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When Do Chipmunks Sleep? (A Guide to Chipmunk Sleeping Behavior)

When Do Chipmunks Sleep? (A Guide to Chipmunk Sleeping Behavior)

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Chipmunks are busy animals. We usually see them running around, scuttling about trees and bushes, carrying all sorts of things.

Their active lifestyle makes you wonder about their daily routine and behavior. They can’t spend all their time foraging for food and running up and down trees, do they?

So, when do chipmunks sleep? Well, they sleep throughout the night like many mammals, but there’s more to it than that as well.

In this post, let’s talk about chipmunk sleeping patterns. We’ll also discuss how, when, where, and why chipmunks sleep the way they do, so keep reading!

Chipmunk Activity

Chipmunks are small furry rodents resembling squirrels. They’re primarily native to northern parts of America, except for Siberian chipmunks found in Russia, China, and Japan.

People sometimes confuse chipmunks and squirrels. And it’s only natural, given they belong to the same family, having similar appearance, diet, and behavior.

Chipmunks are primarily active during daylight hours. They typically start foraging for food early in the morning (sometimes at dawn) until late afternoon.

These critters are omnivores, meaning they eat a combination of plant material and small animals. They spend their days climbing trees to find nuts, seeds, fruits, birds, and eggs.

They also scan the ground for berries, edible plants, flower bulbs, and grains. These creatures are non-picky eaters, and their diet includes frogs, earthworms, slugs, insects, and butterflies.

After a day’s worth of food-searching and napping, chipmunks will retreat inside their dens. This daily behavior will last throughout spring and summer, except for winter, when they hibernate.

How Do Chipmunks Sleep?

People get curious about the sleeping habits of chipmunks as they’re used to seeing them moving around. So how do these critters sleep after a busy day?

One crucial piece of information about chipmunks is that they’re diurnal sleepers. It means they have a sleeping pattern similar to other mammals, such as humans and dogs.

Their sleeping preference has something to do with how their eyes evolved. The structure of their eyes allows them to perceive motion well during the daytime.

However, while their eyes are an excellent survival asset during the day, it becomes a weakness at night. Chipmunks have terrible night vision, hence their sleep schedule.

These furry creatures also follow a monophasic sleep pattern. This rest cycle means an animal prefers to sleep once a day, usually around eight hours or more, and at night.

Here’s some fun trivia: chipmunks sometimes take naps while searching for food. But we rarely see them do so because they hide under covers to avoid predators from spotting them.

How Long Do Chipmunks Sleep?

These critters are highly active during the day. So, they need considerable rest at night to recover lost energy and continue their survival habit.

Most chipmunks are heavy sleepers. And while they have small bodies, these furry animals need at least 15 hours of sleep to function properly every day.

Chipmunks have a lot of predators to watch out for, so they need enough energy to survive. Hawks, owls, raccoons, foxes, bobcats, snakes, cats, and dogs all hunt these critters.

Some of these predators, like owls, hunt at night. And they have better vision in the dark compared to chipmunks that have poor eyesight in the dark.

So, when they retreat inside their homes to sleep, chipmunks typically avoid going out until sunrise. It’s a clever survival tactic that lets them survive better in the wild.

Where Do Chipmunks Sleep?

Chipmunks are remarkably adaptive creatures. They can survive in several environments, including mountains, forests, deserts, and urban areas.

That said, these creatures sleep inside their burrows and nests. It’s a structure below ground made of long tunnels and several chambers they use for storage and sleeping.

These furry critters are incredibly picky when it comes to their sleeping beds. And they make extensive efforts to make their sleeping chambers comfortable for themselves.

They usually line their beds with soft insulating materials to keep them warm. They use grass, leaves, and thistledown, soft and warm enough for comfortable sleeping.

Chipmunks will also make food caches underneath their sleeping rooms. These food storages sustain them during cold weather, particularly in the winter when temperatures are freezing.

Do Chipmunks Sleep in the Winter?

Like most animals, chipmunks have found ways to adapt and survive in the winter. Some chipmunks, particularly in the northern region, hibernate to survive the cold weather.

However, their hibernation behavior isn’t similar to other animals, such as bears. They don’t sleep all throughout the winter and instead wake up every few days to feed.

Final Thoughts

The sleeping routine of chipmunks is similar to humans. They’re diurnals and monophasic sleepers, a common trait among animals belonging to the Sciuridae family.

Chipmunks are active during the day, from sunrise to sunset. They then sleep inside their underground dens, allowing them to avoid nocturnal predators.


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