Meet Stripes:

Stripes is a wild chipmunk that occupied the garden outside my front door from 2019 September until I moved in 2020 Fall. We were pals.

And before Stripes, there was Chip:

But back to Stripes, I liked her more:


It all started when I saw a chipmunk outside my front door. I decided randomly to run inside, get nuts, and throw them at him. Every morning thereafter I brought nuts to throw, or to leave out for him. I quickly conditioned him to his name “Chip” by saying “Chip-chip-chip-chip-chip” every time I fed him.

Within a week of first seeing Chip, I fed him from my hand.

He also lightly nibbled on my finger when this happened. With rabies you must get treatment immediately (~100% fatal). Out of ignorance I didn’t, but probably should’ve. I wore gloves after this.

After that, I left nuts out for Chip daily. I checked every few hours to see if he was out or if he had taken the nuts. I believe the nuts kept him hanging out around my front door.

After that I gradually pushed his comfort zone more and more.

Soon Stripes somehow replaced Chip.

Over the winter, chipmunks (at least the species in the northeast) don’t hibernate per say, but sleep a lot. If they stick around and you leave nuts out, they will give you little footprints in the snow:

Stripes wasn’t very active until the temperature returned to 50 or 60 degrees F. Soon after, though, she had babies. She had two litters in 2020!

After that I experimented with different ideas with Stripes. Feeding her from a spoon was one of my favorites: if I lifted the spoon high enough while she was eating, she would pull herself onto the spoon, and then I would have a chipmunk on a spoon. My family and I also experimented with a ladder and a makeshift swing, to varying success.

Coming eventually maybe: “How to tame a deer.”