September 12, 2012
Eastern chipmunks live in shallow burrows in the ground. They are partial to areas near rocky crevices, decayed tree trunks, and fence corners. They do not like dense forests where no sunlight reaches the ground. Burrows are made by digging and carrying away the dirt in their pouched mouths. Unlike prairie dogs and other sciurids, eastern chipmunks do not leave the dirt in mounds near the entrances of their burrows. This makes it harder for predators to find chipmunks in their homes. These burrows can be up to 30 ft. in length with several different exits and tunnels. Eastern chipmunks conceal the exits with leaves and rocks. They may inhabit these burrows for several years.
Eastern chipmunks are larger than most chipmunks. They are reddish brown in color with 5 black stripes on their backs. These stripes are separated by brown, white, or grey fur stripes. They also have white and dark markings around their eyes. The stomach is usually a yellowish brown or white color. Their tails are reddish brown and furry, but not bushy like common squirrels. Like many rodents, Tamias striatus has 4 toes on the front feet and 5 toes on the rear feet.
…Eastern chipmunks have excellent vision, hearing, and sense of smell. They communicate with each other by making a variety of sounds, including the ‘chip’ for which they are named.
Tamias striatus eats a wide variety of foods including nuts, acorns, seeds, mushrooms, fruits, berries, and corn. They also eat insects, bird eggs, and sometimes small vertebrates such as young mice.
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