Eastern Chipmunk

I love watching chipmunks…  I know that their behaviours are most likely all related to survival… but sometimes they just seem so playful.  And how can this – one of our smallest squirrels – be so loud in the woods?  When they rustle through dry leaves you would swear a much larger animal is nearby.

The first time someone told me that the fun cluck-cluck-cluck sound I heard in the woods – a sort of a cross between a chirp and a chuck – was from a chipmunk, I simply did not believe him.  But one day, I watched a little chippie making that sound.  (You can hear it by clicking here.)

Eastern Chipmunk by Me
Total Length: 9-10.5  inches
Tail Length: 2.5-4 inches
Weight: 2-4 ounces
Average Lifespan:  less than 2 years

Eastern Chipmunks (Tamius striatus) are omnivorous supplementing their diet of nuts and seeds with earthworms, slugs, insects, bird eggs, and baby birds.  Unable to lay down fat stores in the body like a true hibernator, chipmunks store dried foods in underground homes for consumption in winter.  The pouches in in a chipmunk’s cheeks can expand to the size of its head and hold hundreds of seeds.

Chipmunks enter temporary states of torpor throughout the winter, but they can be seen on mild winter days foraging for food in the woods or at your birdfeeder.

Here’s a good link, geared at kids:
http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/cgkids/animal/2007_07.asp

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8 thoughts on “Eastern Chipmunk

  1. They sure do sound like birds 🙂 It’s been a while since I’ve seen a chipmunk. I think it’s time for a hike in the woods… well, maybe I’ll wait for the snow to melt.

  2. Really cute photo! Two of our ‘munks appeared at our bird feeding area about a week ago for the first time since early December. Guess it was time to stock up on sunflower seeds again.

  3. Aren’t they the sweetest things? Thanks for the link. I work with children giving nature programs for the local little museum of natural history and I appreciate your blog very much.

  4. I had a couple of chipmunks visiting the birdfeeders on my deck last summer…..drove my cat and dog nuts from inside the house. They are so much fun to watch even though they’re quite naughty sometimes.
    It took me a long time to figure out that I was hearing a chipmunk and not a turkey clucking in the woods.

  5. I loved when we had these guys in our yard, but our cat has seemed to have scared them away. She’s never caught one, but they must have figured that the pickings were easier elsewhere. I have to admit, it was nice to have them jump up on to the chair opposite us and give us the what-for when there wasn’t enough food out!

    Don't talk with Your Mouth Full

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