Spending time in a park or while on a hike, chances are you’ve heard or seen a scampering, scurrying chipmunk. If you had a chance to look closely, you’d see five dark brown stripes separated by four white or beige strips that start on the chipmunk’s face and go down the back of its body. This is our Eastern chipmunk. Eastern chipmunks actually look different than Western chipmunks, which have longer tails and spend more times in trees.
What else do chipmunks do when they are not scampering and scurrying? They can also swim, leap, and climb. They build burrows underground, with many tunnels and rooms. Chipmunks sometimes live in the same burrow for many years. At MHHM, we have a chipmunk that lives in a burrow underneath the sassafras tree in our garden and who we are always happy to see. Chipmunks stay very close to their homes, usually only traveling 160 feet from their burrows. They usually live alone, only living in groups when they are first born.
Chipmunks have a very good sense of smell which helps them find food, usually seeds, nuts, and berries. Maybe you’ve seen a chipmunk with its cheek pouches all puffed out, filled with seeds. They will also eat insects. Chipmunks also use their sense of smell to identify their brothers and sisters. You may see one chipmunk sniff another chipmunk face to face.
- Join us today at noon on Facebook Live for Storytime: Guess and Go! to learn more about chipmunks during Wild about Wildlife Month!
Listen to a Native American tale of How Chipmunk Got His Stripes written by Joseph Bruchac and James Bruchac.
Topic: Nature, Wild About Wildlife
Age / Level: Primary, Elementary