Eastern Chipmunk

Common Name - Eastern Chipmunk

Category - Mammals

ScientificName - Tamias striatus

Kingdom - Animalia

Phylum - Chordata

Class - Mammalia

Order - Rodentia

Family - Sciuridae

Genus - Tamias

Species -striatus


Description - small ground squirrel; brownish red above and white underneath; stripes on head, sides and back; two white stripes bordered by black on sides and one dark stripe down back; stripes on back do not go past rump; large cheek pouches; white face strip above and below eye; small ears; furry tail; 20 teeth

Size - 5 – 6.5 in. (12.7 – 16.51 cm) head and body length; 3 – 4.5 in. (7.62 – 11.43 cm) tail; 2 – 5 oz. (56.7 – 141.7 g) weight

Ecological Role - The chipmunk is an omnivore, feeding on both plant and animal material. It is also important as a seed disperser. That is, it eats seeds in one area and deposits them with their waste in another area. The long-tailed weasel is a predator in the wild, but house cats prey upon chipmunks in urban areas. Hawks, red foxes, raccoons, and bobcats also prey upon the chipmunk.

Fun Facts - The chipmunk’s scientific name is a description of the animal’s appearance and behavior. Tamias is Greek for “a storer” and striatus is Latin for “striped.”

The chipmunk uses its cheek pouches to transport food to underground burrows or carry soil out. Chipmunks feed at a raised spot such as on a stump, log, or rock. They run with their bushy tail straight in the air. Chipmunks are active during the day, or diurnal.

Food - Seeds and fruit of as basswood, elm, maple, Virginia creeper, wild cherry; berries, such as blackberry, elderberry, raspberry; nuts, such as acorns, hickory, beech; cultivated crops such as corn, oat, wheat; insects, such as beetle, cicada, grasshopper, katydid; small amphibians, small birds, and bird eggs

Cover - Burrows in ground; burrows may be up to 12 ft. (365.8 cm) long and include separate rooms for storage, sleeping, and waste; burrows usually have more than one entrance hidden among leaves or grass; nest chamber approximately 10 in. (304.8 cm) in diameter


Breeding - Usually breed twice per year; once in early spring (March – April) and again in summer (July – August); some years only one litter is produced


Habitat - Woodlands, brushy areas, gardens and backyards, rock or brush piles

Kentucky Distribution - Statewide

Life Cycle

Life Span

Life Stage


Seasonal Changes - The chipmunk stores food underground in the fall in preparation for winter. It spends less time above ground as the temperature drops. It hibernates in winter, occasionally waking to feed on food stored inside their den.

Chipmunks molt two times a year in late spring or early summer and again in late fall or early winter.


Status - Locally common in preferred habitat


Voice - Low “chuck-chuck”; or high pitched “chip-chip” when alarmed

Young - 2 – 8 per litter; born in 31 days; born with eyes closed and without fur; stripes are visible in one week; eyes open at 30 days; remain in underground nest chamber for 5 – 6 weeks; independent at 8 weeks; adult size at 3 months; may live up to 3 years in the wild

What We Can Do - Keep cats inside. Cats have a natural hunting instinct and may attack chipmunks.


Diagnosis and Control

Interesting Facts

Contributed By

Website -http://campus.murraystate.edu/