Animals

Interesting Facts About Chipmunks

Here is what you may not know about chipmunks.

Chipmunks have long been portrayed as one of the most adorable creatures on the planet. However, there are so many fascinating things about this animal you may not be aware of. They love to consume nuts and are known for their burrowing habits. Don’t let their small size fool you as they are known for causing damage to homes and farms. Here are illuminating facts about chipmunks that may interest you.

Chipmunks are squirrels

Chipmunks are technically squirrels. They are part of the squirrel family, Sciuridae, and are also the smallest members.

Chipmunks are introverts

Chipmunks like to have their alone time and are not very social creatures. They build separate burrows too. However, you could spot them living in the same area where there is plenty of food and water.

Chipmunks have interesting warning calls

Chipmunks have been found to have different warning calls for different predators. Even though they like to be left alone, they make sure to alert the other chipmunks of predators in the area. What is even more interesting is that woodchucks also pay attention to these alerts. However, chipmunks more frequently hear the tunes of woodchucks’ warnings. If a predator, like snakes, raccoons, are close the chipmunk will make high-pitched sounds, which are known as “chips.” A chipmunk will make much lower-pitched sounds, known as “chucks” if an aerial predator is around.

Chipmunks’ stripes could help them survive

A 2016 study discovered that a gene that suppresses pigment is what gives the stripes on the Eastern chipmunk, as well as a four-striped grass mouse. Experts reveal roughly  70 million years ago,  mice and chipmunks split from their common ancestor. Experts believe the stripes could be due to convergent evolution, which is when different organisms evolve with similar traits. For example, both humans and koalas have fingerprints. The chipmunks and mice chosen for the study were diurnal. Some researchers theorize that stripes could help protect them from diurnal predators.

Only one chipmunk species lives outside of North America.

There are about 25 chipmunk species. 24 of them are native to North America. The Siberian chipmunk is the only one of them that lives across Russia and eastern Asia. This may be due to the fact that many people in Europe kept them as pets in the 1960s. They most likely made their way to the wild there too.

Darielle Britto

Darielle Britto has been in the world of journalism since 2014 — covering everything from breaking news to lifestyle for some of India's top publications. Currently, she focuses on all things food, fashion, travel, home, health, design and offbeat.
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