Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.
What is a Chipmunk?
You have probably seen the movies and heard the music from those three very famous chipmunks, but how much do you know about the real animal? Chipmunks are rodents, and they are members of the same animal family as squirrels and woodchucks. Rodents are animals that have very large teeth that enable them to gnaw or chew through lots of different types of materials. There are over 20 species of chipmunks, and nearly all of those species live throughout North America. The rest are found in Asia.
Habitat and Diet
Throughout North America, chipmunks survive in wild areas like forests. However, if there are trees and bushes, even in urban or city areas, it is not uncommon to see chipmunks scampering around. Chipmunks often build burrows, or tunnels underground. These areas help them to escape from predators and also allow them to store their food for when they hibernate, or sleep during the winter. Chipmunks are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and other animals. They often eat seeds, nuts, and grasses, as well as the eggs of birds, insects and even small frogs!
Chipmunks are very small animals and are usually brown or reddish brown with stripes across their backs. Their coloring helps to camouflage, or hide, them from predators such as snakes, coyotes, and birds of prey. They have sharp teeth, which help them to chew food and gnaw through different materials. They also have pouches in their cheeks, and this allows them to carry quite a bit of food at one time.
Even though the three famous chipmunks love to hang around together, actually real chipmunks are solitary animals, meaning they prefer to be by themselves. They like to gather seeds and tree nuts, and this actually helps the growth of new trees. These seeds are dispersed throughout their travels, so they are actually helpers of the environment! Even though they are helpful for tree growth, many farmers think chipmunks are pests because of their tendency to gnaw through all types of materials and burrow underground. Chipmunks love to talk! They make chirping sounds that can alert their fellow chipmunks to the presence of a dangerous predator.
The next time you are near an area with trees or bushes, look closely! You may see a tiny brown animal with stripes scurrying across the ground. Chipmunks can live almost anywhere there is wild plant life. These rodents eat both plant and animal material, and they like to burrow underground. Chipmunks like to chat with each other through shrill sounds, and they can help the environment by spreading tree and plant seeds. However, many farmers view chipmunks as pests since they burrow underground and chew through all kinds of materials.
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