Virginia.gov

common eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus striatus)

Distribution Map

Distribution Map

Characteristics

This is a small, moderately heavy-set sciurid with prominent longitudinal stripes. There is a median black stripe with wide gray stripes on each side and more stripes outside these, from between ears to the rump. The face, rump, sides and feet are russet red. They have prominent eyes, and facial stripes that distinguish it from most mammals in the range. The total length of the chipmunk is from 8-10 inches and the weight is from 2.3-4.5 ounces. There are 1 to 2 litters born per year of 1-8 young each. The Virginia hibernation period is approximately mid-November to early February. Most are relatively sedentary and retain burrows/range for a long time or for life. They are strictly diurnal, with mid-morning and mid-afternoon activity peaks. The underground nest chamber may contain as much as 1/2 bushel of nest material, and stored seeds and nuts. This species lives 3 or more years in the wild.

Distribution

This species is common throughout Virginia. This species prefers open hardwood forests, brushlands, outbuildings and rubbish heaps. They use rocky ground, logs and stone walls.

Foods

This species stores food in a burrow (larder-hoarding) to eat while underground during the winter. They eat fruits, nuts, berries, seeds, mushrooms, insect larvae, and occasionally bird eggs, or nestlings, amphibians, and small mammals.

More Information

For more information, please visit the Virginia Fish & Wildlife Information Service (direct link to species booklet).