Have you ever visited a park and noticed a chipmunk nibble on an acorn then race up a tree? During the day, chipmunks fill their cheeks with food to store in trees or their burrows.
Chipmunks are marvelous builders. They construct homes with many tunnels. Here, they store their food, including acorns, nuts, seeds, insects, and some small vertebrates.
During the fall and winter seasons, most chipmunks hibernate. In the spring season, they mate. Female chipmunks carry and birth up to eight babies at one time. Like squirrels, these babies are born blind and bare.
The Least Chipmunk, one of the 22 North American species of chipmunk, is one of the most common members of this family. Typically found in southern desert areas, these furry creatures have a yellow-gray coloring and five dark stripes, a gray-white belly, and rust-brown flanks.
Least Chipmunks sleep through the winter and, upon waking up, gorge themselves on insects and small vertebrates to regain their strength. These fur balls weigh one to three ounces and range from seven to nine inches in length.
Eastern Chipmunks are another chipmunk species that live in southern and eastern areas of North America. They are one of the largest species of chipmunk. Eastern Chipmunks hibernate too; however, they hibernate for a longer period of time—spanning fall to spring—than Least Chipmunks do.
Because they are so small and quick, it can be difficult to tell chipmunks apart. From a distance, many sub-species even appear the same. But now that you know there are many different kinds of chipmunk, try to identify a Least or an Eastern next time you head on over to the park.
[Source: The Encyclopedia of North American Animals]