The Pleasures And Problems Of Living Alongside Chipmunks
Chipmunks are animals that have often been caricatured as cute and affectionate, but these small squirrels are not always the cute and affectionate animals that are portrayed in cartoons. The chipmunk can be identified by the distinctive black and white stripe which runs down the back of the animal, and being smaller than other squirrels will also add to their cute factor. There are situations in which chipmunks can actually become a pest, and in this situation the relationship can quickly los the affection many people feel towards chipmunks.
Can Chipmunks Be Hazardous To People?
Wild chipmunks will usually prefer deciduous woodland as a habitat rather than choosing to live in urban areas, but they will often find themselves in a town or village. Because they are natural climbers it is perfectly possible that a chipmunk can find its way into the roof cavity or attic of a domestic property, and they can often gnaw through cables and cause a problem in this way. The entrances and exits that are created into the roof cavity can also be a problem that will have to be repaired. Having wild animals in a domestic problem is also an issue because of the contamination that can be caused with their droppings.
There are many animals that are particularly prone to carrying and transmitting diseases to humans, but on the whole chipmunks do not fall into this category. They are susceptible to rabies similarly to many other animals, but there are no documented cases of a chipmunk transmitting the condition to people.
The Domestication Of Chipmunks
There are many examples of domesticated chipmunks, and the Siberian chipmunk is a strain of the species that has proved to be particularly popular as a pet. Chipmunks can be affectionate, and the more contact and handling they have from people at a young age will often shape how they interact with people as they grow. As with any animal, chipmunks are much more likely to live longer in captivity because they are not exposed to predators and the elements as much.
One important thing to note is that chipmunks are very active animals, and they will either need to be released so that they can exercise, or have a large cage or enclosure that will give them plenty of opportunities to climb and play. They are herbivorous animals, and will benefit from having some variation in their diet in terms of the mix of vegetables, nuts and cereals that they eat.
Although there are many pleasant and nice things about keeping a chipmunk as a pet, there are also a number of problems that can arise. One of the first things is that they can require cleaning quite often, otherwise their cage can become quite pungent because of their feces. As with any rodent they do have sharp teeth and can deliver a nasty bite if the are given the opportunity to do so, and are handled roughly, or are handled by someone unfamiliar. It is also worth bearing in mind that if they are given some time out of the cage where they can run around a room or indeed the house, then their inclination to gnaw and bite any wooden or soft surfaces can be problematic.
Chipmunks are certainly amazing animals that can be wonderful to watch whether they are kept as pets in captivity or whether they are glimpsed in the wild, but they are certainly not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. They can be a nuisance, and can cause significant damage if they gain entry to a property without the owner realizing they are here.
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