Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus)
Eastern chipmunks are small ground-dwelling rodents, averaging 9.6 inches from nose to tail-tip. They are reddish brown, with multiple black stripes along their sides and back. They have lighter fur around their eyes and on their bellies. Chipmunks are a very vocal species; they warn one another of predators by producing a variety of alarm calls. Examples of chipmunk vocalizations can be found here.
Chipmunks inhabit woodlands all over the eastern United States. They live in nests within multi-chambered tunnel systems which they excavate themselves. Within College Woods, they are likely to be seen scurrying among the cracks in rock walls or burrowing near the roots of trees.
Eastern chipmunks are omnivorous. They mainly eat plant matter, such as seeds, nuts, and fruits. However, they will also consume worms, insects, and small eggs. Chipmunks are scatter hoarders, meaning that they create many small caches of food throughout their home range. They have special pouches in their cheeks which they use to transport food to their caches.
On average, they have two litters per year, with two to nine young in each litter. The young are weaned after 40 days and are fully independent after two months. Most chipmunks live for about two or three years.
Fun Fact: A group of chipmunks is called a “scurry.”