Eastern Chipmunk: Tamias striatus
Genus/Species: Tamias striatus
Common Name: Eastern chipmunk
Federal Status: Not listed
FL Status: State Species of Special Concern
FNAI Ranks: G5/S2 (Globally: Demonstrably Secure/State: Imperiled)
IUCN Status: Not ranked
The Eastern chipmunk is a small rodent in the Family Sciuridae that can reach a body length of 12 inches (29.9 centimeters). Eastern chipmunks have white and black stripes running down the back side of their body. This species is light brown between the stripes, with a white belly, and light brown stripes that are located above and under the eyes. The tail is a variety of colors with the inner part being black to brown and the edges gray and black (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001).
The diet of the Eastern chipmunk primarily consists of seeds, fruit, eggs, and birds (Anderson and Stephens 2002).
Eastern chipmunk females breed once or twice a year in the spring and/or summer. The female will stay in heat for a short time during which the male will extensively guard the female from other males looking to mate. Litter size averages between four and five individuals, with the young emerging at five to seven weeks old at which time they are able to become independent from their parents. Most juveniles disperse to a new residence within two weeks of first emergence. Individuals usually become sexually mature after their first winter (Snyder 1982, Yahner 1978).
Habitat and Distribution
The Eastern chipmunk inhabits deciduous forests and hardwood or mixed hardwood-pine forests from the southeastern U.S. to the Great Plains, and north to southeast Canada (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). This species’ historical range in Florida is unknown, but its current range is restricted to west of the Apalachicola River along the Alabama line (Gore 1990; Snyder 1982).
The main threat to the Eastern chipmunk is the destruction of its deciduous forest habitat (Gore 1990). Other threats include killings by farmers, as Eastern chipmunks can destroy crops (Anderson and Stephens 2002).
Conservation and Management
The Eastern chipmunk is protected as a State Species of Special Concern by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule. Current data is needed to fully assess the status of the Eastern chipmunk in Florida.
-Biological Status Review (BSR)
-Supplemental Information for the BSR
Other Informative Links
Animal Diversity Web
Encyclopedia of Life
Florida Natural Areas Inventory
International Union for Conservation of Nature
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Printable version of this page
Anderson, R. and J. Stephens. 2002. "Tamias striatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 08, 2011 http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tamias_striatus.html
Florida Natural Areas Inventory. 2001. Field guide to the rare animals of Florida. http://www.fnai.org/FieldGuide/pdf/Tamias_striatus.PDF
Gore, J.A. 1990. Distribution of the eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus) in Florida. Florida Scientist 53:280-285.
Snyder, D.P. 1982. Tamias striatus. Mammalian Species 168:1-8.
Yahner, R.H. 1978. The adaptive nature of the social system and behavior in the eastern chipmunk, Tamias striatus. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 3(4):397-427.
Image Credit FWC