A chipmunk resembles a common tree squirrel, but is
only about 5 to 6 inches in length, not including its
bushy tail. It is a rusty brown animal with a varying
number of darker and lighter stripes on its back, with
an off white underbelly. At one time, chipmunks were
placed into two genera: Eutamias (for the chipmunks
of western North America and Eurasia) and Tamias (for
those of western North America). However, recent evidence
indicates that all the different species and sub species
are so closely related as to make their separation into
these two different genera unwarranted. Chipmunks have
been put into the same category as ground squirrels,
but, although terrestrial, they also forage in trees.
This places them somewhere between true ground squirrels,
and tree squirrels.
kind of pet does a chipmunk make?
have many positive pet qualities Unlike many nocturnal
rodents that are kept as pets, they are diurnal--active
during the daytime, which makes them fun to watch .
You "pick up" your pet by offering him your
flat palm that has a treat waiting for him. Chipmunks
do not like to be picked up by being grabbed by the
tail. Outside the cage, they will jump on the highest
point of their owner's body, such as a shoulder or head,
but won't stay there for long. If you walk by a tall
piece of furniture, the chipmunk will want to jump off
you to investigate this newest "tree". Their
intense curiosity drives them to explore all new things.
Thus, it is best if you restrict their out-of-cage time
to only one room. Chipmunks are less trusting with people
they do not know. They can be friendly to strangers
that are quiet and move slowly, but they are never as
bold with strangers as they are with their owners.
do I look for in choosing a chipmunk?
to obtain the youngest animal you can. At six weeks
of age, a chipmunk is fully weaned and eating on his
own. This is the ideal age to bring him home. Look for
an animal that has all the obvious signs of good health:
shiny eyes, glowing coats, and animals that are active
and curious. If you have your choice of a number of
different animals, choose the one that approaches your
hand first. The boldest animals are also the easiest
to bond with.
they clean animals?
chipmunk is one of the cleanest pets you can have. It
does not have a detectable body odor. It leaves its
droppings in one corner of its cage, which can easily
be removed, making it unnecessary to do a complete bedding
change each week.
they prone to any health problems?
chipmunk is usually a remarkably healthy animal, if
it receives a proper diet and is allowed enough exercise.
They can get diarrhea if given too many fruits (especially
citrus) and vegetables. Some genetic problems have occurred
in the white Siberian chipmunk as a result of inbreeding.
These problems include partial and complete blindness,
epilepsy and other central nervous system problems,
hearing problems, cleft palate, and other facial deformities.
Cross breeding whites with standard color chipmunks
will strengthen blood lines and produce healthier offspring.
will they get along with other animals?
is always wise to proceed with caution when introducing
your chipmunk to the family dog or cat. Because chipmunks
have been chosen by Mother Nature to be prey animals,
they are quick to frighten and flee. Such actions can
elicit a predatory chase response in your dog or cat.
Supervision is recommended.
is the difference between theAmerican
and Siberian chipmunks?
two types of chipmunks are available as pets: the North
American chipmunk and the Siberian chipmunk. The North
American chipmunk is sometimes called the Eastern or
Western It is a robust and agile animal that still retains
most of its chipmunk wild instincts. In some areas,
these animals are trapped and kept as pets and breeders.
A wild-caught animal is very shy and fearful. Although
they cannot be considered true pets, their offspring,
if removed from their parents at an early age, can be
tamed. The Siberian chipmunk is a slightly smaller and
finer boned animal than the North American chipmunk.
It has been extensively bred in England, and therefore
is closer to being a truly domesticated animal. There
are two color varieties: the ruby-eyed white, and the
cinnamon (sometimes called golden). Some people think
the ruby-eyed whites actually have black eyes, but on
close inspection under a good light, this is not so.
The white chipmunks are quite stunning to look at. Although
creamy white, they still retain the typical stripes,
which have been diluted to an almond color. The cinnamon
color variety has more red and yellow in their coats
than the normal standard, but is similarly marked, with
will eat a variety of foods. They enjoy fresh fruits,
vegetables, nuts, seeds, rodent lab blocks, monkey biscuits,
berries, flower buds (particularly marigolds and dandelions),
mealworms, peanuts, and small pieces of romaine lettuce
and other greens. Be sure to wash all fresh produce
to remove insecticide residue. Parrot mineral blocks
(honey and peanut butter flavored), cuttlebones and
lava stones will help the chipmunk grind down their
teeth, which is important for good health. The chipmunk
does not store fat in its body, but will store extra
food in his nest box and bury food in his bedding. Be
careful that hidden fresh fruits and vegetables, do
not go rancid. Moldy food can kill. To avoid this problem,
give your chipmunk as much fresh food as they will eat
in one day.
they need a companion?
American chipmunk is less social than the Siberian chipmunk.
Although both can be kept singly, they do appreciate
having a cage companion. Pairs of the opposite sex seem
to be the most compatible, but may have to be separated
if the male comes into season and the female is not
ready for his amorous intentions. However, some male/female
pairs can be left together year round. You need to stay
aware of how well your animals are getting along with
each other at various times throughout the year. Same
sex pairs can be compatible too, if the animals have
been raised together. Adults of the same sex will not
get along if they are strangers. If they are of the
opposite sex they can be introduced, usually without
problems, in neutral territory. Make sure you provide
enough hiding places for them to retreat from each other
if they desire.
should own a chipmunk?
owners of chipmunks should be people who like animals
that are active during the daytime, and those who are
committed to feeding their pet fresh fruits and vegetable
at least three times a week, keeping their pet away
from extreme heat and cold, and providing their pet
with daily social stimulation. Chipmunks are not recommended
for young children because these animals can become
easily frightened by childrens' quick movements and
high excitement levels. Preteens and teenagers are old
enough to understand the correct way to handle and interact
with this special kind of pet.