The Siberian chipmunk is a small, adorable squirrel found in Asia and Europe. In fact, it is the only chipmunk found outside North America. However, in the 1960s was introduced in Europe as a pet. Heck, it became a very popular pet! But, how can it not be, with its adorable distinguished stripes and beautiful muzzle?
Where can we find the Siberian chipmunk?
Although small, this rodent has a quite large range! Thus, it stretches from northern Asia from central Russia to China, Korea, to even northern Japan. However, it occurs in Eastern Europe because some individuals have escaped from captivity. Therefore, our chipmunk prefers living on the forest floor with a thick vegetative cover. Finally, the chipmunk will also thrive in rocky outcroppings and house foundations as well.
How does the Siberian chipmunk look?
For starters, extremely adorable! The main characteristic of our cute rodent is the 5 dark and 4 light bands, stretching down its back. Yet, the overall coloration is yellow to brown. On the other hand, the chest and belly are white. Finally, although smallmouth, this cutie has extensile pouches on its cheeks. Did you know they can expand up to three times the size of its head? That’s a lot of food to store! Finally, an adult can grow between 7 and 9 inches in length, and weigh 5 oz.
Like its close relative, the American red squirrel, the Siberian chipmunk is an opportunistic animal, eating a variety of foods. Therefore, the various diet includes seeds, grains, fungi, fruits, and vegetables. On the other hand, our omnivore will supplement its diet with something concrete, such as lizards, insects, and small species of birds. Yet, when winter is approaching, our diligent chipmunk will store the food supply into a burrow. In fact, each one of them will store up to 8 pounds of food!
When it comes to mating, these chipmunks are promiscuous, just like the squirrel monkey. Thus, the breeding season occurs after hibernation in the middle of April. However, they mate only once or twice a year. So, after a gestation of 28 to 35 days, the mother gives birth to 3 to 8 pups. Since males have no part in rearing their offspring, the females are the ones responsible for caring. Therefore, after 5 weeks the babies will go foraging with their mother. Finally, after 8 weeks, they are independent and ready to establish their own territories.
Did you know the chipmunk’s tunnels have two parts? One is intended for giving birth and the other serves as a sleeping spot. Therefore, before hibernation, they will store winter food supply to feed upon it during the winter.
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