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Home > Other Critters > Chipmunk

Eastern Chipmunk—Tamias striatus

Chipmunks are mammals and omnivores. Their diet consists primarily of grains, nuts, berries, seeds, mushrooms, insects, and salamanders; they also prey on young birds and their eggs. A valuable forest inhabitant, chipmunks move seeds around for tree regeneration, and they are an important food source for birds and other mammals. The Eastern chipmunk typically inhabits mature woodlands and woodlot edges, but they are also found in and around suburban and rural homes.

Although chipmunks do not cause serious agricultural damage, they can be a nuisance in the garden where they eat flower bulbs, fruits, seeds, and seedlings. They also may cause structural damage by digging under patios, porch stairs, walls, or foundations.

chipmunk in grass chipmunk on log chipmunk on rock
Chipmunks are 8 to 10 inches long, including the tail, and weigh between 2 and 5 ounces. They are reddish brown with a single stripe down the center of its back and a whte stripe between 2 black strips down each side of its body. Chipmunks are most active during the early morning and late afternoon. They hoard food for the winter by carrying it in special cheek pouches. Chipmunks sit upright and hold food with their front feet.

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[Photos, left to right: Alfred Viola, Northeastern University,; Paul Bolstad, University of Minnesota,; David Cappaert, Michigan State University,]

It is the policy of the State of Maine to minimize reliance on pesticides. The Maine Department of Agriculture and the Maine IPM Council encourage everyone to practice integrated pest management and to use pesticides only as a last resort. The mention of pesticides in the fact sheets linked to these pages does not imply an endorsement of any product. Be sure that any product used is currently registered and follow all label directions.