Several dozen species of these native animals occur in North America, with the genus Eutamias the predominate western group and Tamias the major eastern group.
Chipmunks tend to prefer rugged ground covered with rocks and brush, but also live near agricultural lands where they damage planted seeds and young plants. Fruit trees also may suffer damage from their feeding, and they also consume nuts, insects, mushrooms, and bird eggs. Food is carried in cheek pouches and stores are placed in the burrow for consumption later, including during the winter when the animal awakens from its hibernation on regular intervals to feed and then return to sleep. Burrows are normally underground, but some species also create nests in trees, which they use part of the day. Adults are capable of living for up to 8 years, but in nature a maximum of 3 to 4 years is normal. Mating is in mid spring, and a single litter per year is normal, with 4 to 8 young per litter.
Chipmunks are easily distinguished from similar ground squirrels by the presence of stripes on the sides of their head, running from their nose to the ear. They also have alternating dark and light stripes running along their back, from head to tail. Their tails are shorter than their body length, and their overall length is only about 9 inches. Their movements are a very jerky, quick, stop and go activity.
Characteristicts Important to Control:
Normally not a major pest problem, but where they occur they may be controlled with trapping or baiting.