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Chipmunk

Chipmunks are small squirrel-like rodents that are native to North America, although one species is also found in some European countries. There are 25 different species of chipmunk living in the North American forests.Many different kinds of chipmunks live in Idaho. There is the yellow pine chipmunk, the red-tailed chipmunk, the cliff chipmunk, the lesser chipmunk, and a few more. The majority of these chipmunks are small, with stripes of either brown, black, or white down their backs.

Least Chipmunk eating
Chipmunk, © John J. Mosesso, courtesty /life.nbii.gov

 
Habitat: You will usually see chipmunks dwelling in coniferous forests (like ponderosa pine and Douglas fir forests), although they can be found in chaparral (brush). They can often be found among logs, brush and rocky outcrops, as well as brushy borders between subalpine forests and alpine tundra. They are fast-moving creatures, and they can quickly dart into their underground burrows when you approach them. 
 
Food: Chipmunks eat a wide variety of wildlife like frogs, mushrooms, birds, eggs, plants, nuts, and seeds. In the autumn, the chipmunks begin to gather their winter food stash, which they store in their burrows to last them until spring. They also play a vital role in the forest eco-system by dispersing seeds from fruits and berries into the surrounding forest. The seeds then sprout and grow new fruit and berry plants.

 

Fun Facts: Chipmunks construct extensive underground burrows which can be more than 3.5 m in length and often have several well-concealed entrances to keep the burrow a secret from unwanted predators. Within the chipmunk burrow, the chipmunk sleeping quarters are kept extremely clean as the chipmunks keep nut shells and feces stored in separate tunnels. 

Least Chipmunk
Chipmunk, courtesy of U.S. National Park Service


Environmental Education:
Wildlife Species 


 

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Herbivore Mammals

Jackrabbit
Pygmy rabbit
Desert cottontail
Beaver
Eastern gray squirrel
Red squirrel
Chipmunk
Deer mouse
Kangaroo rat
Meadow vole
Mule deer
Elk
Bighorn sheep
American pronghorn
Moose


Carnivore Mammals

Bobcat
American badger
River otter
Red fox
Long-tailed weasel
Coyote
Grizzly bear
Mountain lion


Amphibians

Salamanders

Long-toed salamander
Idaho giant salamander
Coeur d'Alene salamander

Frogs and Toads

American bullfrog
Columbia spotted frog
Western toad
Northern leopard frog
Pacific tree frog
Great Basin spadefoot

Reptiles

Snakes

Painted turtle
Northern alligator lizard
Mohave black-collared lizard
Short-horned lizard
Desert horned lizard
Sagebrush lizard
Western fence lizard
Western skink
Side-blotched lizard
Longnosed leopard lizard
Western whiptail


Bats

Western pipistrelle
Western small-footed myotis
Little brown bat
Yuma myotis
Townsend's big-eared bat
Hoary bat
Silver-haired bat
Fringed myotis
Pallid bat

Sensitive Species (not a complete list)

Greater sage-grouse
Pygmy rabbit
No. Idaho ground squirrel
So. Idaho ground squirrel
Canada lynx
Grizzly bear
Selkirk Mtns. woodland caribou
Kootenai White River sturgeon
Bull trout
Sockeye salmon
Chinook salmon
Steelhead trout
Yellow-billed cuckoo


Birds

Waterfowl
Raptors
Songbirds

Fish