* 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".
* 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.
* 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.