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Do Garter Snakes Eat Chipmunks? (Quick Answers)

Garter snakes are considered a gardener’s best friend. They are beneficial for the plants and crops as they feed on harmful critters. Garter snakes vary in size according to their species.

They commonly feed on small insects, fish, toads, and frogs. Sometimes, they set for rodents if they are easy to hunt and eat.

Do garter snakes eat chipmunks?

Garter snakes eat chipmunks. But they can hunt and eat small chipmunks only when they can overpower them. Chipmunks, like most other rodents, can run fast and have powerful claws and legs. They can defend themselves with the help of their teeth or just by running away.

Chipmunks are not a part of their common foods, but if a chipmunk is easy to hunt and the snake can overpower it, it will go for it. So yes, garter snakes can feed on chipmunks when there’s an opportunity.

Even if they do plan on preying upon adult chipmunks, the plan is most likely to fail. Adult chipmunks are faster and stronger.

But baby chipmunks may not be able to fight back and end up becoming their food. Also, garter snakes are not enough wide to swallow a whole adult chipmunk.

But garter snakes don’t need to consume food frequently. They can go a long way after eating a comparatively large fish. So it is unlikely for a garter snake to hunt chipmunks regularly.

They are difficult to hunt and can cause them harm. While they don’t set for large chipmunks, they can sometimes go after small ones that are easy to hunt.

Do garter snakes keep away chipmunks?

Garter snakes can help keep chipmunks away. Since these snakes feed on harmful insects, bugs, and small mammals, they keep the garden free from critters. Chipmunks love to move and eat freely so they don’t like to enter places with snakes.

They have a sense of smell that they use to keep away from predators. They can very easily sense the presence of snakes and tend to avoid the area.

Also, since the large garter snakes can feed on small chipmunks, they are scared of these snakes and keep away from them.

Are garter snakes dangerous?

Garter snakes are not at all dangerous. They are harmless to humans. These snakes rarely bite when in danger. Rather they release a bad-smelling fluid known as musk to protect them.

When you try to catch a garter snake it may release the fluid in your hand. This will make your hand smell bad but is not dangerous to humans.

It is prohibited in many areas around the world to capture a garter snake and keep it away from the wild. These snakes are mostly harmless and they are important to maintain the balance of nature.

Garter snakes are not constrictors. They do have some venom in their saliva but that doesn’t make them venomous.

Also, they are helpful for garden plants and crops. So if you’re thinking about attracting garter snakes in your yard, it might be a good idea for your garden.

Are garter snakes good for the garden?

Garter snakes can be beneficial for the garden. They have a broad appetite that consumes harmful critters, slugs, snails, and even small mammals that destroy crops and other produces in the yard.

Garter snakes feed on critters that are the worst enemy of most plants. An abundance of slugs and snails often creates problems for the gardener to maintain the good health of the plants. Garter snakes love to eat slugs and snails.

Some gardeners and homeowners even use different methods to lure these snakes into the yard to ensure better health for the plants and crops. Garter snakes are harmless. They love to bathe in the warm sun. They are most active in daylight.

How to attract garter snakes to the garden?

Many house owners and gardeners prefer to have lots of snakes in their yard. There are ways to attract garter snakes into your garden.

Not sealing possible entry points:

If you want garter snakes to make their way to your yard, refrain from sealing their possible entry points.

Keeping cat and dog food outside:

Rodents are attracted to the smelly cat and dog food. If you have pets, you can try keeping some of their foods with strong smells outside. This will attract rodents which in turn attract the snakes.

Providing freshwater sources:

Since garter snakes live near water and tend to hunt and eat aquatic animals the most, they can be lured inside the garden by providing freshwater sources.

Make sure that your garden has water sources like shallow fountains or birdbaths that garter snakes can easily get access to.

You can also throw things that can store rainwater like empty cans. Snakes use these sources to drink when they feel thirsty. Easy access to freshwater will attract them to come and stay in the garden.

Providing hiding places:

Garter snakes need to have places where they hide and shield themselves. Make sure that your yard has stacks of rocks or stones, piles of plywood, old stumps, or similar things where they can hide.

What else do garter snakes eat?

Garter snakes have a diversity in their food diet. Let’s get to know what they feed on.

Aquatic life:

Garter snakes like to stay near the water and generally feed on aquatic life such as fish, frogs, tadpoles, salamanders, and other small fishes that are available in the area.

Small insects:

Garter snakes prefer eating small creatures that are available in abundance. They are also easier for them to hunt down and eat. These small insects include earthworms, crickets, sowbugs, snails, caterpillars, and snugs.

Other snakes:

Garter snakes also feed on snakes that they can hunt and pray. The largest species of garter snake often hunt and eat smaller snakes.

Some mammals and birds:

Garter snakes also feed on small rodents and mammals when they are easy to hunt.

They generally don’t go for big rodents since these snakes are not very wide. The list includes mice, voles, small chipmunks, and shrews. They also eat small birds that are easier to hunt.

What else eats chipmunks?

Garter snakes only eat chipmunks when the situation allows. Following are the types of animals that often eat chipmunks.

Predatory mammals:

Chipmunks are often eaten by predatory mammals. The list includes foxes, lynxes, red squirrels, coyotes, weasels, bobcats, and raccoons.

The list can expand and include some other mammals depending on the geography. In some areas, minks and martens are a danger to chipmunks.

Even domestic cats and dogs can hunt and eat chipmunks. Chipmunks have a communication system where they make a sound to alarm other chipmunks about danger.

While most of these predatory mammals can successfully hunt chipmunks, oftentimes the chipmunks succeed in eluding them.  


There are so many different types of snakes that hunt and eat chipmunks. But chipmunks also have a different strategy when it comes to dealing with snakes. They put up a good fight and sometimes win against the snakes.

Aerial predators:

Chipmunks don’t have it easy. While they are threatened by the predatory mammals and snakes on the ground, they can’t keep their eyes off the sky as well. Some standard birds include hawks, goshawks, and owls.

Final thoughts

Garter snakes eat chipmunks. But it is tough for even large garter snakes to hunt and feed on adult chipmunks since these snakes are not that wide. Also, chipmunks are very fast and good at defending themselves. Garter snakes only hunt and eat small chipmunks that are easy to hunt and eat.