Though I see a
flash of them
yard, this is the
first time I was
able to snap a
Description Brightly colored, from tawny to pinkish cinnamon, with 5 distinct longitudinal dark stripes, usually
black, that are evenly spaced and about equal in width. Central 3 dark stripes extend to rump; lateral 2 only to mid-
body. Pale stripes are white or grayish. Distinct black lower eye stripe. Sides of body and underside of tail grayish
yellow. Top of head brown. Ears blackish in front, whitish behind.
Habitat Brush-covered areas in coniferous forests, particularly yellow pine. Has a much broader range of habitats
than do Allen’s, Lodgepole, and Long-eared chipmunks, with which it is often found.
Range Much of British Columbia and extreme w Alberta south to n California; east to w Montana and nw Wyoming.
Diet Seeds, its most important food, are eaten as they are available—early in the season when green and later
when ripe. When pinecones open in the fall, this chipmunk climbs trees to get the seeds. It also eats some insects
In Washington it apparently finds the thorns of the thistle no deterrent: First it eats the seeds from the head; then it
cuts the head, which falls to the ground, and consumes it with impunity. In the fall the animal stuffs its cheek pouches
with food to be stored in its burrows; one food cache contained an estimated 67,970 items, including 15 kinds of
seeds, corn, and part of a bumblebee.
Breeding Mates April or May; 1 litter per year of 4–7 young born May–early June in a nest of leaves, grass, or
Voice It has at least 10 different calls; one sounds like a robin’s chirp and another, among the most common, is a
sharp, accented kwist.
Discussion In open forests where the sun casts sharp shadows, the well-defined stripes of the Yellow-pine
Chipmunk afford protective coloration. Individuals of this species that were observed in Washington State remained
active about seven months and hibernated about five, waking to eat about every two weeks and emerging in April and
One study indicated that 97 percent of the individuals survived—a phenomenal rate of winter survival for a small
mammal. Some individuals are active even on snow. This chipmunk lives in underground burrows, usually about
1-1/2 to 3 feet long and 7 to 21 inches deep in an open area within the forest; there is generally one entrance, though
there may also be short side openings.
(we call them "Timber Tigers")
|Though I see a flash of them scurrying through my yard, this is the first time I snapped a
three run about
the reeds and
rocks at the
water's edge at
into the tall
reaching for a