The Eastern Chipmunk a ground-dwelling, small, brownish squirrel that is usually five to six inches long, weighing in at about three ounces. Eastern Chipmunks are easy to spot with their pointy, striped heads. There are also five black lines with white stripes down their backs. It is common to see them sitting upright, holding their food with their front feet.
Typically, the eastern chipmunk lives in mature woodlands and woodlot edges; however, they will also make their homes in and around both rural and suburban homes. A chipmunk’s home may span up to a half-acre, but adults usually defend a small area of fifty feet around the entrance of the burrow. These animals are at their most active in the morning and late afternoon. They prefer areas with rotting logs, stone walls, and heavy ground cover. When they burrow, they excavate the soil, concealing the tunnel entrances.
Once winter rolls in, eastern chipmunks begin a long hibernation in which they are inactive from late fall through the winter months. However, they do not enter a deep hibernation, relying on a collection of food they keep in their burrow. Eastern chipmunks typically wake from hibernation in early March. They mate twice a year in early spring and in the late summer or early fall. Chipmunks birth two to five from April to May and August to October with adults living up to three years.
Eastern chipmunks are omnivores with a diet primarily containing nuts, seeds, berries, mushrooms, grains, insects, and salamanders. Chipmunks will also eat young birds and bird eggs. They carry food to their burrows in specialized cheek pouches. Chipmunks are also a valuable forest creature, moving seeds for the regeneration of trees and acting as a food source for birds and other mammals.