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Chipmunks are small rodents related to squirrels. Desert inhabitants tend to be paler than forest ones, and individuals living in sun dappled forests tend to have well defined stripes. Color varies: in drier regions, muted yellowish gray with dark tan stripes; in moister areas, brownish gray with black side stripes. There are 21 species of chipmunk in North America.

Natural History

Chipmunks live in a variety of habitats including: pastures, piney woods, rocky cliffs, and sagebrush deserts; often abundant in open coniferous forests. Chipmunks are quite vocal. People walking in the woods do not always realize that they are hearing chipmunks, since some of the cries that chipmunks make sound like bird chirps.

Don't feed the wildlife or it may turn into a little moocher like this one.

Most chipmunk live in burrows and gather food on the ground, generally in areas where there are enough rocks, bushes, fallen logs, and piles of brush to shelter them from predators as they scamper about. Acorns, seeds, fruits, berries, and grasses are its main foods, but it also eats fungi, invertebrates, and (rarely) small vertebrates. It uses large cheek pouches to carry food back to its nest. Most chipmunks construct tunnels and chambers in the ground that have entrances that are well hidden under rocks or tangled bushes. Chipmunks mate in the spring and have a gestation period of about 31 days. They give birth to a litter of 2-7 (usually 5 or 6) young in May. A second litter sometimes follows. The young remain with the mother for several months until they are old enough to survive on their own. Chipmunks are preyed upon by a number of other animals including hawks, weasels, coyotes, foxes, and snakes.

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