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Northwoods Wisconsin Chipmunks

Updated on September 11, 2014

My Little Backyard Chipmunk Friend

The northwoods Wisconsin chipmunks are abundant and coexists peacefully with man. This wild little guy will become fairly tame, if you have patients, and lots of sunflower seeds. They will eat from your hand sometimes, but more often from food placed near you on the ground or a feeder.

Did you know that Wisconsin has two different chipmunks? Eastern and Least Chipmunk

You can tell the chipmunk from any other small mammals by the two white and three dark racing stripes across the eyes on both sides of the face.

They have a white underbelly and a little furry tail.

Chipmunks are lots of fun to watch because they are always busily looking around, scampering from place to place searching for food, or carrying food in their large cheek pouches to store somewhere for later.


Chipmunks store large sums of food for the winter

The chipmunk prefers seeds, nuts, and acorns, as well as fruits or berries, but it also eats slugs, insects, spiders, nestling birds, eggs, and other things. One of their favorite spots to collect food is under my bird feeders collecting sunflower seeds the birds drop.

Chipmunks collect most of their food from the forest floor but will harvest nuts, berries and seeds from trees if there is a need.

The majority of the food they collect is stored in their burrows for the winter. I have seen them bury items also. In winter chipmunks use their keen sense of smell to find these supplies.

They can be a little pesky when they dig up your freshly planted flower bulbs in the Spring.


Lives in a burrow

The Eastern chipmunk lives throughout the Eastern parts of Canada and the United States. It is most common in woodland and scrub. The chipmunk is not shy and frequently makes its home near human dwellings. They love the rock landscape walls around our live in during the winter.

For most of the year the chipmunk lives alone, establishing and defending a territory surrounding its nest burrow. The size of a chipmunk's territory depends on the availability of food.

Even though it is a good climber, the chipmunk spends little time above ground. It forages on the ground, and makes its nest underground, beneath rocks, fallen logs, or even sheds.

The chipmunk continues digging its nest burrow all its life. The burrow tunnels can extend for 30 feet and contain several chambers and exits. The chipmunk also digs simpler burrows for emergency exits and food storage.

In the winter, chipmunks partially hibernate, sometimes sleeping for weeks.


Little Critters Appear Here Ever Spring

Chipmunks usually have two seasons for breeding which is normally between February and April, then again June to August.

During these periods the female chipmunk will be ready to mate for 3-10 days and gives a series of calls known as chips. Male chipmunks gather in the female's territory to compete to mate with her.

Chipmunks do not establish pair bonds, and after mating the male leaves the female to bear and rear the young on her own.

After the 31-day pregnancy, she bears a litter of normally four or five babies in her burrow. She nurses the young for about a month before she takes them on there first foraging trips. At 6-8 weeks of age the offspring are ready to leave the nest on their own. Eastern chipmunks are fully grown after around 3 months; and are not usually sexually mature until the following year.

Chipmunk Callings

Sometimes called "chipppie" or "chipping squirrel" because of its calls that are easy to recognize - listen for a low "chuck-chuck-chuck" or a higher pitched "chit-chit-chit-chit" when it is in danger or you are nearby.

Facts About Chipmunks

Chipmunk Trivia

1. As near as I can tell there are 22 different types of chipmunks in the world?

2. Lifespan: 2-3 years in the wild; 5-8 years in captivity of Wisconsin types.

3 The Eastern chipmunk has two fewer grinding teeth than other chipmunks.

4. A chipmunk can carry nine large nuts at a time: four in each cheek pouch and one in its teeth. .

5. Cheek pouches can stretch almost to the same size as their heads to carry food.

6..The chipmunk stores only hard food that does not mold, such as nuts and cone

7. A chipmunk may store up to 8 pounds of food in its burrows for the winter.

Chipmunk Distruction

They are often referred to as "PEST" but I find them to be very entertaining. The only destruction I have ever noted was an occasional flower bulb was dug up. They have been known to take a bite out of your garden plants also.

They spend time in my underground drain system when they fear danger near them. So far have not burrowed there for the winters.

Chippie reports go here

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    • SBPI Inc profile image

      SBPI Inc 4 years ago

      That is just way too cute. Great lens. Beautiful little animal.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      They are super-cute, but I'm hearing reports of damage by chipmunks to retaining walls and undermining patios or steps with their tunneling. It gets to be a problem if they come inside the walls of a house for wintering.

    • Riverman57 profile image

      Larry 7 years ago from Hayward, Wisconsin

      @anonymous: I have about six of them around all the time. Spoil them with their own feeder.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      What a cute little animal. I can spend hours watching them run around.