Thursday, August 21, 2008

Chipmunk whisperer

I posted a photo of me at 12 taking photos of chipmunks at the cabin. I found one of the actual snaps I took then, but I know I have a better one in an album I can't find (in a box, I'm sure). Meantime, I found this one of me at 19, when I'd just come back from working in France (I can tell by the jacket I bought in Paris.)

In the spring, the chippies emerge from semi-hibernation and are ravenously hungry. If you have peanuts, you can tame them easily just by sitting still. They carefully stuff three whole peanuts in their fat cheeks then run off to hide them.

The chippies we tamed were always very gentle. Sometimes they would mistake your finger for a peanut, testing it with their teeth, but they never bit down, just backed off and kept looking. I don't recall ever being bitten for real, and I handled a lot of chipmunks.

OK, it was bugging me that I didn't know where that album was, so I went in search. It was in the next logical place. Kudos to me for being organized! (I haven't always been.)
Sometimes we would put peanuts in a milk bottle. A chipmunk would go in, stuff his cheeks, and then be too fat-faced to get out again. You can only do this once with each chippie, though, because he'll figure out pretty quickly how to push the peanuts out one at a time and then carry them off.

Have you ever tamed any wild critters? How did you do it?


  1. When I was little we had a squirrel who would come up on the back porch and take peanuts. He was pretty cheeky and would sit on the kitchen windowsill, peering in, waiting for us to come to the back-door.

    And we have some lovely photos of Arthur and his sister when they were pretty young feeding chickadees out of their hands.

  2. Awe super cute. I wish I would have spent more time with the chipmunk at dead indian pass.

  3. I raised a batch of abandoned baby squirrels and they were tame until about six weeks old, when all of a sudden their "fear gene" kicked in and they were then afraid of me! I let them go in the woods but continued to put out sunflower seed for them for many years after and could always recognize "my" babies!

  4. Everyone's taming rodents! Chickadees are nice, though.

    I "tamed" a swan at the zoo once, too. That was pretty cool. Nothing softer than swan's down still on the swan.