Eastern Chipmunk

Tamias striatus

Copyright 2003, Charles Stephen

The Eastern Chipmunk is a small ground squirrel. It has reddish-brown fur with a white belly and a white stripe, bordered by two black stripes, on each side.

Eastern Chipmunks grow up to eleven inches long.

This animal lives in open woods, forest edges, and brushy areas. They dig burrows up to ten feet long. Usually the main burrow has enlarged cavities for storing food. Inside the burrow, chipmunks will build a nest with leaves. The entrance to the burrow is a hole about two inches wide.

Eastern Chipmunks breed in early Spring. They only have one litter of three to five babies.

Copyright, University of Kansas Natural History Museum

Copyright, Barbara Simpson

Eastern Chipmunks eat a wide variety of foods, especially acorns and nuts. Other foods they eat include: seeds, some plants, fruits, berries, slugs, snails, insects, baby birds, bird eggs, salamanders, small snakes, young mice, mushrooms, and carrion.

Favorite nuts and seeds are from such plants as oaks, maples, American Beech, Sweetgum, Black Cherry, Flowering Dogwood, hickories, strawberries, buttercup, and weedy plants.

Eastern Chipmunks store large amounts of food (nuts and seeds) in their burrows. This is called a cache. Food caches are supposed to get the chipmunks through the Winter. Chipmunks will spend much of their time running back and forth from trees to their burrows building their caches.

These squirrels collect most of their food from the ground, but they will climb oak trees for acorns and shrubs for fruit.

Eastern Chipmunks hibernate, starting in late Fall, but they wake every two weeks or so to eat from their cache.

Chipmunks communicate with each other with chatter. They can also be heard chewing on nuts quite loudly.

Predators of Eastern Chipmunks include hawks, owls, Red Fox, Raccoon, and house cats.

Eastern Chipmunks help many plants and fungi by spreading seeds and spores. When a chipmunk eats fruit from a plant, it will often poop out the seeds somewhere else and a new plant can grow. It does the same thing when it eats a mushroom and leaves spores in a new place.

Additional Media

Description
Type
Credit
Eastern Chipmunk Chewing
Video
Unknown
Download Quicktime if you are unable to play video.

Relationships in Nature:

PREY/FOOD
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

Black Oak

Red-tailed Hawk

Switchgrass

Black Oak D

White Oak

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Smooth Sumac

White Oak D

Red Maple

Barred Owl

Highbush Blueberry

Red Maple D

American Beech

Red Fox

Poison Ivy

American Beech D

Sweetgum

Raccoon

Virginia Creeper

Sweetgum D

Flowering Dogwood

Great Horned Owl

Bracken Fern

Flowering Dogwood D

Meadow Mushroom

Eastern Hognose Snake

Spicebush

Silver Maple D

Leopard Slug

Witch Hazel

Black Cherry D

Mourning Dove

Cinnamon Fern

Mockernut Hickory D

Black Cherry

Evergreen Blackberry

English Plantain D

Mockernut Hickory

Japanese Honeysuckle

Meadow Mushroom D

Red-backed Salamander

Green Hawthorn

Honey Mushroom D

Northern Ringneck Snake

Common Ragweed

Evergreen Blackberry D

Witch Hazel

Climbing Bittersweet

Willow Oak D

Silver Maple

Lamb's Quarters D

Meadow Vole

Soil Mite C

Spring Peeper

Painted Lady

Loblolly Pine

English Plantain

Relationship to Humans:

Eastern Chipmunks help people by controlling insect populations. They can be a nuisance to farmers who grow corn, only when there are many chipmunks nearby.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Chordate
CLASS
Mammal
ORDER
Rodentia
FAMILY
Sciuridae
GENUS
Tamias
SPECIES
Tamias striatus

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