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How Big Are Chipmunks? (Size By Species)

How Big Are Chipmunks? (Size By Species)

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Chipmunks are fascinating creatures that captivate our attention with their unique characteristics and behavior.

These small, ground-dwelling rodents are known for their striped fur, bushy tails, and burrowing habits.

They have also gained popularity among nature enthusiasts and animal lovers wanting to learn about these charming creatures.

If you’re one of these curious fellows, you might have wondered, how big is a chipmunk?

In this article, we’ll explore their size and characteristics. We’ll also share some fun facts that you might want to know.

An Overview of Chipmunk’s Body Structure

A chipmunk has a compact yet stocky body with a rounded head that houses its sharp eyes and whiskers. It also has short, sturdy limbs that are well-adapted for digging and climbing.

The front limbs of a chipmunk have sharp claws that allow them to excavate burrows with ease. On the other hand, the hind limbs are longer and stronger, which allows them to jump and climb trees with agility.

One of the features of a chipmunk is its long, bushy tail. It serves multiple purposes, including providing balance during quick movements.

Chipmunks have fur-covered seats usually marked with alternating light and dark stripes, adding to their charm and unique appearance.

These cute creatures are relatively small in size compared to other rodents and small mammals. However, their body structure and adaptations make them highly efficient in their natural habitat.

Size Variations Among Chipmunk Species

So, how big can a chipmunk get? On average, chipmunks measure about 5.5 to 7.5 inches in length, with an additional 3.5 to 5 inches for their tail.

Their size can vary depending on the species, with some larger species reaching up to 10 inches in length.

Here are some of the different kinds of chipmunks:

1 – Least Chipmunk

The least chipmunk is the smallest among the species. They usually measure about 7 to 10 inches in length, with an additional 3 to 4 inches long for their tail.

This chipmunk is widely distributed in North America, inhabiting diverse habitats such as forests, grasslands, and mountainous regions.

Interestingly, this chipmunk undergoes molting twice a year, during which it regrows its soft and dense fur.

The fur of the least chipmunk appears brighter during the summer months and turns grayish in winter. On average, their lifespan ranges from 2 to 6 years.

2 – Siberian Chipmunk

This chipmunk is native to northern Asia, ranging from central Russia to China, Korea, and Hokkaido in northern Japan.

In the 1960s, it was introduced to Europe as a pet after being imported from South Korea. Its coat is characterized by a yellow to brown coloration, with the chest and belly showcasing white fur.

Siberian Chipmunks typically measure around 8 to 11 inches, with a tail ranging from 3 to 5 inches. They have an average lifespan of 2 to 10 years.

3 – Eastern Chipmunk

The Eastern chipmunk inhabits a wide range in Canada, from Nova Scotia to southeastern Saskatchewan.

In the USA, they’re found in the eastern parts of the country, extending south to Oklahoma and as far northwest as Florida.

These mainly terrestrial animals are easily identified by five dark stripes running along their back. It extends from shoulders to rump, alternating with four lighter-colored stripes.

Eastern chipmunks are solitary and diurnal creatures, with increased activity typically observed mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

On average, Eastern chipmunks measure around 9 to 11 inches, with a tail ranging from 3 to 5 inches. They have a lifespan that can vary from 2 to 8 years.

4 – Yellow-Pine Chipmunk

With fur color that is a mix of dark and reddish tones, yellow-pine chipmunks exhibit five dark stripes separated by four lighter stripes.

The outer pair of pale lines are usually creamy white and narrower, while the more central pair appears gray or smoke gray.

These solitary creatures are known for being active from sunrise until sunset and tend to return to their burrows during the middle of the day.

In terms of size, yellow-pine chipmunks measure 9 to 12 inches, with a tail ranging from 4 to 6 inches. On average, these chipmunks have a lifespan of about 3 to 5 years.

5 – Uinta Chipmunk

These medium-sized chipmunks found in some regions can be quite difficult to tell from other chipmunk species in the area.

Uinta chipmunk typically measures around 10 to 12 inches in length, with a tail ranging from 4 to 6 inches.

During the summer months, their fur coloration is usually yellowish-brown-gray to dark brown with distinct bands. In winter, their coat appears duller and more grayish with less prominent bands.

Uintas are known to have relatively small home ranges, averaging around 2 to 5 hectares, which they fiercely defend against conspecifics. Their average lifespan is around 2 years.

6 – Hopi Chipmunk

Hopi chipmunks are native to the southwestern United States, specifically Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. They’re typically 8 to 10 inches long, with a tail measuring 3 to 5 inches.

These chipmunks are most active in the morning and afternoon, particularly during summer when trying to avoid the midday heat.

They often climb into shrubs to gather seeds, but instead of eating on the spot, they carry the food back to the safety of their den. The average lifespan of Hopi chipmunks is around 3-8 years.

7 – Townsend Chipmunk

Named after John Kirk Townsend, an early 19th-century ornithologist, these small rodents are called Townsend’s chipmunks. They display a brown coloration with dark tawny stripes.

These chipmunks are known for their solitary and territorial nature. They measure about 8.7 to 15 inches in size and have a tail of 3 to 5 inches. They can live from 2 to 7 years.

Fun Chipmunk Facts

Here are some fascinating trivia about chipmunks:

How Much Do Chipmunks Weigh?

Chipmunks could weigh as little as 1.1 ounces, with the heaviest species weighing up to 5.3 ounces.

What Is the Diet of a Chipmunk?

Chipmunks are omnivorous. They feed on a diet that typically includes seeds, nuts, fruits, and insects. Occasionally, they may eat small vertebrates.

How Do Chipmunks Communicate?

Chipmunks communicate through vocalizations, body language, and scent markings. These involve vocal calls, tail flicking, and scent marking with urine and cheek pouch secretions.

Final Thoughts

Chipmunks are adorable creatures with a unique set of characteristics. On average, chipmunks measure about 5.5 to 7.5 inches and have a tail that measures 3.5 to 5 inches. However, some larger species, such as the Uinta chipmunk, can reach up to 10 to 12 inches in length.


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Marilyn Walker

Tuesday 7th of May 2024

Need a advice how to care directly young chipmunk