Backyard Wildlife – Chimpmunk

Posted on April 7, 2011  Comments (0)

photo of a chipmunk

I have enjoyed seeing chipmunks run around my yard for several years, but getting a photo of them is not easy. They are quite fast and don’t sit around for long. Occasionally they will seem to bask in the sun while they are eating a seed but then they are always quite far away. This is the best image I have been able to get.

Chipmunks have an omnivorous diet consisting of grain, nuts, fruit, berries, birds’ eggs, small frogs, fungi, worms, insects and on occasions small mammals like young mice. At the beginning of autumn, many species of chipmunk begin to stockpile these goods in their burrows, for winter. Other species make multiple small caches of food. These two kinds of behavior are called larder hoarding and scatter hoarding. Larder hoarders usually live in their nests until spring. Cheek pouches allow chipmunks to carry multiple food items to their burrows for either storage or consumption.

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Eastern chipmunks defend their burrows and live solitary lives, except during mating. Females produce 1 or 2 litters of 4 to 5 young. They have two breeding seasons. One goes from February to April, the other June to August. The expected lifespan of Tamias striatus in the wild is perhaps a year; in captivity it may live eight years. On average they live 2–3 years.

To hide their burrow, eastern chipmunks will carry the dirt they excavate to a different location in their cheek pouches. Since they are an easy prey species, they have to hide their burrows. They also line their burrows with leaves, rocks, sticks, and other material, making them even harder to see.

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