Chipmunks

Tamias minimus

Class: Mammalia

Order: Rodentia

Family: Sciuridae

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Chipmunk

Chipmunks are woodland creatures which are at home in hollow logs, tree cavities, or underground dens where they store piles of food.

Though small, chipmunks are among our most noticeable small mammals. They are very active and inquisitive. Often they are seen noisily "chipping" like birds as they scamper across a road or climb around picnic tables in search of food scraps.

Identification

General description: Chipmunks are unmistakable with their alternating dark and light strips (nine on the least, seven on the eastern), overlaid on rusty and gray body colors.

Size: Chipmunks are quite small. The least is about eight inches long and weighs one or two ounces. The eastern is ten inches long and three to four ounces.

Food

Acorns, hazelnuts, seeds, berries, insects, and snails.

Habitat and range

The eastern (gray) chipmunk lives where oak trees abound-- which includes most of Minnesota, except for the southwest. The least chipmunk is found in coniferous forests of northern Minnesota. Both have facial stripes, not found on any other mammals.

Fun facts

Chipmunks love tomato juice -- when tomatoes ripen, chipmunks will eat holes in the bottoms to get the juice.