The eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus or Tamias (Tamias) striatus) is a small squirrel-like rodent found in eastern North America, the sole living member of the chipmunk genus and subgenus Tamias. They have reddish-brown fur on their upper parts with 5 dark brown stripes and contrasting light brown stripes along their backs and light underparts. They have a tawny stripe that goes from their whiskers to below their ears and light stripes over their eyes. They have a dark tail. Like other chipmunks, they transport food in pouches in their cheeks. They have 2 fewer teeth than other chipmunks and have 4 toes each in the front legs but five in the back legs.
Ten Facts about Eastern Chipmunk
- The eastern chipmunk lives throughout the eastern parts of Canada and the United States.
- It is most common in deciduous woodland and scrub, but it also inhabits coniferous forests and areas that have broken and stony ground.
- Chipmunks usually have two breeding seasons: from February to April and from June to August.
- During these periods the female chipmunk will be ready to mate for 3-10 days and gives a series of calls known as chips.
- After a 31-day pregnancy, the female bears a litter of four or five offspring in her nest burrow.
- The chipmunk is an omnivore. It prefers seeds, nuts, and acorns, as well as fruits or berries; but it also eats slugs, insects, spiders, nestling birds, eggs, and occasionally mice or small snakes.
- They attain sexual maturity at the age of 4-6 months.
- Life span: 2-3 years in the wild; 5-8 years in captivity.
- A chipmunk may store up to 8 pounds of food in its burrows.
- Many predators hunt these rodents including badgers, weasels, ferrets, hawks, owls, coyotes, foxes, bobcats and snakes.