Eastern Chimpunk File

Tamias striatus

Credit: Public Domain








Wild 2-3 years

Captive 8 years



Nuts, Seeds, Insects

Conservation Status


Least Concern

Readying for Winter!

The eastern chipmunk spends much of its year readying for winter when they become inactive. They will store their food in a chamber of their burrow and over winter they remain underground and only wake occasionally to eat some of their stored food.

This species is an omnivore with most of their diet made up of seeds and nuts though insects and bird eggs are occasionally consumed.

Females give birth in their burrow during spring. They can raise as many as 15 young though somewhere between 3 and 5 is more common.

These animals are highly abundant and no major threats to their survival are posed by humans.

Read on to learn more about these magnificent mammals.


What does the Eastern Chipmunk look like?

The eastern chipmunk has light brown fur across its body. This is patterned with a number of darker body stripes with a lighter stripe on either side of this. A pale stripe runs through the eye and along the edge of the ear. On the underside of the body the fur is white.

Like most chipmunks one of the notable features of the eastern chipmunk are the cheek pouches.

At the end of their body is a bushy tail which adds between 8.7 and 9.3cm (5.75-6in) to their length. Their tail can assist with balance as they move through the trees.

An average eastern chipmunk will measure 13-19cm (5.25-7.5in) long. They will weigh between 93 and 101g (3.3-3.6oz).


How does the Eastern Chipmunk survive in its habitat?

Each cheek has a small pouch the eastern chipmunk is able to use to hold on to its food. These pouches may expand to up to three times their original size when filled with food.

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What does the Eastern Chipmunk eat?

Eastern chipmunks are omnivores which will feed on nuts, seeds, berries mushrooms and fruits. They will also feed on insects, bird eggs and small mammals.

Much of their foraging takes place on the ground but this species can climb.

Learn more about the Eastern Chipmunk in this video from urbanecologycenter

on YouTube


Where do you find the Eastern Chipmunk?

North America is the native home of the eastern chipmunk. Here they live throughout the eastern United States and Canada.

In the United States they occur in the following states - Virginia, Arkansas, Minnesota, Maine, North Carolina, Vermont, South Dakota, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Mississippi, South Carolina, Indiana, Nebraska, Delaware, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Florida, West Virginia, Tennessee, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kansas, Iowa, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Missouri, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, District of Columbia, Illinois, North Dakota and New Jersey.

The population in Newfoundland stems from an introduction.


Where can the Eastern Chipmunk survive?

These animals occur in forest, shrubland, hedgerows and brushland.

Eastern chipmunks will seek shelter in a small burrow. This ends with a leaf lined chamber. They may make use of burrows abandoned by other species. Some have been seen to dig their burrow at the edge of a building. These will extend for up to a metre below the ground typically being rather shallow.

They will work to disguise the burrow entrance by scattering the soil.

Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus)

Credit: Public Domain


How does the Eastern Chipmunk produce its young?

Breeding takes place in spring. Females may mate with multiple males during their estrous period.

A female will produce anywhere from 4-15 young in each litter. Exceptionally large litters are rare with 3-5 being average. They are born after a 31 day gestation period. Females may produce two litters each year.

Young are born in the burrow below the ground. At birth their eyes are shut. These open for the first time at 30 days old. They first come above ground at six weeks old. Young go off on their own roughly two weeks after this.

Maturity is reached at a year old.


What does the Eastern Chipmunk do during its day?

This species is solitary and will rarely associate with other eastern chipmunks.

They are active during the day and seek shelter in their burrows at night. Most of their activity is focused around the early morning and evening.

Each individual has a small range around their burrow in which they will seek out food.

These animals will store food during autumn. In winter they move in to their burrow and will spend most of their time sleeping. This not a true hibernation as during the time they will regularly wake to feed on the food stored during winter. This food is deposited in a chamber within the burrow.

Their vocalization is a ''chip, chip'' sound in which they will produce. This is used to communicate with other chipmunks.

Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus)

Credit: Public Domain

Predators and Threats

What stops the Eastern Chipmunk from surviving and thriving?

Natural predators of the eastern chipmunk include mammals such as foxes and red squirrels, reptiles such as snakes and birds of prey.

These animals are believed to have a large population and no threats to their survival are recognized.

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Quick facts

This species was first described for science during 1758.

Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus)

Credit: Public Domain


Jackson, T. and Chinery, M., 2012. The illustrated encyclopedia of animals of the world. London: Southwater.

Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK

Cassola, F. 2016. Tamias striatus (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T42583A115191543. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T42583A22268905.en. Accessed on 20 April 2022.

Communications, E., 2022. Eastern Chipmunk | Adirondack Ecological Center | SUNY ESF | College of Environmental Science and Forestry. [online] Esf.edu. Available at: <https://www.esf.edu/aec/adks/mammals/chipmunk.htm> [Accessed 20 April 2022].

Cosley Zoo. 2022. Eastern Chipmunk. [online] Available at: <https://cosleyzoo.org/eastern-chipmunk/> [Accessed 20 April 2022].

Maryland Department of Natural Resources. 2022. Eastern Chipmunk. [online] Available at: <https://dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/plants_wildlife/Eastern_Chipmunk.aspx> [Accessed 20 April 2022].

Nhpbs.org. 2022. Eastern Chipmunk - Tamias striatus - NatureWorks. [online] Available at: <https://nhpbs.org/natureworks/chipmunk.htm> [Accessed 20 April 2022].

Vtfishandwildlife.com. 2022. Eastern Chipmunk | Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. [online] Available at: <https://vtfishandwildlife.com/learn-more/vermont-critters/mammals/eastern-chipmunk> [Accessed 20 April 2022].

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