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
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.
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.
typical life span of the male Chipmunk is 5-6 years while
the females can live for 9 years.
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
the Chipmunks of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado