The Midwestern states are home to the Eastern Chipmunk, a member of the rodent family along with squirrels, mice, and beavers. Chipmunks have reddish-brown fur on their upper body with a total of five dark brown stripes and contrasting light brown stripes along their backs. They have a tawny stripe that goes from their whiskers to below their ears and light ‘highlights’ over their eyes. Top it all off with a dark, fluffy, short tail and you’ve got quite a cute little critter on your hands!
Chippies, as they are affectionately called, live in our yards, parks, woods, and school yards. They like areas that offer lots of hiding spots, but being just five inches long and weighing in at about 3 ounces, it doesn’t take much to hide these little guys. Chipmunks fit in the little ventilation holes on our gas grills, dryer vent holes, under garage and shed doors, and pretty much anywhere else with an opening any larger than a nickel. Chippies sit upright on their back feet and hold on to food with their ‘hands’ or front feet, stuffing their little cheeks as far as they can stretch to take the food with them back to the burrow.
You may see them outside at your bird feeder stuffing themselves, but as soon as they see you – they’re GONE! They run off so fast that all you’ll see is a chippie blur most of the time. Chipmunks are most active outside of the burrow in the early morning and late afternoon, dawn and dusk. At dawn they come out and lick up the moisture from dewy plants and porches, and in the evening they hang out right next to the Cardinal’s at the bird feeder filling their belly for the night.