Highest Explore Position #257 ~ On August Thirteenth 2008.
Chipmunk - Wingham Wildlife Park, Kent, England - Sunday August 10th
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Eastern American chipmunks are found in forests, but also in suburban gardens and city parks, as long as there are rocks, stumps, or fallen logs to provide perching sites and cover for burrow entrances. They dig complex burrows with many entrances and chambers as well as short escape tunnels, and each chipmunk defends a small area around its burrow, threatening, chasing, and even fighting with a neighbor who invades the space. The chipmunks spend the winter underground, but venture to the surface occasionally on mild, sunny days. They enter torpor for a few days at a time, and then arouse to feed on stored nuts and seeds. Life expectancy in the wild is slightly more than a year.
You can tell the chipmunk from any other mammal by the two white and three dark racing stripes across the eyes on both sides of this small mammal's face. Look for a small sprightly ground squirrel about the size of an orange, with a small stocky and muscular body, a white underbelly and a furry tail. Chipmunks are fun to watch because they are always busily looking around, searching for food, or carrying food in their large cheek pouches to store somewhere for later. Look for this rodent's tell-tail scurrying - quick as a flash - low to the ground with their tail up and flickering like a flag. Don't confuse the chipmunk with the 13-lined ground squirrel. They are always alert and ready to take action from predators like hawks, owls, weasels, mink, red fox, cats and people.
Sometimes called "chipppie" or "chipping squirrel" because of its calls that are easy to recognize - listen for a low "chuck-chuck-chuck" or a higher pitched "chit-chit-chit-chit" when it is in danger or you are nearby.
In the winter, chipmunks partially hibernate, sometimes sleeping for weeks in November, but they also wake to eat or go leave the burrow and go outside.
Chipmunks often leave behind leftover piles of fruit pulp and pieces of shell from nuts they ate from nearby trees.
This "big chipmunk" has a 5 ½-6 ½ inch body with a tail of 4 1/2 inches. It is larger than the Least chipmunk. The fur is a rusty brown color on the back and sides, with a white underbelly and necklace. The stripes on this chipmunk's sides and back stop at the rump. You'll find this critter living anywhere in Wisconsin with forests, brushy areas, and gardens. It likes rock piles & fences, and building foundations.
The eastern chipmunk lives in open hardwood forests, brushy or rocky areas, and yards. It eats mostly seeds, fruits and nuts of woody plants (acorns from oaks, samaras from maples, and a variety of berries). Sometimes it will eat insects like cicadas and grasshoppers, bird eggs, snails, small snakes, and garden bulbs.
When not scurrying around, it lives in underground burrows that may be short and simple, or very complex with many rooms for storage, sleeping, a dump, a latrine, and many hidden entrances. Some burrows even have a pantry that can store up to one half of a bushel of nuts and other food that can be carried in its cheeks! Have you ever heard the term "chipmunk cheeks?"
The females give birth to their litter of young midsummer, with four or five young. The babies are born hairless, blind and helpless.
Sexual Dimorphism: None
Length: Average: 255 mm ~ Range: 215-285 mm
Weight: Average: 130 g ~ Range: 80-150 g