Do Chipmunks Eat Snakes? (and How? With VIDEOS)

Being passionate about squirrels and chipmunks, I’m sometimes asked: “Do chipmunks eat snakes?”. It’s a fair question – after all, chipmunks have a reputation for being cute and harmless. However, looks can be deceiving! So, do chipmunks eat snakes?

In short, yes – chipmunks do sometimes eat snakes. However, they typically only target small, juvenile snakes that they can easily overpower. Large, adult snakes are generally safe from chipmunks.

Here’s a video of a chipmunk eating a snake in Ontario:

Play Video

What Types of Snakes Do Chipmunks Eat?

Chipmunks prey primarily on small, juvenile snakes that pose little threat. Some examples of young snakes eaten by chipmunks include:

  • Garter snakes
  • Ribbon snakes
  • Ring-necked snakes
  • Smooth green snakes
  • Brown snakes

These colubrid species rarely exceed 3 feet in length. Chipmunks may kill and eat snakes up to about one-third of their own body size.

Larger constrictor snakes like rat snakes and king snakes sometimes eat chipmunks. But healthy adult chipmunks are generally too quick and nimble for these larger snakes to catch them.

Do Chipmunks Eat Dead Snakes?

Chipmunks primarily eat live prey. In fact, they generally avoid eating carrion or dead animals. However, chipmunks may cautiously scavenge meat from an already dead snake if very hungry.

Why Do Chipmunks Eat Snakes?

Chipmunks are prey animals that have many natural predators, including hawks, owls, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, and weasels. Snakes also pose a threat, especially to vulnerable baby chipmunks.

When the opportunity arises, chipmunks will kill and eat small snakes for the following reasons:

  • Defense – To protect themselves and their offspring from snakes that may prey on them
  • Protein – Snakes provide a good source of protein in chipmunks’ omnivorous diet
  • Opportunistic eating – Chipmunks are constantly on the hunt for food and will take advantage of an easy snake meal

Do chipmunks Hunt snakes?

Chipmunks are opportunistic predators and will hunt and kill small, juvenile snakes for food if given the chance. However, they avoid confrontation with larger adult snakes which could pose a danger to them.

Chipmunks rely heavily on their senses of sight and smell to locate food. During the day, they forage on the forest floor looking under rocks, logs, and leaves for seeds, fungi, and insects. Chipmunks use their excellent vision to spot prey and watch for overhead predators.

Their flexible cheek pouches allow them to gather and transport large amounts of food back to their burrows for storage.

How Do Chipmunks Catch and Kill Snakes?

When a chipmunk encounters a small snake, it will immediately attack. Chipmunks rely on their quick reflexes and agility to avoid snake bites.

They will bite the snake repeatedly in rapid succession, often near the head to disable it. The multiple puncture wounds from chipmunks’ sharp incisors quickly kill small snakes.

If bitten, the chipmunk’s loose skin allows it to pull away from the snake’s jaws. The snake’s fangs usually only snag a mouthful of fur and skin rather than the chipmunk’s actual body.

Here is a video of a bold chipmunk attacking and eating a snake:

Play Video

Do Chipmunks Eat Venomous Snakes?

For the most part, chipmunks avoid highly venomous snake species like copperheads, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes. The risks outweigh the rewards when it comes to attacking these dangerous snakes.

However, chipmunks may prey on young venomous snakes if they are small enough to quickly kill and consume. The snake must be small enough that the chipmunk can easily avoid a dangerous bite.

What Do Chipmunks Like To Eat?

Chipmunks, as omnivorous rodents, have a varied diet that encompasses both plant and animal matter consumption. Their diet consists primarily of seeds, nuts, fruits, and fungi. However, chipmunks are opportunistic eaters and will eat whatever food sources are readily available.

Here are some of chipmunks’ favorite foods:

  • Seeds and nuts (acorns, pine nuts, sunflower seeds)
  • Fruit (raspberries, apples, pears)
  • Mushrooms
  • Grains (oats, wheat, corn)
  • Insects (spiders, caterpillars, ants)
  • Earthworms
  • Bird eggs
  • Frogs and salamanders
  • Juvenile snakes

What Animals Eat Chipmunks?

A wide variety of predators feed on chipmunks, including:

  • Hawks
  • Owls
  • Coyotes
  • Foxes
  • Bobcats
  • Weasels
  • Snakes
  • Domestic cats and dogs

Chipmunks make up a small portion of these predators’ diets. However, over 60% of chipmunks die within their first year due to predation. Their small size makes them vulnerable to attack from many types of predators.

Do Chipmunks Avoid adult Snakes?

Chipmunks are very wary of adult snakes and will keep their distance from large ones. When foraging, chipmunks stay alert for any signs of snakes.

If they spot a snake, chipmunks will emit high-pitched alarm calls to warn others. They also have a specific call that means “snake on the ground!” This signals chipmunks to be extra cautious.

Chipmunks may also mob or harass snakes to encourage them to move away from their burrows. They also plug burrow entrances to block snakes from gaining access.


In conclusion, do chipmunks eat snakes? Yes, chipmunks do occasionally eat snakes, but only small, young ones that pose little danger. They typically avoid confrontations with larger snakes, as these would be risky encounters. However, chipmunks’ speed and agility help them evade snakes when necessary. Their wariness allows them to coexist with snakes, despite being potential prey.

I hope this article clearly explains the predator-prey relationship between chipmunks and snakes. As a passionate squirrel-lover, I’m happy to share my first-hand knowledge! Let me know if you have any other chipmunk related questions.

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