Eastern Chipmunk
Tamias striatus
Family Sciuridae

* A small, colorful squirrel. Fur reddish, with dark brown to black stripes on the face and extending along the sides and back.
* Tail bushy, held straight up when running, 3-4" long.
* Head and body length: 5-6".

Natural History:
* Habitat: Deciduous forests, glades, and brushy areas in suburbs and rural places. Builds dens in the ground, with hidden entrances often under stone walls, old tree stumps, or rotten logs.
* Range: Southeastern Canada and eastern United States.
* Behavior: Chipmunks are solitary and hibernate in the winter. They eat seeds, bulbs, nuts, meat, insects, eggs, and plants such as Canada mayflower and American yew. Food is stored in underground dens. Chipmunks make several chattering noises, ranging from an even chuck-chuck-chuck to an alarmed or angry chip or chip-r-r-r. They exhibit territorial behavior.
* Lifespan: 2-3 years.
* Native.

* We've all seen those adorable chipmunks with their cheek pouches full of food - so cute! Well, you'd be surprised how much food can be stored in a chipmunk's mouth. Record chipmunk food-carriers include one who stuffed 31 corn kernels into its mouth, another with 13 prune pits, a third with 70 sunflower seeds, and finally a chipmunk with 32 beech nuts! Pretty amazing...

* Chipmunk populations rise and fall with the availability of seeds. For example, when oaks produce abundant nuts (also known as mast) in autumn, the food results in high winter survival rates and peak production of offspring. The chipmunks will remain abundant throughout the next summer, but their numbers will decline in the fall due to food scarcity. Masting years, or years of high nut production for oaks, occur only every three to four years, and this pattern is reflected in the abundance of chipmunks.


Created by: Niki Zhou and Carla Holleran
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: June 25, 2004
Last Modified: August 7, 2004
Expries: June 1, 2005