Chipmunk Facts

These small, furry rodents are easily identified by their stubby legs, bushy tails and white, black and brown stripes that run down their backs. Chipmunks are the smallest members of the squirrel family. There are 25 species of chipmunk and only one of those species, called the Siberian chipmunk, lives outside of North America, the Siberian chipmunk lives in Asia and is expanding into parts of Europe. The biggest species of chipmunk is the Eastern chipmunk, which can grow up to 11 inches and can weigh up to 4.4 ounces. Chipmunks typically grow to around 4 to 7 inches and weigh 1 to 5 ounces, their tails can grow as long as 3 to 5 inches.

Chipmunks and their young

Female chipmunks usually give birth to two to eight young at one time and give birth one to two times per year, once in the late spring and sometimes again in the fall. Chipmunk babies are called pups, which are hairless, blind, and pink creatures the size of a jelly bean when born. Mothers are very protective of their young and if one goes missing, she will search frantically for it; however, the protection doesn't last for long. Pups only stay with their parents for around two months, then they build their own homes and begin gathering food for the winter months ahead.

What is the habitat and diet of a chipmunk

In North America, chipmunks can be found almost anywhere there are trees. Chipmunks make homes for themselves by creating burrows that consist of an 10 to 30 feet long underground tunnel systems or by making nests in logs or bushes.

Chipmunks are omnivores, part of their diet consists of vegetation such as mushrooms, berries, nuts, seeds and grains. They also eat bird eggs and other creatures such as insects, baby birds and frogs.

When are chipmunks active?

Though you may see chipmunks around each other, they are not social animals and like to keep to themselves. Chipmunks only interact during mating season, which is in the spring. They are most active at dusk and dawn and spend most of their days foraging for food. During hibernation, chipmunks don’t sleep all the way through the season. Occasionally they wake every few days and feed on stored food they gathered in the warmer months. However, during hibernation it can be very difficult to arouse a chipmunk. Their heart rate drops from 350 beats per minute to around four beats per minute, and its body temperature drops from 94 ºF to as low as 40 ºF, according to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).

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