common eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus striatus)
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Confirmed.
CHARACTERISTICS: This is a small, moderately heavy-set sciurid with
prominent longitudinal stripes. There is a median black stripe
with wide gray stripes on each side and more stripes outside these,
from between ears to the rump. The face, rump, sides and feet are
russet red. They have prominent eyes, and facial stripes that distinguish
it from most mammals in the range. The total length of the chipmunk
is from 8-10 inches and the weight is from 2.3-4.5 ounces. There are
1 to 2 litters born per year of 1-8 young each. The Virginia hibernation
period is approximately mid-November to early February. Most
are relatively sedentary and retain burrows/range for a long time or for
life. They are strictly diurnal, with mid-morning and mid-afternoon
activity peaks. The underground nest chamber may contain as
much as 1/2 bushel of nest material, and stored seeds and nuts.
This species lives 3 or more years in the wild.
DISTRIBUTION: This species is common throughout Virginia. This
species prefers open hardwood forests, brushlands, outbuildings and
rubbish heaps. They use rocky ground, logs and stone walls.
FOODS: This species stores food in a burrow (larder-hoarding) to eat
while underground during the winter. They eat fruits, nuts, berries,
seeds, mushrooms, insect larvae, and occasionally bird eggs, or
nestlings, amphibians, and small mammals.
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