Chipmunk Trap Comparison Test

Updated on August 22, 2018
Virginia Allain profile image

Virginia has years of experience with gardening and wild pests in New Hampshire and other locales.

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The Havahart VS the Chipmunkinator - Which Works Best?

Let's get serious about capturing chipmunks. You're feeling desperate about clearing out an over-abundance of these little critters. Maybe you've searched all over the internet for something that really works.

This page matches the Havahart Chipmunk Trap against the Chipmunkinator. Which one will win? Which trap works the best?

Read on to see my test of these two pest control items. I did a comparison test for a whole month.


Searching for Solutions

For Too Many Chipmunks

At first I thought I had one very active chipmunk. He zipped about eating strawberries from the garden, digging up flower bulbs and making a nuisance of himself.

Finally, in desperation, I borrowed a single door Havahart trap from a neighbor. He said it worked great for him. He was right. Quickly I caught my pesky chipmunk, but wait... there's another one, then after that, another one.

You Don't Have Just One

Unfortunately, chipmunks are fairly prolific. It is unlikely that you just have one.

Eventually, I bought my own trap, a double door Havahart, so I could return my neighbor's cage. The double door was a little trickier to set but also worked fine for catching a chipmunk one-at-a-time.

Then I heard about a trap that let you catch multiple chipmunks. Wow, I needed to try it out.

The Two Chipmunk Traps Side-By-Side

The Chipmunkinator is on the left and the Havahart is on the right side.
The Chipmunkinator is on the left and the Havahart is on the right side. | Source

Chipmunks and Their Hiding Holes - Photos by Virginia Allain

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Typical chipmunk hole leading to a burrowChipmunk stealing a strawberry.Another chipmunk hole.The little pests are speedy!
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Typical chipmunk hole leading to a burrow
Typical chipmunk hole leading to a burrow
Chipmunk stealing a strawberry.
Chipmunk stealing a strawberry.
Another chipmunk hole.
Another chipmunk hole.
The little pests are speedy!
The little pests are speedy!

Springtime & the Chipmunks Are Out & About

Seems like winter would last forever, didn't it. Now with milder weather, the chipmunks are active again. Time to get out the traps before the critters get settled in and cause problems.

The Havahart Trap for Chipmunks - This is the single door version

This is the cage I've been recommending to everyone who asks me for a solution to their chipmunk problems. I've used both the one-door version (borrowed) and the two-door version (owned) over the past 4 years. It is quite sturdy and easy to pick up with the handle on top. Now we'll see how it stands up to some competition. Which cage will catch the most in a side-by-side comparison?

The Chipmunkinator - A New Trap for Chipmunks

Here's a new option for catching chipmunks. I was given one of these by the manufacturer to review. When it arrived, I was quite excited to see how it was laid out. It has 2 entrances, plus a door in the top that you can open to release the chipmunks elsewhere.

The mailman who delivered the trap, said to let him know if it worked as he really needed something for his chipmunk problem.

There's a handle on one side of the cage for picking it up. There are doors that can be fastened closed for moving it or fastened open when the trap is set for capture.

Rugged Ranch The Chipmunkinator Live Chipmunk Trap
Rugged Ranch The Chipmunkinator Live Chipmunk Trap

I gave this trap and the Havahart a 4 week trial. Both traps were placed in the same area to see which would capture the most chipmunks. The results of the trial are below.

 

What the Chipmunkinator Trap Looks Like - Photos by Virginia Allain

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Week 1 and 2

What Happened in My Test of the Two Traps - The First Two Weeks

  1. I set the two traps side-by-side adjacent to a wood pile where the chipmunks like to hang out. The Haveahart was baited with chunky peanut butter on the center lever that activates the doors when the chipmunk is inside eating.

    The Chipmunkinator was baited with sunflower seeds and some trail mix I had on hand. I sprinkled a good amount in the center of the cage and a bit at each entrance to entice the chipmunk to enter. This was the recommendation from the box.

    The first evening that I put them out, it was just a few hours before dark, so I closed the traps with no chipmunks caught. One year, I caught a young skunk in the Havahart trap, so I no longer leave it open overnight when skunks are active.

  2. The 2nd day, I set both traps. A few hours later, there was a chipmunk in the Havahart.
  3. The 3rd day, only the Chipmunkinator was set as the other trap was still occupied by the chipmunk from yesterday. Within a few hours, I had a chippie in that trap. Since the entrance is narrow and I doubt a skunk could enter it, I left it out overnight. When I checked it the next morning, it still only contained the one caught yesterday.
  4. The 4th day, I set only the Havahart. Within a few hours, another chipmunk was trapped inside it. The score so far was 2 for the Havahart and 1 for the Chipmunkinator.
  5. On the 5th day, there was a red squirrel in the Chipmunkinator which I'd left open overnight. The Havahart was not set. I'd wondered if squirrels would enter the new trap or if their tail would leave the door open enough for them to retreat. Now I know... it works for squirrels too. This evens up the competition with each trap having caught 2 pests.

    Just a few hours later, the Havahart caught another chipmunk. That puts it ahead of its competitor (at least for the moment)

  6. On the 6th day, I checked the Chipmunkinator which was left open all night. Yep, it had another chipmunk inside. The other trap was closed during the night to prevent larger animals like a cat or a skunk from getting into it. It's back to an even tie again.
  7. On the 7th day, the critters must have been taking a rest. Both traps were set, but with no luck catching anything. I caught a glimpse of a chippie skittering under the shed, so we haven't run out of little pests to catch yet.

    On the 8th day, I again captured nothing. That evening I forgot to close the Havahart cage.

    On the morning of the 9th day, there was a chipmunk in the Havahart.

    Also that morning I saw a neighborhood cat going purposefully across the yard. Hanging limply from her jaws was a chipmunk. I'd seen the cat wander past several days, but figured it looked too elderly and overfed to be chasing away any critters. Obviously I underestimated the hunting instincts of the domestic cat.

  8. OK, it is the 10th day of the trial. Checked this morning and already a chipmunk was in the new trap. A red squirrel was just approaching the trap but scampered away under the shed when he saw me. Darn.

    Brought out some sunflower seeds to sprinkle near the entrance, OOPS, I scared away the squirrel again. Opened the Havahart and sprinkled some sunflowers in it. Checked a little later and the red squirrel was now inside rattling the cage in annoyance.

    Shortly after that I heard some squeeky squabbling going on. Checked and found a 2nd chipmunk had joined the first one in the Chipmunkinator. The first one was chasing the 2nd one around the cage. I imagine he was saying "Dolt, I told you not to come in here." According to the box, one can catch multiple critters without having to reset the trap. Certainly an advantage. It didn't mention that they wouldn't get along once they were in there together.

  9. It's the 11th day of the competition. Rainy, but I heard the metallic sound of the Havahart doors falling shut. When I peeked through the side bars, I saw a chipmunk even though I hadn't refreshed the peanut butter since yesterday.
  10. On the 12th and 13th day, no new captures. I decided to move the traps close to the shed, away from the woodpile. That evening I saw a young chippie looking around the Chipmunkinator and even climbing around on top of it. He wasn't finding the entrance. Perhaps I hadn't sprinkled enough seeds around leading into the cage or someone ate them.

    On the morning of the 14th day, I found another red squirrel in the Chipmunkinator. He obviously had no trouble figuring out how to push his way into the wire enclosure. The score is tied again.

    Later that day while we were having dinner on the deck, I heard the light clang of the Havahart trap closing its doors capturing another chipmunk.

    SCORE for First 2 Weeks

    Havahart = 7

    Chipmunkinator = 6

    Cat = 1

Do Not Leave Either Trap Open at Night

Last summer we acccidentally trapped a young skunk in the Chipmunkinator. Now, I close it at night to prevent this from happening. I was amazed that this larger animal could get in through the chipmunk sized entry.
Last summer we acccidentally trapped a young skunk in the Chipmunkinator. Now, I close it at night to prevent this from happening. I was amazed that this larger animal could get in through the chipmunk sized entry. | Source

Week 3 and 4

Week 3 and 4 of the Comparison Test

  1. Day 15 - Both traps were set out and this time I baited both of them with kernels of sweet corn cut off of leftover corn on the cob. In the middle of the afternoon, a young chipmunk sat in the middle of the Chipmunkinator. Later that afternoon, there was one in the Havahart.
  2. Days 16 through 21 - No captures. Is it possible that we've caught all the pesky red squirrels and chipmunks in our yard? I'll keep the traps set, just in case.
  3. Day 22 - Put the Chipmunkinator next to the woodpile again and caught a chipmunk (with strawberries for bait). The Havahart is near the carport where we saw a red squirrel yesterday. It is baited with sunflower seeds.
  4. Day 23 - No action.
  5. Day 24 - Caught a red squirrel in the Havahart. Used sunflower seeds for bait.
  6. Day 25 - We were outside doing yard work much of the day. This probably kept the little critters from being active. No captures today.
  7. Day 26 - Oops, there's been an escape. I set the Havahart with fresh peanut butter this morning near the front of our lot. Shortly after that, I heard the doors fall shut. At a glance, I could see the trap was empty though the doors were closed. Halfway up the tree next to it, a squirrel scolded and chattered angrily.

    I'm guessing he was only part way in so the door couldn't close and managed to get out with only his tail being nipped. The other possibility was he put his paw through the mesh of the cage to reach for the peanut butter without going inside. He bumped the trigger bar that runs down the side or tipped the bait lever inside causing the doors to close and scare him up the tree.

    However it happened, he is probably pretty leery of the whole thing now. I reset it in case he was determined to get that peanut butter. We'll see.

    Update (about 4 hours later): There's a red squirrel in the Havahart. I'd left the Chipmunkinator in the back by the woodpile but maybe we've run out of chipmunks there. Tomorrow I'll move it around front where the squirrel tree is. That will give it a chance to catch up in the numbers, plus I don't have to close it at night.

    Score for Week 3 & 4

    Chipmunkinator - 2

    Havahart - 3

    (haven't seen the cat lately)

  8. Didn't catch (or see) any more chipmunks or squirrels in the final days of the 4 week trial. I'd say the two traps both performed well and my pest problem solved for the moment.

    I'll keep the traps ready to use in case new critters move into my yard this summer.

Which of These Have You Tried? - The Havahart or the Chipmunkinator?

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A Red Squirrel in the Chipmunkinator Trap

These are considered quite destructive if they get into your car engine or into the walls or attic of your house. This one looks a bit miffed that he let himself be captured.
These are considered quite destructive if they get into your car engine or into the walls or attic of your house. This one looks a bit miffed that he let himself be captured. | Source

Critters become more active in the fall

After almost of month of no captures, I've caught three red squirrels and one chipmunk in the last four days. This is the time of year that people start having trouble with them getting into their houses.

Summer 2015 Results

The study shown above was from the summer of 2014. This summer, I again set my traps daily. As of September 20, 2015, we've caught 31 chipmunks on our quarter-acre wooded lot.

For most of the summer, I used the Havahart traps as I find those easier to set and easier to empty. I did use my Chipmunkinator a few weeks, but my preference is the Havahart.

I also found that it wasn't that important to keep applying the peanut butter to the lever. It seems that even when the peanut butter gets eaten by the trapped chipmunk or if the ants clear it off, the smell left behind must attract the chipmunks. Even when there is no visible traces of the bait, the little critters enter the cage.

Sometimes You Catch Squirrels

If you don't want to catch them, it's easy enough to let them go free. Just flip up the wire bar that holds the door shut, the squirrel will quickly make his escape.
If you don't want to catch them, it's easy enough to let them go free. Just flip up the wire bar that holds the door shut, the squirrel will quickly make his escape. | Source

Summer 2018 Update

After several years of use, I gave the Chipmunkinator to a neighbor and now I use the 2-door Havahart exclusively. I have 2 of those. This summer, I've caught 32 chipmunks and squirrels in the Havahart.


Questions & Answers

  • How far away do you relocate chipmunks? Also, they don't seem to go in my Havahart. Zillions of ants come to eat the peanut butter, so I'm trying peanuts and sunflower seeds (shelled). So far, no luck.

    I've seen 10 miles as a recommendation for deporting chipmunks. You can also relocate them on the other side of a lake or across a freeway that forms a barrier to their return. Yes, each morning, my peanut butter is gone (probably to ants). I've had successful trapping of chipmunks with peanut butter, sunflower seeds, corn cut from the cob, suet from a bird feeder). Place the trap in locations where you have seen the chipmunks.

  • Can the animal's tails keep a chipmunk trap door's open?

    With a chipmunk, that's never been a problem for me. Sometimes squirrels, with their larger, bushier tails might be able to. Almost always when the trap gets triggered, there's a chipmunk or squirrel caught inside. It is very rare for the trap to snap shut and for it to be empty.

© 2013 Virginia Allain

What Problems Are You Having with Chipmunks?

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    • profile image

      Loretta McKinney 

      2 months ago

      I'm using the 2-door Havahart trap. I haven't caught any chipmunks, because the squirrels stretch themselves through the door and gently lick the bait off of the tray. Next, I'll try putting the trap in a box with a small hole for the chipmunks to enter.

    • profile image

      Leon Petersen 

      5 months ago

      I caught 47 chipmunks and three gray squirrels in less than a month with the chipmunkinator. It really so easy to use. I'll probably get a second one for next year

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      5 months ago from Central Florida

      Wow, Chip, you have a good start on reducing your chipmunk population. I hope they enjoy their new life at the park. Creative way to keep the squirrels from entering, too.

    • profile image

      Chip 

      5 months ago

      I just started using the chipmunkinator and it’s great! 5 chipmonks in first trial (4+ hours). I relocate them to a local park. I caught a squirrel the second day and used a snow shovel to flip the cage over and release it. I then used plastic coated cable to create a diagonal barrier on each entrance. So far I’m still catching chipmunks but not squirrels. They can’t get past the diagonal cables.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      2 years ago from Central Florida

      If you are going to release them, take them at least 10 miles away so they don't return to your place. For those who aren't willing to do that, you can place the cage in water which quickly drowns the chipmunk.

    • profile image

      Deb 

      2 years ago

      What do you do with the chipmunks after you catch them? Obviously you can't release them again on your property.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      3 years ago from Central Florida

      Each summer, one has to tackle the problem again.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 

      3 years ago

      Wish I had read your article when it first came out. I would have rid my self of the nut eating menace!

    • frayne profile image

      frayne 

      4 years ago

      Both are good in catching chipmunks than cat.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      @anonymous: The Havahart comes in different sizes. If you have a larger one suitable for woodchucks or other bigger animals, the chipmunks won't trigger the lever.

      If you have the proper chipmunk sized Havahart, then check to be sure the levers on the side aren't binding. Trigger it with a stick and watch it in action. You can bend the levers into alignment if that is the problem.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      The chipmunks enter the Havahart - but are too light to trip the door release.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      @evelynsaenz1: Sounds like a good way to learn about nature.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      5 years ago from Royalton

      We are not having problems with chipmunks this year but we have trapped chipmunks to do scientific inquiry. My daughter, then 11, even got to the point that she could recognize individual chipmunks.

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