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How To Tell If a Chipmunk is Dying?

How To Tell If a Chipmunk is Dying?

Its small size and legendary appearance have made the chipmunk one of the most popular pets. However, we cannot get carried away by the protective instinct its appearance generates since it is a very active and fast rodent.

Thanks to the five black stripes on its back, it is easily recognizable. It also has dark bands on the cheeks, weighs a hundred grams and measures up to 30 cm, including 10 cm of the tail.

Whether you have a chipmunk as a pet or not, it’s possible to come across one in a weird situation, how do you know if it’s dying?

Keep reading to learn more.

How To Know If a Chipmunk is Dying?

One thing one should know is that for an animal to die, it is always caused by something, such as old age, injury, or disease.

Chipmunks are not spared from diseases either, and you always have to keep a close eye on the animal to notice minor changes so you can take action as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, even when chipmunks are sick, they try to act as if they’re not missing anything. This is, of course, due to their nature. Once the chipmunk is visibly ill, it is often just a matter of days to decide whether it will survive or die.

Here are ways to tell if a chipmunk is dying:

  1. Presence of wounds, cuts, or rashes probably sustained from an accident.
  1. Dizzy, or sedentary behavior: It could lose its balance and move around in circles.
  1. Bleeding or obvious excessive fluid loss.
  1. It curls up and has a hard time breathing well.
  1. It gives off the impression of being fluffy or dozing, and it will most likely allow you to approach it without hesitation.

In this case, the veterinarian should be the first choice. So, what additional measures can be taken to identify when the chipmunk is dying?

  1. You should get a small book and write down the weight of the croissant at least once a week. A digital kitchen scale is ideal for weighing the animal.
  1. Lure the chipmunk onto the scales with treats and use a few seconds to read the weight. Some keepers put a bowl on the scales and lure the streak into it to buy some time.
  1. You can quickly see when there are significant fluctuations in weight and can counteract possible illnesses more quickly.
  1. Even if the chipmunk is hurt, you should write down all symptoms and changes so that you can report them to the vet without any gaps.

Chipmunk Breathing But Not Moving: What to Do?

If a wild animal is lying still and breathing heavily, there is probably something very wrong with it. Because of this, the best course of action would be to seek immediate medical assistance.

It’s best to know that the survival of this chipmunk is extremely doubtful, and there is a possibility that it is infected with a zoonotic disease. Therefore, if there is a wildlife rehabilitation center in the area, you might be able to take it there with the help of a towel and a small box (do not attempt to touch it with bare hands).

Once there, the professionals will be able to determine whether it has a chance of recovering or whether it should be euthanized in a humane manner to put an end to its suffering.

Do Chipmunks Play Dead?

Many animals play dead, but not always, so they don’t end up getting eaten. Playing dead, scientifically called thanatosis or tonic immobility, occurs throughout the animal kingdom, in birds, mammals, and fish.

Guinea pigs and many species of rabbits pretend to have died, as well as various snakes, such as the black-tailed creek snake. Avian imposters include Japanese quail, chickens, and wild ducks.

Even some sharks also pretend to lie on their backs: if turned onto their backs and temporarily tethered, gall sharks become immobile and show labored breathing and occasional tremors.

With this, it is common fact for animals, including at least chipmunks, to play dead. In fact, some animals even pretend to be dead for food or sex.

What to Feed an Injured Chipmunk?

When a chipmunk is injured, you might not necessarily need some extra care for its feeding except prescribed by a veterinarian. However, you will always need to prepare a proper meal for your chipmunk to be healthy.

Chipmunks eat the following food:

1. Mixtures of seeds and nuts, vegetables and legumes daily, trying to offer different varieties each day. Fruit can be offered in moderation, a maximum of 3 days a week, as its sugar content can be harmful.

It should be offered at room temperature and in tiny pieces. Furthermore, it would help if you remembered that they like green fruit more than ripe ones.

2. Insects: these provide protein, so they are also crucial in their diet; just give them a couple of times a week. If your chipmunk is loose in the house, he may also hunt them themselves.

Now that you know what chipmunks eat, you need to ensure you’re getting all the protein, fat, carbs, fiber, vitamins, and minerals your chipmunk needs to be healthy.

The best way to provide a complete and balanced diet is to imitate your own natural diet as much as possible, something like the following:

  1. Always make fresh and clean water available.
  1. Vegetables daily: mix 4 or 5 vegetables such as peppers, carrot leaves, canonizes, arugula, spinach, butchers, and sprouts of various plants, broccoli, cucumber, and corn. Vegetables (those that chipmunk eats should preferably be sprouted) like lentils, beans, peas, broad beans, e.t.c.
  1. Mix a good amount of dried fruits and seeds daily: hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, chestnuts, oat flakes, sunflower seeds, and birdseed.
  1. Fruits 2-3 times a week: apples, bananas, cherries, peaches, grapes, strawberries, watermelon, melons, blueberries, blackberries, e.t.c.
  1. Small insects 1-2 times a week: mealworms, crickets, grasshoppers.
  1. Calcium: extra calcium with hard-boiled eggshells, unsalted fresh cheese, unsweetened yogurt, and powdered milk.

Not only do you have to consider what chipmunk is at, but also how much food they eat. It is recommended to give ¼ of your weight, about 20-25 g per day. The chicks eat less (about 15 g). I recommend distributing the food in different places as chipmunk love to collect it.

You can use commercial foods as the basis of your diet if you don’t have time to prepare a balanced daily menu.

This way, you will be sure that you are providing all the nutrients and vitamins your chipmunk needs to be healthy, but you should choose a quality one and supplement it with fruits and vegetables.

In addition to knowing the foods that chipmunks eat, you must consider which ones to avoid and which are dangerous for them. For example, bitter almonds contain a substance practically lethal to chipmunks- cyanide.

Sweets like chocolate also harm health because of their high sugar content. Nor should they consume dairy or processed foods such as cereals or bread.

How to Comfort a Dying Chipmunk?

It is hard to see your pet dying, but since it can’t be controlled, the best thing you can do is to provide comfort for it. To provide comfort for it, try doing these:

  1. Make sure you get it warm: It sounds like it might be dying, but you can provide comfort.
  1. Keep it hydrated: When it is warm, try to offer hydration fluid with a syringe. You can take one teaspoon of salt, three tablespoons of sugar, and 1 quart of warm water.

What Does a Dead Chipmunk Smell Like?

A dead chipmunk or other rodent has a distinct odor that might take over an area of your house.

It usually begins with a stench that is out of character for the location in which it is found. Next comes a decaying aroma characteristically described as “rotten cabbage-like”.

How To Save a Dying Chipmunk?

The best way to save is to notice what is wrong with it.

Some of the most common dying chipmunk symptoms are:

  1. Your chipmunk doesn’t want to eat: lack of appetite is one of the most common symptoms of disease in chipmunks.
  1. Does not move and appears listless: Inactivity and apathy can be symptoms of illness and stress in chipmunks.
  1. Pain: Sick chipmunks often show signs of pain and discomfort, such as hypersensitivity and refusal to be handled or touched by their owners.
  1. Behavior changes: The state of pain and vulnerability can cause behavioral changes in chipmunks, which may be more fearful, aggressive, or nervous than usual.

When you notice these changes, consult the veterinarian for professional advice.

Can a Chipmunk Survive a Cat Attack?

Only a wild cat will attack a chipmunk because they are omnivorous, a pet cat will rarely attack. However, if a wild cat attacks your chipmunk, unfortunately, it can’t survive because the cat will barely leave any bone; it always eats and digests the whole chipmunk.


Don’t forget that chipmunks are nervous and active animals and the best place to live is in the wild. For them to live happily as pets, you must take good care of their food and provide them with a suitable place, with plenty of space and the possibility to climb and jump, whatever they like best.