Chipmunk Facts

Chipmunks are a type of squirrel. These small, furry rodents are 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. 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.

Pups are hairless, blind, pink creatures the size of a jelly bean. Mothers are very protective of their young and if one goes missing, she will search frantically for it.

The protection doesn't last for long, though. Pups only stay with their parents for around two months. They then build their own home and start gathering food to last them through the coming winter.

Pest Tips

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. In North America, chipmunks can be found almost anywhere there are trees. 

Chipmunks make homes for themselves by creating burrows that consist of an underground tunnel system or by making nests in logs or bushes. Their tunnel systems can be 10 to 30 feet long.

Though you may see chipmunks around each other, they are not social animals. They like to keep to themselves and 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. A single chipmunk can gather up to 165 acorns in a day.

As with other rodents, chipmunks have live births after carrying their young for a gestation period of around 30 days. 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. Their young are called pups. A group of pups born to the same mother, at the same time, is called a litter.


Chipmunks hibernate, but they don't store fat to see them through long winters as bears do. During the warm months, chipmunks stuff extra food into their cheek pouches, which can stretch to be three times larger than the chipmunk's head. When they have a full load, they carry the food to their home and store it. During the winter, they eat from their food cache for energy. Chipmunks are omnivores, and they aren't picky about what they eat. Part of their diet consists of vegetation such as mushrooms, berries, nuts, seeds and grains. Chipmunks also eat bird eggs and other creatures such as insects, baby birds and frogs.

During hibernation, chipmunks can seem like they are dead. A chipmunk's heart rate drops from 350 beats per minute to around four beats per minute, and its body temperature drops from 94 ºF (34.4 Celsius) to as low as 40 ºF (4.44 °C).


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