Rats or Chipmunks?


7 Years
Dec 15, 2014
So recently I noticed a tunnel from under one side of the coop and out the other. I immediately thought "Rats!" and in an attempt to nip the problem in the bud, went and purchased some snap traps. I baited them but didn't set them and left them along the back side of the coop, out of reach of the birds and dogs. After refilling the bait for 3 mornings I finally set them. Its been 2 days and so far I've caught 1 chipmunk. I'm not surprised. There are chipmunk tunnels all over the property in other areas. I don't mind the chipmunks, really. I truly hope it is just chipmunks. The current population of chipmunks provide hours of amusement for my dogs and, I have to admit, look adorable. Rats, however, give me the heebie-jeebies. I am worried that if it is rats that, come winter, rather than stick to their tunnels like the chipmunks, they will decide that the house would make for much more comfortable living.

So, what (short of installing a game cam or spying with night vision goggles) would tell me if these tunnels are made by chipmunk or rat? I have found no feces to help aid in identification. Food is put in metal bins each night, though I'm sure there is a small amount left scattered in the deep litter of the run.
It's been a horrible year so far with rodents around here. Mice, striped rats (chipmunks), tree rats (squirrels) and field rats (voles). Don't even get me started on the rabbits...

I don't mind the chipmunks, really. I truly hope it is just chipmunks. The current population of chipmunks provide hours of amusement for my dogs and, I have to admit, look adorable.
I'm more than happy to pack up and ship you my lot of them. They're burrowing into the runs and breaking into the coops after the chicken feed, along with the tree rats. Both are conspiring to break into the metal trash cans where the food is stored. I toss out a handful of scratch for the chickens and 6-8 chipmunks descend on it instead. Idiot birds just stand there and look at them. Time to reduce the population I think.

It's also possible the burrows are voles. Got a yard full of those too.
Well, it's not chipmunks! As dusk approached I caught a glimpse of something under the pallet that acts as the coop's front deck and it was distinctly rat-like. So I armed myself with my little air rifle and took position inside the house, sniper-style with a clear shot out a window at the tunnel entrance.

Well, wouldn't you know it? About 5-10 minutes after the girls headed inside the coop for the night, I see a big ol' rat climb the wire fencing on the far side of the run to perch at the little bucket feeder hanging there. Unfortunately I wasn't expecting him to go to that one so I didn't have the greatest angle but I did take a shot. If I hit him it didn't kill him right away. He fell/leaped off the fencing and when I got outside he was nowhere to be found.

I'm going to hang the feeder on the near side that faces my window and watch for another chance each night this week. I'll also keep baiting the traps every day and setting them every third day or so. Poison is not an option because I don't want to risk a secondhand poisoning of my dogs. I think I need to do some target practice to better my aim.
Spring the traps and keep baiting the. With peanut butter. After a they get used to them, reset them.

That's what I'm doing. I baited them for 3 days before setting them. Nothing happened on day 4. Day 5 a single trap sprung by chipmunk. They are now baited again but not set. As I said in my post I am going to continue to refill bait every day but only set them every 3rd day or so.
I would guess rats

Oh, it was a rat alright. The shot I got off might have done the trick. I didn't find a body but I might have hit it and it crawled off to die. I covered over the tunnel exits with litter and they've remained undisturbed since I took my shot two nights ago. I set the traps last night (I got impatient) but they are undisturbed this morning. I sat at the window, armed and at the ready, both evenings and watched but saw no activity and I swear I caught the hint of something dead on the wind when I was out to the coop this morning. I still need to get some target practice in. Even rats deserve a quick death.

With any luck it was just the one rat. (Don't worry, I know better than to think it was). I'll continue to set the traps and monitor for new tunnels just in case. Perhaps it's time to spring for that hardware cloth.
So it has been 5 days since I shot at the rat and covered over the tunnels. They remain undisturbed. I've watched, with air rifle ready, for activity at dusk and have seen nothing. The baited and set traps were undisturbed until this morning when I found another chipmunk.

All good signs, right? Unfortunately, my husband said he saw "something" near the pallet deck that "might have been something" that he thought "could have been a rat" in the morning 2 days ago when he let the dogs out. I grilled him on the details but got nothing more. I'm counting this as an unconfirmed sighting.

I won't rest easy until a little more time has passed with no activity and no confirmed sightings.

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