Chipmunks are small Ground Squirrels. (Prairie Dogs, by the way, are large Ground Squirrels.) Ground Squirrels, as the name implies, spend the bulk of their time on the ground. Chipmunks are however, quite capable of climbing, and do climb.
Omnivores, the Chipmunk eats a variety of foods, including seeds, nuts, fruits, buds, grass, shoots, fungi, insects, worms, and bird eggs.
Most chipmunks dig burrows in the ground with an area for sleeping, nesting and storing food. The burrow is accessed by one or more tunnels. Some chipmunks live in logs, bushes or bird nests.
Not true hibernators, Chipmunks go into a state of torpor. To prepare for winter, Chipmunks don't store fat in their bodies, they store food. They gather the food, carry it in their cheeks, then place it in their nest to be eaten later.
Chipmunks are solitary and pretty much ignore each other until Spring when they mate. The pair typically has one litter of 2-8 pups. The youngsters stay with mom and dad for about 2 months. Then the family separates.
Some Chipmunk Facts
- approximately 25 species
- average life span: 2-3 years
- size: body 4-7 inches, tail 3-5 inches
- weight: 1-5 ounces
- gestation: 30 days
- predators: hawks, cats, foxes, snakes, weasels, coyotes
- range: all over the world, in forests, deserts, rocky areas, grassy areas