Wild Profile: Meet the chipmunk

Published: July 2, 2019

By RT Images/Shutterstock

They might be the most-photographed of all cottage country critters—and least based on the entrants to our annual photo contest. And it’s no wonder: by summer, forests, campgrounds, and cottage docks are crawling with spunky, speedy, and bold little chipmunks born earlier in the spring.

Chipmunks are largely solitary. Mothers kick their offspring out of the den by four to seven weeks, and baby chippies are left to fend for themselves against a mass of predators. Who eats chipmunks? Almost everybody, including birds, snakes, weasels, wild and domestic cats, and sometimes, red squirrels. Gah!

Chatty (for rodents), chipmunks use different types of alarm calls depending on the predator that they’re facing: a high-pitched “chip, chip, chip” for a mammal—it sounds like birdsong—and a lower-pitched “chuck” sound when they see an owl, hawk, or other flying predator.

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