Natural Histories

photograph of a Sunda Pangolin

Eastern Chipmunk

Tamias striatus


These small rodents have pouched cheeks, used to store food.  When filled the pouches can become as large as an entire chipmunk’s head. Eastern chipmunks are reddish brown in color with 5 black stripes on their backs separated by brown, white or gray stripes.  They are larger than most chipmunks


The eastern chipmunk inhabits most of the eastern North America. They make shallow burrows in the ground, by carrying dirt in pouches in their mouths. They do not leave dirt mounds near the entrance of their burrows. Burrows can be 30 feet long. They prefer locations near rocky crevices, decayed tree trunks, and fence corners. They don’t tend to like dense forests with limited sunlight.

Feeding Behavior and Diet

Eastern chipmunks eat a wide variety of foods such as nuts, acorns, seeds, mushrooms, fruits, berries, and corn. They also eat insects and bird eggs and sometimes small vertebrates.


Eastern chipmunks have two breeding seasons, one in February-April and another in June-August. A litter of 4-5 young are born 31 days after mating. Chipmunks in the wild only live one year on average, half of all chipmunks any given year were born that season.

Months and Times of Activity

Eastern chipmunks do not hibernate continuously throughout winter. They wake up periodically during winter months to snack on nuts and seeds they have stored in their burrow.

Special Features, Stories, Relationshipso  

  •  Eastern chipmunks communicate with each other by making ‘chip’ sounds, this is how they got their name.
  •  Children’s Book: Squirrel seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris


Kroll, M. 2013. "Tamias striatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed November 04, 2014 at