are part of the squirrel family. Eastern chipmunks are found in Asia
and North America. There are twenty-one kinds in North America and
five kinds in Canada.
Chipmunks have light and dark stripes on their heads
and backs. They look a lot like the ground squirrels.
Chipmunks look different because they are smaller and have the five
stripes on their backs. They live from 2-3 years in the wild.
A chipmunk has lots of color on its body. The
eastern chipmunk has a deep, reddish-brown on its tail and back end.
It has black, gray, and beige stripes up its back and head. Its
belly is white and its feet are brown. It is a very pretty animal.
These chipmunks like to live in the woods or in low
shrubs. They like pine forests and rocky places, too. In the
daytime, they move around in places where there are a lot of low-growing
plants. These will protect them from their enemies. They
usually live alone and build their nests underground. Their burrows
are built with long tunnels the connect different rooms. When they
build them, they sometimes make more than one way to get out in case they
are in danger. Their enemies are hawks, weasels, coyotes, martens,
foxes, and snakes. Chipmunks are always on the look-out for enemies.
The nest is usually made of grass and shredded
leaves. The chipmunk hoards
nuts under the nest so that it's handy when he gets hungry during the
At the end of July, chipmunks start to fatten up for
the winter. They also store seeds and nuts in their burrows.
The animal has to have enough food stored to last the winter. Many
chipmunks die because they can't get enough food stored. The
chipmunk is adapting to its
climate because they can't find nuts, seeds, and berries after it snows.
When winter begins, the chipmunk goes into its burrow
to stay. They go into torpor.
Their heartbeats and breathing slow down and their body temperatures drop
really low. With their bodies slowing down so much, the chipmunk
needs less food to stay alive. These "sleep" times might
last a few days, a week, or more. Chipmunks are able to wake up, eat
some stored food, and then go back to sleep.
When the weather warms up, the male chipmunk will stop
hibernating first. February to April and June to August are the
mating seasons. A female is pregnant
for one month and then gives birth to a litter
of 4-5 babies. In 6-8 weeks, the babies leave their mothers.
Back to Hibernation