Nature's Zeitgeist

Community Arts Advocates, Inc.
39 Robeson Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Stephen Baird, Founder and President


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and Wildlife

Wood Ducks

Wood Duck image

Jamaica Pond's Albino Gray Squirrels

Albino Gray Squirrel image

Eastern Chipmunk

Cottontail Rabbits

Great Horned Owls

Great Horned Owl image

Red Tailed Hawks

Redtailed Hawk image

Butterflies and Dragonflies

Fritillary Butterfly image

Emerald Necklace Wildflowers

Pink Lady's Slipper

Great Blue Herons

Great Blue Heron image

Boston's Emerald Necklace

Eastern Chipmunk

Tamias striatus (Linnaeus, 1758)

by Stephen Baird

Chipmunk image

  • Eastern Chipmunks are very common and can be found throughout Boston's Emerald Necklace from the Back Bay Fens to Olmsted Park to Franklin Park and many backyards.

  • Eastern Chipmunks weigh 3 to 5 ounces with a length of 8 to 11 inches.  They have four toes on front feet and five toes on back feet.  The mouth pouches hold large amounts of seeds and nuts that are carried to burrow food storage chambers for winter feeding. The pouches are also used to carry dirt away from burrow tunnel entrances to hide entrances from predators.

  • Name given by Algonquian Ojibwa (Chippewa) "chetamon" or "acitamon" evolved to "chitmonk" and "chitminck."  Possibly for the chipmunk's loud territorial vocal "chips" and monk like posture when feeding the common name eventually evolved to chipmunk.
    • Latin name Tamias Striatus provided by Linnauus in 1758 means striped storer for chipmunks' stripes and behavior of hoarding food
    • Français: Tamia rayé
    • Polski: Pręgowiec amerykański
    • Russian: Burunduk (Siberian chipmunk Tamias sibiricus)
    • Chinese: 西伯利亞花栗鼠 (Siberian chipmunk Tamias sibiricus)
Chipmunk image
  • Chipmunks live an average of just over 1 year in the wild.  Half of the late summer and fall chipmunk population were born that year. Some live 2-3 years.
  • Chipmunks are omnivorous-- primarily eating seeds, grains, fruits, and nuts such as acorns.  They also eat worms, salamanders, bugs, slugs, mushrooms, bird eggs and young mice. Chipmunks hoard nuts, seeds and other hard foods for the winter torpor.
  • Chipmunks dig an extensive burrow 10-30 feet deep with multiple tunnel entrances and multiple chambers for sleeping, storing different foods, refuge and defecating. The one-foot wide by eight inch high sleeping chamber is lined with grasses and leaves is also used for the nursery and winter torpor. The burrow must be dug below the frost line for chipmunks to survive the winter torpor. Territory usually extends about fifty feet from the burrow.
  • Chipmunks do not hibernate but lower their heart rate, breathing rate and body temperature to 40 degrees in a deep sleep called a torpor.  They wake every 4-9 days and raise their body temperature to 94 degrees, eat some of their food hoard they sleep on in their main burrow chamber and defecate in another sub chamber.  They return to the main chamber and the torpor sleep. Chipmunks begin the winter torpor in late October and emerge in the spring in March.  Some will scamper out of the burrow during a warm mid winter thaw to seek food from other storage sites near the burrow.
Chipmunk image
  • Reproduction:
    • Males will set up territory by thumping the ground with their hind legs. Competition between males through noisy chases and fighting can cause serious injury.
    • Females will call males with "chips" near their burrow nests.
    • Eastern chipmunks mate twice a year in early spring March-April and mid summer June-July. Litters average 4-5 and up to 9 young.
    • Young chipmunks are born without fur and blind.  They leave the burrow nest in 6 weeks and become completely independent shortly after leaving the nest in 6-8 weeks.
    • Males do not actively care for young.
  • Predators: Chipmunks are a source of food for many reptiles, birds and mammals.  Great horned owls, red tailed hawks, peregrine falcons, coyotes, foxes, and large snakes are some of the chipmunk predators here in the Emerald Necklace.
Contact and Email Information

Community Arts Advocates, Inc.
39 Robeson Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Stephen Baird, Founder and President


Web site:

Community Arts Advocates

Copyright © 1999-2023 by Stephen Baird