Despite the existence of about 50 snake species in the US, few have matched the extensive range and adaptability of the garter snake. This reptile gets up—figuratively speaking—and is close to a wild variety of potential prey. But because of its small size, it is hard to predict how each battle for survival will end.
For example, do garter snakes eat chipmunks? They surely like to eat chipmunks. But the smaller the snake, the higher the chance the chipmunk will eat the snake. A garter snake is always on the hunt, is mildly venomous, and ready to bite. But chipmunks are not that far behind as they employ similar hunting strategies.
Yes, garter snakes eat chipmunks, particularly their young.
Do Garter Snakes Eat Chipmunks Or Vice Versa?
Most reptiles eat rodents. Once they manage to kill one, the next step is to swallow it whole. Garter snakes would also slither on an isolated rock or into a pile of leaves and soak up as much sunlight as possible to increase the metabolic rate that helps them digest food and grow. But of course, resting outdoors can expose a garter snake to other predators.
Chipmunks are larger than white-footed mice and other small mammals. So, given the opportunity, they may appear as too much work to the eyes of a small garter snake. After all, some chipmunks reach 10-11 inches in length and are 3-5 inches tall.
Discussing these species’ predator-prey relationship is a touchy subject. Mainly because it involves their cute little babies.
Both animals spend most of their time on the ground. Plus, they hide in burrows. They also break into other creatures’ hideouts to eat their eggs and food storage. So, in the end, it is a matter of who finds what first.
Everything Is Game
Baby chipmunks are hairless and blind. They do not even develop their personality until they open their eyes, which usually happens in a couple of weeks. But in that timeframe, everything can happen. If a garter snake finds its way to a chipmunk’s nest, no fat, little cheeks will remain.
Young chipmunks may stay with their parents for a few months. And then, they start to explore until they move out. At that point, they will start looking for food (such as acorns or tomatoes), and what better protein source than snake meat on the rock?
Adult chipmunks can climb trees, which is a place garter snakes do not go.
Unlike other reptiles, garter snakes do not lay eggs in the open. They incubate their eggs for two to three months until their babies hatch. The tiny and adorable serpents love to wedge themselves in the smallest crevice around. Plus, their cool stripe down their back makes them look super cute. And appetizing, if you were a hungry chipmunk.
Baby garters are completely helpless and can only wiggle their teensy-weensy forked tongue. At what point do garter snakes eat chipmunks, you ask? Usually, after one year and a half or two years—when they fully mature. If they are blessed with good genetics, that is.
Do Garter Snakes Eat Chipmunks? YES
Once both species grow up, they end up fighting each other. Sometimes, the chipmunk comes out victorious. And well, other times, nature just takes its course.
If you don’t want chipmunks, fill in their holes. That’s a great way to get them of your property before they do any sort of long-term damage.