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Chipmunks of the Rocky Mountains
Least Chipmunk - Rocky Mountains - Estes Park,  Colorado


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Chipmunks * Tamias minimus* These very playful little critters are a part of the squirrel family. Most every camper or person that has ventured into the forest has seen these fun little mammals. While some can remain quite shy, most are extremely curious and might come right up to you. Chipmunks look similar to other squirrels such as the Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel, but you can always tell a Chipmunk by the stripes on their faces passing through the eye area.

Chipmunks dig underground burrows. They often conceal the entrances beneath stone walls, fallen logs or trees. Chipmunks are often found near the ground but don't overlook the trees because they are excellent climbers as well.

Food for the winter is stored in the burrow. Chipmunks eat a variety of nuts, seeds, berries, and insects. They especially like ripe acorns and seeds from pine cones. They transport their food in the expandable pouches of their cheeks. They will first bite off any sharp points of nuts so they do not poke their cheek pouches.

The typical life span of the male Chipmunk is 5-6 years while the females can live for 9 years.

In the northern regions, the chipmunk will go underground as the weather gets colder, about the end of October. The Chipmunk will sleep deeply only during the coldest periods.

Chipmunk mothers may have on average, four to five babies in the spring. May is the typical spring birth month. In the warmer climates, chipmunks may have up to two litters each year. Their babies eyes open in about 4 weeks and by the time they are seven weeks old they are able to go out of the nest to learn how to survive from their mother. By fall, they are ready to be out on their own.

Cute little Chipmunks are favorite for forest visitors to attempt to feed, however, you are not doing them any favors by giving them human food. They can become dependent on well-intended handouts and may not learn how to find and store their natural food and therefore may not make it through the cold winter months. Pretzels, crackers, peanuts, cereal and other human foods will not store for the winter months. They could become moldy or spoiled and in turn spoil the rest of the Chipmunks food cache. Therefore it is best to Not Feed Wildlife.

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Chipmunk  - Rocky Mountains - Estes Park,  Colorado


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