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  • Lexington Educational Article of the Month - About chipmunks

About chipmunks

About chipmunks

Most people of her Lexington chipmunks courtesy of the movies and cartoons that star Alvin and the Chipmunks. Chipmunks are only found in two places in the world, North America and Siberia, the genus name for Chipmunks is Tamias which is Greek for treasurer or housekeeper which refers to the animals habit of collecting food and storing it for use during winter. Chipmunks are omnivores that mainly live on a diet of seeds, nuts, fruits and buds. They also occasionally eat fungi and insects. Kentucky Chipmunks that live around humans will also eat cultivated grains and vegetables, in fact the fact that they will raid gardens is why they are considered a pest.

Even though Western Lexington Chipmunks do not hibernate, their Eastern cousins do, but the Western chipmunks do stay in their burrowers all winter living off the stored food supplies they stashed away during the summer and the fall. Chipmunks provide several important functions to a forest ecosystem, there activities in collecting and hoarding tree seeds are a crucial part of seedling establishment, the main fungi that they like is the one that grows into truffles, and they are a vital part of dispersing this fungi underground. Truffle spores can only be dispersed by animals like the Kentucky chipmunk as the fungi has lost the ability to disburse its own spores.

Chipmunks are very important food source for a lot of predators including coyotes, owls and even wolves. Most Lexington Chipmunks will only live about three years though some in captivity have lived for up to nine years. Most of the Kentucky Chipmunks in captivity also slept about 15 hours a day which is a habit of mammals who sleep in hiding where they are safe from predators.

Chipmunks are easy to identify, they have short stubby legs, bushy tails and the black and brown stripes that run down their backs. According to National Geographic Chipmunks are the smallest members of the Kentucky squirrel family with the Eastern chipmunk, the biggest chipmunk, growing to a size of about 11 inches nose to tail and weighing in at 4 1/2 ounces, you have to add the 3 to 5 inch tail.

Like all rodents Lexington chipmunks have live births after a gestation period of 30 days, females give birth to at least two and up to eight young each time and they do this once or twice a year. Kentucky Chipmunk babies are called pups and are born hairless, blind, pink creatures about the size of a jellybean.

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