Also Chipmunks can easily push the sliding door open so this door needs securing.
. the wheels can rust, fall off or be hard to move
. The cage is tricky to put together, it really needs to be done outside as the parts that slot it together are very long and will easily hit your ceiling if you try and do it with the cage upright. It is a two person job.
. Like the Ferplast the sides of the cage and the bits that slot in can bend and can arrive already bent. Ours was quite badly bent we had to force the pieces together and they are still quite bent. The doors can also bend so that is a big problem with these type of cage designs.
LIBERTA RODENT HAPPY HOUSE
This cage I bought brand new last year and I think it is probably one of the best and biggest cages you can buy for Chipmunks especially if you want to house more than one. It comes with shelves and ladders, you might want to replace the barred shelves with wooden ones as metal is not the best for Rodent's feet although as long as you cover most of the wire grill on the bottom of the cage with something soft like a mat you can probably leave the metal shelves in as at least they can get some rest bite from walking on bars all the time. The ladders aren't needed for adult Chipmunks but you may want to leave them in at first for babies or young Chipmunks while they get used to getting around the cage without them.
The dimensions are 180cm height, 80cm by 50cm
Bar spacing is 12mm so won't allow adult Chipmunks or older babies to escape.
Advantages of the LIBERTA RODENT HAPPY HOUSE
. Very attractive cage
. All metal (except for plastic tray) so not easily gnawed
. It is a good sized cage, good width and length, it looks very tall but a lot of the height is taken up by the stand so its not as tall as it looks
. Good bar spacing, babies won't be able to get out once over 4 weeks old unless very tiny.
. Removable tray makes cleaning easy. Unlike the Rosewood this one doesn't allow escape when the tray is removed. With the grill in there is no gap they can squeeze through.
. has lots of small doors on three sides and two large doors on the front (top and bottom) so makes access to the cage easy, however the large doors are quite narrow.
. has a stand so reduces the risk of draughts and you can use the stand to store things as it actually has a shelf underneath that the other cages don't have.
. easy to move around because it has wheels
. The small doors can be used to slide out the food bowls so you don't have to open the main doors to top up the food. It comes with the bowls.
. The roof is flat and barred so great for hanging things from.
Disadvantages of the LIBERTA RODENT HAPPY HOUSE
. The bars are vertical which can make it especially difficult for young babies to climb up the bars.
, Babies younger than 4 weeks old can fall through the wire grill at the bottom of the cage and could also escape through the side bars. So if you use the cage as a breeding cage you must cover the wire grill and put wood or cardboard along the lower part of each side of the cage, so they can't get out.
. Only just over 4 foot of height is available to the Chipmunks but it is hard to get cages that are much taller. I would house no more than 3 adult Chipmunks maximum in this cage. If you want a cage big enough to keep more than 3 adults you would need to go for a huge Parrot cage or build your own or get an aviary outside.
. I haven't had the cage that long so can't say if it will rust like the others have but the paint probably could chip.
. The tray is plastic so can't rust, however it could be chewed if you use it inside the cage on top of the wire grill rather than underneath it. The tray is not big enough to fill the whole space so lots of bedding will fall through the wire grill at the sides of the cage onto the floor unless you can do some D.I.Y. to the cage.
. If they decide to go to the toilet on the metal edges of the cage probably urine/poop could drip down the stand to the wheels or fall straight through the wire grill on to the floor (because of the tray not quite fitting the gap). You would probably want an easy cleanable surface underneath the cage. Eventually this probably would cause rusting of the cage and the wheels.
. The small doors open easily, these are a big escape possibility as they lift up and Chipmunks soon learn how to open these type of doors, there is a lot of them and they all need to be fully secured.
. The plastic bowls that come with the cage can easily be knocked about by the Chipmunks. I often find them on the floor of the cage once the Chipmunks have emptied them of food. You might prefer to not use those bowls and get a ceramic one.
. the wheels could possibility rust, fall off or become difficult to move
. The cage is very heavy so can not easily be moved without the stand and wheels attached
. The instructions that come with the cage are rubbish (it was just a diagram which didn't help us at all), as said this cage is heavy so really needs two people to put it together. Be careful of the stand it can easily trap fingers. Despite not having good instructions we did get it put up quite quickly.
LAZY BONES 3 TIER RODENT CAGE
This cage I got with a Chipmunk I bought last year, I was told the cage was collapsible (which it is) but to be honest it was a lot smaller than I was expecting as they said it was a large cage, but it came with the Chipmunk so I had to take it. The owners had two Chipmunks in there originally and it is far too small for two Chipmunks, its not really big enough for one Chipmunk! Still I will include it since this is a cage I see sold regularly with Chipmunks.
The one I got with the Chipmunk was only 72cm, 45cm by 68cm height, so you can see its not really suitable for Chipmunks to live in long-term, way too small.
However it could be used to house a mother and babies until the babies go to new homes, It could be used as a hospital cage if you had an unwell Chipmunk or a temp emergency cage if you had to separate a Chipmunk from another or might be useful for an elderly Chipmunk or one that can't get around too well.
If you want to get a LAZY BONES cage to house a single Chipmunk long-term you need the largest size available the 4 tier one but still I don't think this is the best type of cage for a Chipmunk, there are better cages out there I think for Chipmunks but this is a very cheap cage so a lot of people buy them for Chipmunks.
You really would be better buying something more expensive which will last you much longer.
The four tier one is 70cm, by 42cm by 104cm height so is better than the small one but still the height is not really that high, its less than 4 foot high.
Advantages of THE LAZY BONES cages:
. Bar spacing of 2cm square won't allow older babies or adults to escape but would allow babies younger than 4 weeks to squeeze through. If you have babies in there you will need to put cardboard or wood on the lower part of each side of the cage and also the lower part of each section of the cage so they can't climb out. The mesh bottom and the wire levels of the cage are all 1 cm square bar spacing so that won't allow babies to fall through.
. the cage is all metal so not easily chewed, however if it rusts it can be chewed through.
. the tray clips off which makes cleaning easy
.the whole top of the cage opens which allows easy access into the cage and there is also a good door on all the other levels of the cage.
. it has a handle so can be easily moved about.
. You can easily stack several cages on top of each other.
.All the space in the cage is available to the animal.
. The cage is collapsible so it makes storing the cage easy as it doesn't take up loads of space.
Disadvantages of THE LAZY BONES cages:
. The size isn't big enough for a Chipmunk to live In long-term and only one adult could live in it at a time.
. Like other metal trays it can rust and bits can break off which leaves sharp edges.
. It has a lot of wire shelves and levels so not the best for Chipmunk feet, these I have found with my cage can rust and eventually bits can come off, they also bend. Ours was loose so we had to attach it with wire. I'd advise if you get the biggest Lazy bones cage you remove all the levels and ladders, because Chipmunks don't need them and they take up too much space they could be using to run around.
With the smaller version of the cage cover the levels or the wire bottom so at least they can get some rest bite from walking on wire all the time.
.The springs that attach the roof and doors can get loose so the doors are not secured so well.
. The clips that attach the tray can get very stiff so they are not easy to clip over the tray or they can get very loose so they won't stay clipped on.
MY OTHER WOODEN CHIPMUNK CAGE
This cage I was given by another Chipmunk owner, he was moving abroad so could no longer keep his Chipmunks Bill and Ben so I took them back to rehome them but I couldn't keep them long-term. Part of the agreement was I could keep the cage after they were rehomed because I needed another large cage. And I didn't have one spare to put them in so I was lucky the owner had a van so was able to deliver their cage still assembled, as it was too large to fit in our car. It is a large cage very well built and sturdy. It has a stand that allows things to be stored underneath which is useful.
The dimensions are:
90cm (three foot), 63cm (about two foot). The height including the stand is 180cm so about 6 foot. The actual height space the Chipmunks have is 150cm which is about 5 foot.
The cage is a great size for my two Chipmunks that are living in it. I would guess the maximum number of adults it could house would be three. The floor of the cage is wooden but the wood is covered over with plastic, this does make it easy to clean but urine does still get to the wood underneath so not sure its the best choice of flooring. The wire mesh is a very small size so that does mean I can't easily feed the Chipmunks treats through the wire like I do with my other cages but would mean that babies even very tiny babies wouldn't be able to get through the mesh.
The cage has a small door which is useful for feeding the Chipmunks without having to open the main door. The main door is large so very practical for cleaning in the cage. The doors have good bolts so well secured. We did add two more bolts (one to each door)just to make the doors more secure as the big door really needed a second bolt.The wooden back of this cage is covered with wire mesh, the disadvantage of this though is bits get behind the mesh and aren't very easy to get out.
The cage has several small shelves at different heights, that was a good idea. It also came with some nice well made nest boxes which slot over a piece of wood at the top of the cage. It also came with a great wheel (Savic Orbital Large) and several hammocks, which the Chipmunks love.
VOLTREGA LALO LARGE BIRD
This cage after the LAZY BONES three tier cage I have to say is my least favourite of the cages I have or have had for my Chipmunks. I got it for nothing from a friend who bought it for her Chipmunk but didn't like it so bought the Chipmunk another cage. She asked if I would want it and at the time I needed a new cage as one of my previous cages badly needed replacing. It is a very attractive cage but what I didn't realise at first it has a lot of plastic parts and plastic is not a great choice for Rodents as they love to chew plastic. The big door is not practical its too high up the cage so it doesn't make it the easiest cage to access. Still the cage has proved to be useful and I am managing to do ok with cleaning it with access through the two small side doors which are low down.
Dimensions: 167cm height, by 79cm by 68cm
Bar spacing is 11mm so only babies younger than 4 weeks old could get out.
Advantages of the VOLTREGA LALO
.it is a reasonable sized cage, good width and length. This cage doesn't have much of a stand so most of the height is available to the Chipmunk. The available height is nearer to five foot (about 140cm) so better than the other cages, it would be five foot if the Chipmunk could access the part of the cage in the roof space.
. Bar spacing is good, only very young babies might escape, although unlikely because they would have to climb over the plastic part of the cage before reaching any bars, not likely for babies under 4 weeks old so probably very safe for babies.
. The bars are horizontal so friendly to Chipmunks, make getting around the cage much easier for them.
. It has a removable tray to make cleaning the tray easy
. When tray is removed, there is no gap big enough for a Chipmunk to get through. There is a second plastic base underneath so you can safety take the tray right out.
. You don't seem to get a lot of bedding and stuff falling out of the cage like with the others, because of a second base to the cage it stops stuff falling through the floor of the cage, the only mess comes out of the bars at the side of the cage.
. there isn't a wire grill so its nicer on the Chipmunks feet
. There are wheels to make cage easy to move around
. Cage is very lightweight and attractive. This one moves around very easily so can be quickly moved out to do any vacuuming behind the cage.
Disadvantages of the VOLTREGA LALO
. there is a lot of plastic (lower part of the cage, roof, , clips that secure the doors, tray and perches), the cage is not suitable for chewers
. The cage is only big enough for one Chipmunk
. The tray comes out easily if empty but is very difficult to get out if you use wood shavings or other type of bedding in it, so I have found I have to leave the tray empty and just put bedding in the litter tray or otherwise I can't get the tray out. It might be fine with newspaper but any thicker bedding no.
. There is no storage room underneath the cage.
. It does not have a large lower door, just one large door in the middle of the cage which does not make getting things in and out of the cage easy, it means you have to lean in the cage to reach things on the bottom and the doors on the side although low down are very small so you can't get large items out so I don't think its very practical.
. the wheels could probably rust, fall off or get stiff.
. The cage isn't the toughest, it was brought round to me already assembled and the sides kept coming out as I was moving it about., although once it is fully put together it shouldn't fall apart as the roof does make it more stable.
. The roof sticks out so does need removing before bringing the cage in or out of the house but because its plastic its not as sharp as the metal roofs.
. Like the Ferplast cages and the Viking below, the space inside the roof cannot be easily accessed by the Chipmunk and you can not hang things from the roof space so some space isn't useable in the cage.
. I would guess it is probably not an easy cage to assemble from scratch because the sides are prone to coming out when its removed around until the roof is on, but mine apart from the roof was already assembled as my friend has a van so didn't need to dismantle it.
. The cage comes with some plastic feeders and plastic perches. The feeders are no good for Chipmunks I did try them but mine kept knocking them off and seeds went everywhere. I don't think they understood how to use them, so they are aimed for Birds only I think. One perch fell off soon after I got the cage, these might be better to be replaced with wooden perches or branches.
. The doors have plastic clips so these aren't great as easy to chew through so you should use something more secure for the doors like wire.
. You will have to watch closely if you use this cage that it is not being gnawed. Unlike the other cages there is a possibility of a Chipmunk or other Rodent chewing out.
LIBERTA VIKING LARGE BIRD CAGE
This cage I was lucky to get brand new for nothing, my friend had bought it for her new Chipmunk but soon decided to get him a Happy House so let me have it because she knew I wanted a cage to replace my Ferplast Brio.
Dimensions: 169cm height, by 70cm by 60cm
Bar spacing: 12mm so only babies younger than 4 weeks old can squeeze out.
Advantages of the LIBERTA VIKING
. It is a reasonable sized cage, good width and length, like the others height does let it down abit.
. Bar spacing won't allow Chipmunks over 4 weeks old to escape unless they are especially tiny.
. The cage is all metal so not much chance of gnawing
. removable tray makes cleaning easy
. It has a large door (top and bottom) on the front and smaller doors on three sides so that does make cleaning easy
. it has a stand so reduces draughts, not much room underneath for storage though.
. it has wheels to make moving the cage around easy
. Brand new cages come with wooden perches and plastic bowls. I was lucky to get these with the cage. I didn't use the bowls though as I already had a ceramic bowl for my Chipmunk but I have kept them.
Disadvantages of the LIBERTA VIKING
. the height isn't the best, its a similar height to the others. Its much the same size as the BRIO so only really big enough for one adult Chipmunk.
. The bars are vertical so could make it more difficult for a baby Chipmunk in particular to get around.
. The tray is metal so I presume it could rust, chip and bits could eventually break off once it does rust.
. I have found that sometimes the wire grill does get caught on the tray and makes it difficult to get the tray out but this is easily fixed by just moving the wire grill out a bit then back in.
. The wire grill does rattle at times when the Chipmunk is running around but I haven't noticed much noise from the cage overall.
. Some of the doors are stiff/hard to open. The small doors slide up so same as the Happy House are easy for Chipmunks to open so these need securing.
. The triangular roof has sharp edges and sticks out further than the main cage so can be a hazard, it also needs removing to take the cage into or outside the house.
. Like the Ferplast cages because of the triangular roof you can't easily use the roof space for hanging things and the Chipmunk can't easily get into the roof area so some cage space is wasted.
. The wheels could probably fall off, go rusty or get stiff so make the cage difficult to move around.
. The cage was delivered to me already assembled (as my friend has a van) apart from the roof so I can't say how easy it is put together from scratch but we did find the roof part a bit tricky as one screw didn't want to go in at first.
MONTANA MIAMI PARROT CAGE
This isn't a cage I have had myself but others have used it for Chipmunks.
The dimensions are: 166cm height (without stand 139cm), 90cm by 71cm
Looks a good cage, with a small bar spacing (15mm) so wouldn't allow babies other than very tiny babies under 4 weeks old to escape. It has both horizontal and vertical bar spacing. It comes with slide out doors so a useful way to feed the animals without having to open a big door. It has a very large door so good access for the cleaning the cage. Its on a stand and has wheels. It has a pull out tray at the bottom with a wire grill so cleaning would be easy. The top also opens so plenty of access into the cage. When the top is closed you can easily hang things from the roof as it is a barred roof not solid. Could probably keep up to three adults in this cage.
LIBERTA RALEIGH LARGE PARROT CAGE
This isn't a cage I have had myself but I really like the look of this cage, it looks very practical as it could fit in the corner of the room.
The dimensions are 183cm height, by 100cm by 110cm so this is a very large cage!
Unfortunately the bar spacing is way too big for Chipmunks - 20-23mm would allow even adults to escape so this one would have to be covered in a wire mesh before it could be used for Chipmunks. It has a stand and wheels. It has a big door for easy access to the cage. It has swing out bowls to make feeding easy. It has removable trays to make cleaning easy. The roof is barred which makes hanging toys/hammocks easy. Comes with wooden perches and feeding bowls.
I think you could house up to five adult Chipmunks in this cage.
Looking on the internet I found this cage-
SAVIC GITE 1 BIRD CAGE & SAVIC GITE 2 BIRD CAGE:
These cages are all metal with a triangular roof, they have a slide out tray and are raised up on a stand with wheels. They also have wooden perches and food bowls. I couldn't find how big the bar spacing was, but I guess it can't be too large as the cages can have small Birds in it. These look a nice cage, with horizontal bars.
There are two versions of the Savic available, the SAVIC GITE 1 which is 60cm by 60cm by 168cm height.
And a SAVIC GITE 2 which is 60cm, by 100cm, 168cm height. If you wanted to keep multiple Chipmunks the GITE 2 would be better. Could probably have up to 3 adults in it.
If anyone knows of any other cages for Chipmunks, let me know and I will add them onto this page
You can also keep Chipmunks outdoors, again these cages (Aviaries) cannot be bought especially for Chipmunks, they can be adapted from bird aviaries (which ours was bought from http://www.riversideaviaries.co.uk/aviaries.htm ) or again you can build your own. They are best built with wooden framing with a strong wired mesh. As the cage will be outside weather conditions and wild animals will need to be taken into account. The cage will need to built on a concrete floor, we used concrete slabs similar to the type for patios. Some owners have used wire mesh but this can easily rust and break with the wetness of the ground and people walking on it so I wouldn't recommend it. All around the outside of the cage you will need a layer of bricks or wood or plastic on the lower quarter of the avairies and whole north side to protect the Chipmunks from the worst of the weather and also to keep all the wood chips and compost in. Remember any exposed wood or plastic could be chewed so put mesh over it. The roof will need to be covered to protect them from the weather aswell. Metal roofs will get hot from the sun so these are not good for Chipmunks, they would probably also block out a lot of light making the aviaries dark. and would no doubt eventually rust. Plastic roofs have been used on alot of aviaries, we have one and i've not heard any complaints from other owners. On very hot days and when the sun is directly shining onto the aviary, you might want to partly cover the plastic roof during the hottest time of the day with wood to help keep the Chipmunks cooler. Or if you don't want a plastic roof at all, you could use a waterproof roof like you use for sheds using wood and felt .We tried this with a flat roof and found it was leaking since some bad snow/ice and also soon developed mould so we got rid of that roof. The roof is best being built slanted to keep the rain off and snow. A double door will be essential to prevent escapes. It is also known as an airlock or safety porch. It is a small area typically about 2 foot by 2 foot by 6 foot (high). There is an entry door to get in and then you close that door before opening the main aviary door. Zoos use a similar idea. You can buy some aviaries with these already included or you could add your own. Most escapes from outside aviaries are caused by owners not having a safety porch entrance, Chipmunks are very quick you mustn't underestimate them. The Chipmunks will need frost proof nest boxes to sleep in and these need to be at the same height to prevent fighting over the heighest box. You might decide to attach a shed to the aviary for them to sleep in and get out of the worst of the weather or add the aviary onto a garage. Inside the shed or garage you can have an enclosed cage where you can put the nest boxes. This would be an easier option than covering the entire shed with wire mesh! Don't use the garage for Chipmunks if you park a car in it as the fumes are toxic. You can also have the safety porch entrance in the shed. Some people have used a tunnel to connect the shed to the outside aviary this looks a fun idea but do ensure the tunnel is made out of a strong wire mesh not something they can chew. Or you can choose to build something like we have - a large wooden box (wire meshed inside if on the outside of the aviary). We filled the space inside with hay and newspaper to keep it warm in there. We have nest boxes for the Chipmunks to sleep in and also a litter tray. You can see our setup on the Munkery page. Outside Chipmunks rarely fully hibernate and heating is not required as long as their nest boxes are warm. Heating can be dangerous as there will be lots of bedding around which could catch alight if it landed on the heater. Remember to cover all exposed wood leading to the outside with wire mesh I can't stress this enough as lots of owners don't and the Chipmunk then chews out. Chipmunks can crack nuts remember so wood is not really a challenge for them. You also don't want other Rodents like Rats getting into the aviary by chewing through the wood either. The size of the mesh is important, mesh larger than 1 inch by 1/2 inch can let Chipmunks escape, they can squeeze through, choose a galvanised type as it will last longer. Never use chicken wire, they can easily chew through this!. Double-meshing is best as this stops cats clawing at the Chipmunks, this means adding mesh to both sides of the wooden frames. Not everyone does this but if you have a lot of Cats in the neighbour trust me you need to do this as every Cat will be in your garden once they know there are Chipmunks unless you have a mean Dog. We used a 15mm square mesh on the outside frames as this will keep most things out, unfortunately it won't stop Mice getting through that I have heard can squeeze through a gap the width of a pencil! But it will at least keep out Rats which are the most danger to your Chipmunks apart from Foxes and Cats of course. Ensure the mesh layers do not touch when you press against it from the outside as this could still allow Cats to hurt the Chipmunks, if they jump at the wire. Chipmunks have been killed by Cats clawing them through the wire or jumping at the mesh so its a very real danger.
Protect the wood with a preservative that is safe for animals once dry as the wood will quickly rot if exposed to heavy rain. This will need repainting yearly to keep the aviary protected from the bad weather and looking its best. Many owners also like to paint both sides/double layers of the mesh with Blackboard paint, this helps improve the visabilty of the Chipmunks through the double-mesh. You will also need to clean the roof at least yearly or otherwise algae will build up on it which will eventually stop you seeing the Chipmunks through it. As what to put in the aviary, the floor is best to have bark clippings or compost quite abit deep as Chipmunks love to dig and will make tunnels in this like they do in the wild. If you don't want your Chipmunks to tunnel deep underground (if they do this it can make getting at them or their babies impossible) then provide a large tub with some compost in for them . You could plant small trees which they will climb on but care must be taken to ensure they are not poisonous, conifors are a good idea as they would find these in the wild but don't use Yew as this is said to be poisonous or light green, golden and yellow coloured firs and conifors. We built one of our newest aviaries around a small Sycamore tree, we had to fully cover the roots with concrete so they couldn't chew or dig through the roots and escape. The tree lasted about a year then was dead, they stripped it of leaves and chewed the branches off. We have left it in as they still like to climb up and sit on the stump. Small fruit trees have also been used in pots, someone once had an apple tree in a pot but they soon killed that. Chipmunks like flowers but again many are poisonous so care will need to be taken, I have mentioned some safe plants/flowers further down the page. They will plant alot of their own plants and grass by burying seeds as not all will be eaten and will germinate when the ground gets wet. Shelves and wheels will be loved by Chipmunks indoors or out, you could add tubes and tunnels, ropes to climb on. Ropes should be replaced as soon as they get frayed as loose threads are danger, Chipmunks can get tangled up in them. Some people have also used bungee cords and small chains but again be careful they can't get caught in them . You can add lots of different toys as long as it isn't too much as they do like some open space. Chipmunks like sunbatheing so you may like to keep some of the roof uncovered for this but White Chipmunks can easily get sunburnt so ensure you provide plenty of shade., especially if you only have a mesh roof. All Chipmunks will need access to sun (not necessarly direct) for at least an hour a day whether real sun or artifical so they can get natural Vitamin D3. A plastic roof will mean your Chipmunks can get access to the sun they need but shouldn't be as strong as leaving the mesh roof uncovered. Ensure there is plenty of shade. In very hot weather Chipmunks can like to swim, you can provide a small container with just enough water so they can swim but not drown. If they don't like water, you can make ice cubes or ice lollies - with fruit, nuts or yoghurt in. I've found mine like these. Also frozen fruits are great. I have also tried Chinchilla cooling tiles, these are put in the fridge then stay cool for awhile so the Chipmunk can cool down if it lays on it. Concrete slabs in the shade do the same thing. You could probably also use granite tiles. Indoor Chipmunks can be given a Full Spectrum Light the type for Reptiles, if not Full Spectrum it will not provide the Vit D3 Chipmunks need which you get in natural sunlight. Full Specrum Reptile lights need replacing yearly, the Vitamin D3 runs out in a year, the light will work for longer but it won't be effective for Vit D3 after a year. If you do not have a Full Spectrum Light your Chipmunks will rely on its diet only for its Vitamin D.
Advantages of outside aviaries:
As with indoor cages, there are advantages and disadvantages to keeping your Chipmunks outside, first I will start with the benefits I have noticed.
. It is a more natural environment, than an indoor cages. Lots of sights, sounds and smells so more stimulating for the Chipmunks.
. There is usually a lot more space outside so you can have a larger enclosure than indoors.
. Outside Chipmunks will usually breed two litters a year, while indoor Chips might only have the one. I have found better breeding success with outside Chippers.
. Natural sunlight usually means a brighter, thicker coat than with indoor Chipmunks and it probably has other health benefits.
. You can get inside the enclosure with the Chipmunk, which might make taming a shy Chipmunk easier than indoors.
. Easier to keep groups outside than indoors as much more space.
Disadvantages of outside aviaries:
. Theft of your Chipmunks - having them outside does put them at risk of being stolen or let out by an intruder. You might want to get CCTV to monitor your Chipmunks and put other security measures in place in your garden.
. The Chipmunks can be harder to catch than indoors and if you have allowed them to tunnel underground you won't be able to check the babies until they leave by themselves or get to any sick/dead Chippies.
. Other animals, your aviary will attract plenty of attention from wild Rodents, Cats and/or Foxes and possibly Birds of Prey. These could frighten your Chipmunks, harass them or possibly injure them if the aviary isn't double meshed. It is also not easy to deter these animals but you should do your best to keep them away from the aviary especially when there are babies and mum Chipmunks are more sensitive. Also the babies are very nervous when they leave the nest and having a predator watching them all the time is very frightening for them.
.The aviary must be secure/fully locked with a bolt and padlock to prevent Foxes and Cats opening the doors. You must ensure they cannot dig in or chew through the wood/mesh. You must ensure the mesh size isn't too big that the Chipmunks can get out and other rodents like Rats cannot get in.
. There is more risk of escape, you must make sure the aviary and shed is fully secure. If your Chipmunk gets loose outside it might not ever return.
.If you don't like bugs or other pests/ Mice, outside Chips aren't really for you. There will be all sorts entering the aviary, spiders, bees, ants, ear wigs, worms, flies, fleas and mites possibly (from passing Foxes or Cats). Only the smallest mesh you can buy 6mm square will keep out Mice. You must cover every possible point of entry into the aviary with the tiny mesh if you want to keep out Mice, if there is a hole larger than 8mm square or they can chew a small hole to make it larger they will get in!
. There could be a chance of your Chipmunk catching something from a pest entering the aviary or contaminating their food.
. You have to go out to feed/interact with your Chipmunks during some of the most unpleasant weather.
. Cold weather could kill off old Chipmunks or babies born late in the year that haven't had enough time to gain enough weight before winter. These should really be kept indoors over the winter.
. There is more chance your Chipmunk will hibernate if outside, you may not see it for months If the weather/temp has been particularly cold.
. More chance of your Chipmunk developing heat stroke and of course risk of sunburn/skin cancer in Dilutes especially. Always ensure there is plenty of shade available. If you think your Chipmunk is getting too hot, try and cool it down by wetting it with cool water (not freezing).
. It could be more easy to forget your pet especially if its at the bottom of the garden. Outside Chipmunks can be more wild/withdrawn and nervous than inside Chips that see people all the time. To keep your Chipmunk tame you need to go into the aviary everyday.
. Because you won't see your Chipmunk as much as if it was indoors you might be less aware of any illness, injuries from fights or falls, deaths or babies being born, if you have lots of places yours can hide in the aviary.
. There is more maintaince needed than with indoor cages. Outdoor cages need yearly painting with a proper wood preservative to keep them in good condition. Strong winds could cause damage to your aviary, there can also be rot to the wood from bad weather or insects like Woodlice getting into the wood so you need to keep a watch out for that and make repairs as soon as you notice any damage or else it may allow your Chipmunks to escape or something else to get in. You should ideally build it in an area that is more protected from bad weather.
What type of floor covering and bedding should you have?
For outside enclosures compost or bark chippings are best but for inside cages wood shavings, Megazorb, newspaper, Carefresh or wood based cat litter is best. You should never use sawdust like the type you get from sawing wood as the fine dust can irritate their eyes and cause breathing problems. Dusty bedding has caused a lot of problems with Chipmunks and other animals. Unfortunately all beddings you can buy are dusty. This dust can cause respiratory problems. To try and reduce this risk try and get dust extracted wood shavings or a bedding that is known to have a lower dust. Remove the bedding from the packet into a large container and mix it well before you used it. This will help get rid of some of the dust. Breathing the dust in is not good for pets or humans. Ensure the Cat litter doesn't contain chemicals. If you want an almost fully dust free bedding then use newspaper or kitchen roll.
The best bedding for the nest boxes is good quality hay (hay does bring with it a risk of mites and moulds so choose carefully), newspaper or a paper based bedding suitable for hamsters and other small rodents. You should avoid the type of cotton wool bedding that can be bought in most pet shops as this can get stuck in the pouches, can be eaten which could cause blockages or wrapped around the limbs of Chippies so is particularly dangerous for baby Chips but may be ok if torn into very tiny pieces. Wilkinson's now do a safer option it is much like the cotton wool bedding but made out of a vegetable substance so safer if eaten, it is also easier to tear into small pieces. I now use newspaper and kitchen roll for my Chipmunks and only use hay in the winter for the outside Chips when I need the outside nest boxes to stay warmer. Newspaper is safe as its made out of a vegetable based ink but be careful of other inks. My other preferred type of bedding is a colourful paper bedding you can get from Wilkinson's, its very comfortable, safe and in small pieces so safe for baby Chipmunks. Chipmunks will also collect other things such as leaves for bedding if available. I find mine also appreciate tissues which they tear up and shredded plain paper (no ink) and they will chew cardboard tubes to add to the bed as well. They will also probably chew bits off their hammock or other fluffy things to add too.
Cleaning out your Chipmunks?
I do a small cleaning of my indoor Chipmunks once a week. I find they don't usually smell as long as the toilet area is kept regularly clean, so I just change any soiled litter or scrape any poop off the shelves and spray the shelves with disinfectant. Once a month I fully change the tray contents at the bottom and disinfect it. I also disinfect the food bowl and replace any food in the bowl with fresh). Some Chipmunks will use a litter tray which makes cleaning easier but some will use a spare nest box and those can be hard to clean. Some people have asked if Chipmunks can be litter trained, they can but not all will take to it or some will only use the tray for a while then decide to go somewhere else. The best chance of them using the tray for the correct purpose is to wait and see where they choose to toilet, collect some of that soiled bedding and place in a clean litter tray. Fully clean the area they previously toileted in and then wait and see if they decide to use the tray. Hopefully the smell of their poops/pee will mean they will then associate the litter tray as a toilet. Chipmunks tend to use corners so a corner litter tray might be a good idea. Nest boxes the Chipmunks are sleeping in only need changing three times a year and especially just after a litter has been weaned. Chipmunks are clean in their nests and never soil them but old stored food will need clearing when the boxes are changed, replace the food cache with some new food Chipmunks hate their stores disturbed and will get very upset with you if they discover their food store has gone. Twice a year it's a good idea to give the cage a thorough scrubbing including the toys with a pet disinfect and all the bars. If the bars are badly stained with urine/poop you might want to take the cage outside and pressure washer it. Of course remove the Chipmunk first.
With pregnant Chipmunks i clean the cage out a week before she is due then don't touch it again until the litter are two weeks old, then i clean it every two weeks after until the babies are 4-5 weeks old then I do it weekly as it will start to smell once the babies start to toilet outside of their nest box. Some females can get nervous of their cage being messed with so near to birth or when they have babies if you have a very sensitive mother its best doing it every two weeks.
The toilet areas they use outside also need regular cleaning at least once a week and more frequently depending on the number of Chipmunks you have in the enclosure to prevent flies laying eggs which could become maggots and eat the Chipmunks known as fly strike (a litter tray can be used in a corner) any other areas used as toilets such as shelves and nest boxes must also be cleaned often, these will quickly rot and smell and may need replacing often. Food bowls need cleaning weekly, remove any uneaten fruits/veg daily. The aviary should have a full clean out once a year, this is removing everything from it and scrubbing everything including the floor, wire mesh, house area and toys with disinfectant. I use hot water with washing up liquid mixed with a capful of Zoflora disinfectant, this removes germs and bacteria and smells nice. The full clean out also allows you to check the aviary, floor and house area is still fully secure as you can't really tell what is happening when the floor is covered by bark chips or the house is filled with bedding. I always do my aviaries late February or early march so its hopefully before any babies are born as once there are babies such an upheaval wouldn't be good. You need to remove the Chipmunks before starting such a big clean and that means housing them indoors for a day or two while the aviary is cleaned which could be stressful for a mother with young babies. Nest boxes can be changed twice a year, more isn't really necessary (avoid from july/august as Chipmunks are storing food for winter and during autumn and winter when they may be hibernating. If a female has weaned a litter the nestbox needs to be changed. For outdoor Chipmunks change their bedding once spring arrives as over winter it will get musty, food the chips have stored may begin to rot. This way they will have clean nests for rearing babies. Provide extra bedding all through the winter especially once the frosts arrive as they will need to keep warm at night. Dominant animals will often take the best food and bedding for themselves and can steal off less dominant Chipmunks, leaving them without any bedding so in winter be especially aware of this. You may find the dominant Chipmunks have all the bedding! A Chipmunk left without bedding in winter could freeze to death, I find they usually all sleep together in winter even if they don't the rest of the time. Same with food one may take all the food or the best parts of the food so its best to provide plenty, Chipmunks are also more likely to fight in autumn and winter especially over food and food caches so ensure all the Chipmunks have enough to eat and all have extra to store. I would provide more food bowls at different heights, also more water bottles so they don't have to share. It may be a good idea to give more nuts at this time of the year so they can put on extra weight to get through the hardest nights. If they get a bit plump during winter its not a problem as they will usually lose it again by the summer. Most Chipmunks will stuff their nestboxes almost full of bedding, seeds and nuts, there is hardly room for the Chipmunks but they find a way to squeeze in!
Do Chipmunk's like toys?
Yes but as for toys in the cage you wouldn't want too many because that will take up space they need to run around. For my Chipmunks i give them a wheel, a ferret tunnel and branches to climb on, rope and shelves. They seem to love wheels as they spend most of their time on them when they are not eating or resting. The best type of wheel to buy is a large plastic one, it needs to be no smaller than 28cm diameter, any smaller and the Chipmunk can injure its spine, because it has to run with its spine curved so they need a large wheel not a small one so they don't have to bend the spine when running. If possible have a fully enclosed wheel as they can be flung out of open wheels when running fast. Don't use the type with wide treads (barred), these can trap tails and feet. Also don't use a metal wheel that has a moving bar as these have killed Rodents before by trapping/crushing them between the stand and the rotating bar when they have tried to jump over the bar while the wheels been moving. Wheels can be dangerous so choose carefully. I now use plastic Trixie wheels, in the past I had Living World mesh wheels but these were no good outside as they rusted then broke.. The Trixie wheels are enclosed and don't have any rotating bars so nowhere they can get trapped. Chipmunks have been known to run so fast on wheels they have broken the cage bars! I also provide them with something to dig in for indoor Chipmunks they have a container which i fill to the top with wood shavings .In the aviary we have a plant container which is filled with compost and they love digging in this, they bury seeds which some may germinate so you may get grasses and sunflowers in there. It is important all Chipmunks have something to dig in so they can bury food and undertake natural tunneling behaviour. You can use a large plastic storage container or if you don't want compost thrown everywhere some owners have used a container for storing breakfast cereal in. You could try bird and small animal toys i've tried a few of these before but have found Chipmunks aren't into playing as much as some animals but toys they can also chew on are great because most like to chew and it helps their teeth. As Chipmunks love wheels so much these may need replacing after time as well as any wooden shelves, i also find they need cleaning quite frequently. The Trixie wheels can be soaked in washing up liquid and Zoflora disinfectant. Mine like the cardboard tubes aswell i also have a hammock which they have chewed abit but they sometimes sleep in. With branches the safest type to use are fruit tree ones or oak or Sycamore i have also used conifor but some conifor can be poisonous so be careful.
Try and come up with your own ideas, Chipmunks like to be challenged and they get bored easily so something that can keep them occupied for a few hours is great. One owner bought a box of tissues her Chipmunk loved it. A friend of mine puts treats in egg boxes, a great idea. Anything they can chew or destroy is going to be a winner.
I have also hung up fruit and monkey nuts before and hidden food around the aviary, this means they have to find their dinner by foraging rather than have it served in a bowl. Many zoos use enrichment ideas for their animals.
Some of our most recent accessaries have been this hanging basket which Sandi is in, they really like this, I can hide food and treats in there, put hay in and they will find it.
And Tiny really loved a small fabric pouch you can buy for Hamsters, he sometimes would sleep in it or stored some food. I did have to empty it out every few months because eventually he could no longer fit in there with all the food!
In the end one Chipmunk chewed it so it became dangerous with loose threads and had to be thrown out but it was a great idea while it lasted.
What do Chipmunks eat?
You can now buy several food mixes specially for Chipmunks, one is available from Pets At Home called Chipmunk Muesli, probably not from the smaller pet shops. Mine were the least keen on Pets at Home's Chipmunk mix and tended to leave many bits. Before Pets at Home replaced the food with their own brand we used to buy Burgess Supa Chipmunk from there, Burgess have now discontinued Chipmunk but mine really liked this and would eat nearly all of it. We now buy Beaphar Xtra Vital Chipmunk food from the internet, they do like this but some bits are preferred to others. There is also a food available on the internet called Johnston and Jeff Chipmunk and Squirrel mix and many owners feed this to their Chippies. I haven't tried this yet but will soon. Sometimes I give mine a fruity Hamster mix which they like. The foods have everything they need to stay healthy. It's best to feed them every few days as if they are fed everyday they tend to eat certain parts of the food and leave the rest. They need to eat all the food as it's all important. The parts they will eat first will be the nuts and the sunflower seeds, then maize (looks like popcorn kernals you get for popcorn, which you pop in the microwave) they will most likely leave the biscuits, and wheat until last. I normally feed each Chipmunk about 30g of food, for pregnant and nursing females i would increase this and also in the autumn and winter. Chipmunks eat often throughout the day and they will often take food in their pouches and bury it or take it into their nestboxes. Actual Chipmunk food should make up most of the Chipmunk's diet but this is not a balanced diet in itself, the rest should be made up of various Fruits and Vegetables daily or several times a week aswell as yoghurt two/three times a week and some animal food (meat) several times monthly, mealworms are good for this either live or dried i find they prefer live, a piece of cooked chicken or hard boiled egg or crickets. This is important so your Chipmunk doesn't develop Metabolic Bone Disease. For a healthy diet your Chipmunk will need all these elements - Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Protein and fat aswell as low levels of Phosphorus. Avoid lots of nuts (especially peanuts), sunflower seeds and corn as these are high in Phosphorus and low in Calcium, the first two will also make the Chipmunk fat if too many are eaten. The ideal ratio is Calcium 2 - 1 Phosphorus (2:1). When a Chipmunk gets a higher dose of Phosphorus than Calcium it means the body doesn’t use the Calcium correctly and much of it gets wasted. To compensate for the loss the body then takes Calcium out of the bones which makes them weak which eventually can lead to Metabolic Bone Disease. Chipmunks can also get problems with too much Calcium so a balance as much as possible is important. The Squirrel Board website has a good nutrition section on the best calcium rich fruits and vegetables to feed. I recommend reading this. Pregnant and nursing Chipmunks will need extra calcium and also extra protein.
For calcium you can also give small pieces of cheese. For vitamin D i give yoghurt Petis Filous is good for both calcium and Vit D or Muller Rice. Mine like Petis Filous the most. Mushrooms are also a great source of Vitamin D.
Do not forget to provide additional Calcium supplements (Cuttlefish bones and mineral blocks) These go in the cage whole. I also once a week grate cuttlefish over their Chipmunk mix.
As it is difficult to get Chipmunk food it may be an idea to make your own, main ingredients in Chipmunk food you can buy are maize, sunflower seeds, pea flakes, carob pods, extruded biscuits, sugar beet pellets, pine kernals, monkey nuts/peanuts, wheat. Minerals and vitamins are added - Vitamin's A, D3 and E. Pets at Home's Chipmunk food does not contain calcium so Chipmunks need this by mineral blocks being provided and cuttlefish. Xtra Vital does contain calcium but i still give a supplement. Most rodent foods such as Hamster are similar to Chipmunk and if you looked at the ingredients you will probably see alot the same. Hamster food could be used and you then add to it. Some pet shops may sell a Squirrel mix or it may be possible to get on the internet, this is similar to Chipmunk food.
Fruits and Vegetables
Chipmunks like fruit and will eat pretty much any fruit. Some foods they might like: Apples (remove pips), Pears, Bananas, Grapes, oranges (remove pips), pineapples, kiwis, peaches (remove stones), cherries (remove stones), Plums (remove stones), Blackberries, Raspberries,Strawberries and Melons.
I have read that Apple pips can be poisonous not sure about other pips such as in Oranges and Pears but to be on the safe side I remove them. I have heard that pips in Apricots are poisonous. The stones in Peaches, Cherries , Plums, Mangoes and Nectarine are poisonous aswell so always remove these. I leave seeds in Honeydew and Water Melon, Pomegrantes and Pumpkin I haven't heard any concerns with these and the Chipmunks love to take the seeds out of the fruit.
Chipmunks like some vegetables but this may vary with each Chipmunk and overall I find they are fuzzy with vegetables. The Chipmunk book says they might eat: carrots, sweetcorn on a cob, peas, beans, sprouts, cauliflower, kale, chicory and endives.
Chipmunks may also eat lettuce, cucumber and cabbage but these should be given in moderation, it can upset their stomaches if given too much.
Chipmunks also need some animal food in their diet, they like mealworms (you can buy them alive or dried). You can also buy crickets, give some hard boiled or scrambled egg or give cat biscuits or canned dog food (good for Calcium).
Chipmunks like nuts:
Hazel Nuts, Brazil Nuts, Pecans, Almonds, Monkey Nuts, Walnuts, Pine nuts, Acorns, Peanuts, Cobnuts, Hickory Nuts and Sweet Chestnuts and Macadamia Nuts. Try and give some of these in the shell, it is great for the Chipmunk to have the challenge of cracking the nuts and is good for keeping their teeth short. Brazil Nuts need to be partly cracked, they are too tough for Chpmunks to crack by themselves. With Acorns try and collect newly fallen ones or if possible get them straight from the tree. If they have been lying on the ground for too long and have got damp they can go bad. Avoid collecting cracked Acorns. You can freeze Acorns and other nuts to keep them fresher for longer.
Other food they might like:
Here are the foods that my Chipmunks have eaten:
cheese, ham, chicken, beef, fish (cooked or from packets I don't feed raw meat or fish), mini chedders, crisps they like Wotsits, Quavors and most flavours of Walkers. cream crackers and crispbread and cornish wafers, honey, yoghurt (Mine like Petis Filous, Muller Rice and Yeo Valley fruit varieties. mealworms, Hamster/Rat treats such as honey stickle sticks, fruit and nut sticks, dried fruit for small animals. I also buy human dry fruit mixes they love banana chips. Millet sprays you can get for birds, wild Dandelions they eat the whole flower and leaves, wild Daisies, Clover, (Buttercups are poisonous - avoid these),dried cat food, cereal (Rice Crispies, Cornflakes, Shreddies plain and honey flavoured and mini Wheetabix). Biscuits (they love Digestives and also Custard Creams!), boiled and scrambled eggs (I give this to pregnant and nursing Chipmunks mostly and the babies like to eat it aswell, not all my Chipmunks like egg.) Apples (remove pips), pears, bananas, grapes, oranges (remove pips), cherries (remove stones), Plums (remove stones), Blackberries, Raspberries,Strawberries, Fresh Figs, carrots, sweetcorn on a cob, Bell Peppers, peas, sprouts, cauliflower, lettuce, cucumber, cabbage, hazel nuts, brazil nuts, monkey nuts, walnuts, acorns and peanuts. Seseme seeds and raisins. Pine nuts they seemed to like these too and Honeydew Melon they ate too. I sometimes give them scraps of the food i am eating so they have tried many foods. Human foods can be given as an occasional treat but never chocolate. Most of mine like Peanut Butter. I tried Dragon Fruit, most left it but Pearl and Hazel had a nibble but it didn't go down like i thought it would. They have had Kiwi which they quite liked and pomegrante which went down well and Avocardo which didn't agree with mine. The skin of Avocardos and the pit and stone in the middle is toxic so remove completely before giving to the animals. Mine aren't keen on Mushrooms but i am trying to get them to change their minds. They have also recently eaten Papaya, Mangoes (remove stones). Cranberries and Peaches (remove stones). They liked all of these but didn't go for the Cranberries as much.
I have found Chipmunks will eat anything, you could also feed rose hips, apparently Chipmunks like these, rose petals, wheat, beechmast, bread, rusks and toast. Chipmunks like flowers but alot of these can be poisonous such as Daffadils, most wild flowers are fine except buttercups, Chipmunks will like wild blackberries. Please research before giving flowers and plants i have heard Marigolds, Honey suckle, Hibiscus, Magnolia, Hawthorn are ok.
So you can see that it is very easy to put variety into your Chipmunk's diet. You may be surprised to see that Chipmunks eat meat, in the wild they are mainly vegetarian but if they have the opportunity they may eat mice, birds, their eggs and chicks aswell as grubs and worms - they are omnivores (eat anything). Chipmunks may eat moths and their larve and spiders that go in their cage. I've found the remains of Earwigs in some of my aviaries. They may also eat crickets and they love mealworms you buy for feeding lizards. Each Chipmunk may be different some might like a food that others will not like. The best type of bowl to use is a ceramic bowl like the type you can get for rabbits which cannot be tipped over when the Chipmunk sits on the edge to eat.
Remember to never feed Chipmunks chocolate (it is poisonous for Chipmunks, Cats and Dogs) Foods with lots of sugar and salt and sodium shouldn't be fed very often and if fed in small amounts.
Don't overfed nuts and sunflower seeds as these will make your Chipmunk get fat. These are also high in phosphorus, which is bad if levels are higher than calcium levels. I give my Chipmunks cuttlefish bone as it's a good source of calcium, pregnant females and nursing mothers will need extra calcium so will visit these alot more. Other mineral blocks are also a good idea as supplements. Mine have fruit mineral ones, some of the chipmunks nibble on these often, some rarely. Vitamin supplements are available to add to their drinking water.
Remember Chipmunks need Vit D to adsorb calcium and always need access to fresh drinking water in a bottle you can get that is suitable for Hamsters or Rabbits, this is hung on the outside of the cage. Aftertime algae will build up in the bottle (which turns the water green) so it's best to use a bottlebrush once a week to clean any algae. Occasionally these bottles might need to be replaced if there is a build up of algae. Water in a bowl will often be knocked over, wetting the cage or the Chipmunks will get shavings and bedding in it. Chipmunks drink quite alot and you will often see them drink upside down from these bottles!
For outdoor Chipmunks its best to keep the bottle out of direct sunlight to slow down the speed of algae developing and also in the winter once frosts arrive the water will freeze so bottles will need to be checked several times daily for freezing. If the bottle does freeze then pour hot water onto the ice to melt it, its best not to try to crack the ice as this may break the bottle. The spout is where most ice will build up, this prevents the Chipmunks from drinking if the water freezes and the ice in the spout will need melting too. Or what i do is have more than one bottle so the frozen bottles can be left indoors so the ice can melt naturally and i just put another bottle on instead. This method is much quicker as it can take awhile to melt the ice. You can get a cover for water bottles which will help to prevent freezing in the winter but will keep the water cool in the summer and free from algae more.
Keeping American Chipmunks
Up until recently i wasn't aware that American Chipmunks were in the UK but having spoken to someone who keeps Eastern chips i now know that there are some American Chipmunks here. Eastern Chipmunks are kept more commonly in Europe. American Chipmunks can be kept much the same way as Siberians, they eat the same food, need the same accommodation, the only difference is if they are Eastern's they must be kept solitary as they do not like own kind. Eastern's spend more time on the ground than Siberian's so do not require such large cages and could be kept indoors quite happily. Never mix Siberian and Eastern or Western Chipmunks together as they will most likely not tolerate each other and especially with Easterns who are very territorial. Western Chips are much rarer in captivity, these are more social than Easterns and can be paired like Siberian's but may be best to not pair different Western species together as they will most likely fight. Western chips need cages about the same height as for Siberian's but this varies with Western species as they vary in living arrangements, some Westerns such as Cliff and Alpine Chipmunks live in high altitudes and are probably not suitable for a life in captivity. Generally Western Chipmunk's are more arboreal than the Eastern which is more of a ground dweller. Each species may have slightly different needs so research that species thoroughly.
There are a number of books available on Chipmunks which give more information.
I have Your First Chipmunk which was the first book i got
Guide to Owning Chipmunks and Similar Species
Pet Owner's Guide to The Chipmunk
, Rabbits, Squirrels and Chipmunks (not care book)
About Pets: The Chipmunk
Chipmunks and the Siberian Chipmunk in Captivity
and recently How to Care For Your Chipmunk
Keeping Unusual Pets: Chipmunks
and Just About Chipmunks.
The links take you to Amazon.co.uk where you can find out more about these books and purchase them. I recommend Pet Owners Guide to The Chipmunk by Chris Henwood, Guide to Owning Chipmunks and Similar Species also by Chris Henwood, About Pets The Chipmunk, Keeping Unusual Pets Chipmunks by Belinda Ogle (but this is more aimed at children) and Just About Chipmunks by Chris Strike a Veterinary Nurse. The last one is good for First Aid for Chipmunks. These are the best out of the Chipmunk books i have.
Picture of me with all ten Chipmunk books - click on link to take you to the picture on photobucket.
Last update 17th may 2014