Opinion: Why can’t chipmunks just walk?


Chipmunks are everywhere. For years we’ve had one clan living under our front porch and another in the back yard.

This year they have expanded their territory to include the pond, the barn, the tool shed, all of the garden areas, random places in the lawn and even the driveway.

A note about the driveway: It’s paved but a small bubble created a hole during the freeze-and-thaw cycle last winter. The little guys dug a tunnel all the way from the hosta bed to the hole – a good 10 feet. Now they don’t have to worry so much about the neighbor’s cat while crossing the dangerous expanse of asphalt.

So far I haven’t seen much damage to my domain. But I’ve been warned about lost plants, flowers, bulbs and delicate root systems.

I’ve tried to trap them, but I haven’t had much luck. They are highly talented at getting away with the nuts and peanut butter while leaving the trap unsprung. I guess I don’t have a trapper mentality. Maybe I need to start wearing a coonskin cap.

Other than the myriad of holes in the yard and gardens, I don’t really have a problem with the little guys. And, as my granddaughter frequently observes, “They are so cute!”

The cartoon industry hasn’t helped either. Disney’s Chip-n-Dale have made a career out of outsmarting Donald Duck. And who doesn’t love Alvin and the Chipmunks?

One thing does puzzle me. Chipmunks can’t walk. They go everywhere at jet takeoff speed. They’re either sitting on their haunches munching something clutched in their tiny forepaws, or they are a blur streaking from here to there.

I’ve done a little research and find no reason for them not to walk from time to time. But as long as I’ve watched them, I’ve never seen them do anything but zip.

Maybe it has to do with dogs. Dogs apparently love to chase chipmunks. I know my dog does. He doesn’t catch any, but he gives them a good run.

Maybe at Creation, God warned the chipmunks: “Thou shalt not walk, lest thy neighbor’s dog overtake you.”

Still, Alvin and the Chipmunks’ most popular song is, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

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