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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