Hello everyone! Today I have something a little different to share. That will be, some information about these little chipmunks I keep talking about on my blog. Most of you have never seen a chipmunk, mainly because they don’t live where you live. They are a beautiful, friendly and cheery little animal. They have large black eyes, bushy tails that are 3 to 5 inches (7.5 – 12.5 cm) long, and black, white and brown striped backs. There are 25 species of these cute little animals and all but one live in North America. Only the Siberian chipmunk lives elsewhere and that is central Russia, northern China and even northern Japan. Plus it has now spread through much of Europe due to people having them as pets back in the 1960s. But they are still not plentiful in Europe.
Chipmunks are the smallest members of the squirrel family. Depending on species they can range in size from 4 to 11 inches (10-27.5cm) long. The ones around here are generally around 5 inches (12.5cm), not including the tail which can be another 4 or 5 inches (10-12.5cm) long. Chipmunks can live in many different habitats from forest to desert to suburban neighborhoods. They seem to love living near people and can be become quite tame quickly.
They seem to need 15 hours of sleep/day which leaves them only about 9 hours to forage around looking for food to eat and store for the next winter. In this climate they begin storing food for winter once they are active in the spring. They are very energetic animals, they don’t sit still for very long. In warmer areas they will live in old logs, bushes or in piles of rocks. In colder areas like this they build burrows underground. These can be quite large, going as deep as 6 feet (nearly 2 meters) with tunnels reaching 30 feet (up to 10 meters) in length. There are also separate rooms for food storage, sleeping area (which is kept very clean and lined with whatever soft material it kind find), a garbage room and even a bathroom.
Baby chipmunks are born blind and hairless and are about the size of a jelly bean. There is usually four in a litter. They are normally born in early summer, here from late May to mid June After 6 weeks the young are on their own, making their own burrow and collecting food for the winter. In warmer areas they will sometimes have two litters per summer.
They are not fussy eaters, they love berries, seeds of all kinds, nuts, peanuts, mushrooms and insects. They have huge check pouches to carry their food and these pouches can expand to 3 times the size of their head. They partly hibernate in winter, but because they don’t put on fat like some animals, they need to keep waking up during the winter to eat. So it’s not really considered true hibernation but rather torpor. In this area the chipmunks begin this torpor by late September or early October.
So there you have a quick guide to chipmunks, my amazing little friends. Many of you have asked about chipmunks so hope this helps. Oh, they also have a short life span of 3 to 4 years. Well, that’s it, enjoy the info and the pictures of these cute little chipmunks. I hope you all enjoy your weekend and God bless!
Steve and Muffin.
© 2019 Steve McLeod.