What to feed chipmunks

It has been illegal since 2016 to buy or sell chipmunks as pets. If you bought or rescued a pet chipmunk prior to 2016 you can keep them for the rest of their natural life.

chipmunk inside animal cage © RSPCA

For your pet chipmunks to stay happy and healthy, they'll need a full and varied diet of cereals, fruits, nuts and vegetables, as well as plenty to drink.

Here's more on how to feed your chipmunks.

  • Cereals - your chipmunks' diet should consist of up to 50% cereals, such as oats, wheat, barley, corn and millet sprays. 
  • Nuts - you can also give them unsalted nuts, such as pine nuts. 
  • Fresh fruit and veg - small amounts of washed, chopped fruit and vegetables, such as apples, pears, bananas, oranges, carrots, sweet potatoes, bean sprouts, and tomatoes, add extra variety to their diet.
  • Untreated seeding grasses and weeds such as chickweed, seedling dock and shepherd's purse are also potentially yummy and safe options for your chipmunks.
  • A clean cuttlefish bone - this provides a good source of calcium, and gnawing helps wear down a chipmunk's teeth, which grow continuously throughout their life.
  • Water - give your chipmunks fresh, clean drinking water from a drinking bottle with a stainless steel spout. Check the bottle twice a day for any leaks and/or blockages and to keep on top of refills.


  • Remove stones from fruit such as peaches and plums, as these are poisonous.
  • Seed-based rodent diets aren't suitable - while pellets manufactured for rats and mice can be given to chipmunks, a seed-based rodent diet is not suitable for a chipmunk.
  • Chipmunks like to store food and this is actually essential to their wellbeing. It's best to check your chipmunk's food store daily and to remove any food that's going mouldy.

Monitoring your chipmunks' diet

It's important to keep an eye on the amount and type of food that your chipmunks are eating everyday, and to check that they're drinking as normal and passing plenty of dry droppings.

Generally, chipmunks produce two kinds of droppings - hard dry pellets, and softer moist pellets that they eat directly from their bottom. These are actually an essential part of their diet!

If you decide to adjust your chipmunks' diet to improve their health, great! Remember, never make sudden changes to your pet's diet, as this could upset their digestive system and make them ill. Speak to your vet for more detailed advice on gradually transitioning your chipmunks onto a healthier diet.

If your chipmunks' eating or drinking habits change, or the number or size of their droppings gets smaller or stops, talk to your vet, as they could be ill.

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