What is the Difference Between Chipmunk and Squirrel?
If you’re confused about the differences between chipmunks and squirrels, you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll learn about size, diet, habitat, hibernation, and more. In addition to these four main differences, chipmunks and squirrels share many other characteristics. So, which one are you? Let’s find out! Originally, chipmunks were considered rodents, but nowadays they’re more commonly known as squirrels.
Table of Contents
A common question is: What’s in the Diet of a Squirrel or Chipmunk? Squirrels and Chipmunks both eat nuts and seeds. Their diets differ according to their location, but in general, they eat nuts and seeds. Chipmunks in the south may eat pecans and peanuts, while those in the north eat acorns and hickories. Both species eat seeds from trees, including walnuts, sunflowers, figs, maples, dogwood, sweetgum, and acorns.
The typical diet of chipmunks and squirrels includes seeds, nuts, and fruits. They also eat plants like seedling dock, chickweed, shepherd’s weed, and dandelion. Seedling dock and shepherd’s weed are also important sources of nutrition. Chipmunks also chew on cuttlefish bones. While these are great sources of calcium, abrupt changes in their diet can upset their digestive system.
The difference between chipmunks and squirrels can sometimes be difficult to tell apart. These rodents share the same general appearance and are both small, striped mammals that live in trees. Both chipmunks and squirrels are brown or gray in color, with a distinctive black or white stripe on their back. These animals can range in size from a few millimeters to over one pound, and they are both native to North America.
The eastern chipmunk is the smallest of the two, weighing between one and five ounces and 28-142 grams. Its body length ranges from 14 to 19 centimeters, and its tail is eight to eleven centimetres long. Its fur is a reddish brown color, and five dark brown stripes alternate with gray-brown. The eastern chipmunk weighs about half as much as its cousin, the pine-colored squirrel. The Hopi chipmunk, meanwhile, is a smaller version, with a tail only three to four inches long and a tuft of hair.
The habitat of chipmunks and squirrels is similar. Both types of rodents live in the woods and prefer logs and stumps as their ideal habitats. Both species of rodents build burrows, which can become a complex network of tunnels and chambers. These mammals typically live in nests, and their diets include nuts, insects, and amphibians. They are very similar in size and behavior.
Chipmunks and squirrels are found throughout the United States, Canada, and the Pacific Northwest. They live in montane forests, and have similar habits to tree squirrels. Both species build burrows in trees, sleep in burrows, and raise their young in abandoned bird nests. There are 23 subspecies of chipmunks, including the endemic Palmer’s chipmunk found only in the Spring Mountains of southwestern Nevada.
Hibernation is an important survival mechanism used by many small mammals during the cold winter months. Their body temperature drops below four degrees Celsius, which allows them to hibernate. They also rely on vegetation and insects for food during the winter, and as these species diminish in population during the winter, hibernation is important. Nonetheless, many people are still confused about the hibernation of chipmunks and squirrels.
The process of hibernation is similar for other mammals. The temperature of the chipmunk’s body drops to a minimum of three degrees Celsius. The body processes slow down during hibernation to preserve their food stores. Although the body temperature is three degrees Celsius, chipmunks awaken several times a day and spend about fifteen days in this state. During this period, the chipmunk will awaken every fifteen days to urinate and eat stored provisions.
It may seem like there is no difference between the hole-digging habits of chipmunks and squirrels, but there is. Both rodents dig holes, but ground squirrels make their holes shallow and clean. While ground squirrels burrow under objects, chipmunks don’t. Therefore, if you notice a ground squirrel digging a hole in your yard, it is most likely a ground squirrel.
A chipmunk burrow is typically a cup-shaped or spherical hollow about 2 inches in diameter. It extends between 5 and 30 feet, and the burrow entrance may be several feet from the burrow entrance. The entrance to a ground squirrel’s burrow is usually hidden deep in the ground. However, a chipmunk’s burrow is very large, up to 30 feet long, and two to three feet deep.
Survival in harsh winters
The survival of chipmunk and squirrel in harsh winter climates is largely dependent on the habitat and food resources available. They can survive the harsh winters by hiding underground or by storing fat on their bodies. Both species depend on these sources of energy to keep them warm during harsh winters. If the conditions are not right, they can freeze to death. In addition to hiding underground, chipmunks and squirrels can survive harsh winters by gathering seeds and nuts from nearby trees and branches.
Squirrels and chipmunks are closely related and share a common ancestor that lived over 20 million years ago. They are part of the same family, Sciuridae, and are found in every continent except Antarctica and Australia. They differ from one another in a number of ways, including their behaviours, body functions, and shape. They have different reproductive systems and specialized behaviours, which help them survive in different habitats. Squirrels, on the other hand, hibernate to protect themselves from extreme cold. In fact, they can spend up to six months in a hibernation state.
What is the difference between chipmunks and squirrels?
The biggest difference between chipmunks and squirrels is that chipmunks have stripes on their backs and squirrels do not.
How do chipmunks and squirrels coexist?
Chipmunks and squirrels coexist by living in different areas.
Squirrels live in trees and chipmunks live on the ground.
What do chipmunks and squirrels eat?
Both chipmunks and squirrels are omnivores so they eat both plants and animals.
What is the difference in size between chipmunks and squirrels?
Chipmunks are much smaller than squirrels.
Squirrels can grow to be about 20 inches long while chipmunks only grow to be about 6-8 inches long.
What is the difference in lifespan between chipmunks and squirrels?
Squirrels have a much longer lifespan than chipmunks.
Squirrels can live up to 20 years in the wild while chipmunks only live up to about 5 years in the wild.
Where do chipmunks and squirrels live?
Chipmunks and squirrels both live in North America.
Do chipmunks and squirrels hibernate?
Yes both chipmunks and squirrels hibernate during the winter.
What is the difference in appearance between chipmunks and squirrels?
The biggest difference in appearance between chipmunks and squirrels is that chipmunks have stripes on their backs and squirrels do not.
Additionally chipmunks are much smaller than squirrels.
What is the difference in behavior between chipmunks and squirrels?
Chipmunks are much more timid than squirrels and are not as likely to approach humans.
Squirrels are also more likely to hoard food than chipmunks.
What is the difference in habitat between chipmunks and squirrels?
Squirrels live in trees and chipmunks live on the ground.
Do chipmunks and squirrels have predators?
Yes both chipmunks and squirrels have predators.
Some of their common predators include hawks owls coyotes and weasels.
What do chipmunks and squirrels use their tails for?
Chipmunks and squirrels use their tails for balance and to help them climb trees.
What is the difference in mating habits between chipmunks and squirrels?
Chipmunks mate in the spring and summer while squirrels mate in the fall.
What is the difference in litter size between chipmunks and squirrels?
Chipmunks typically have litters of 4-6 while squirrels typically have litters of 2-4.
What is the difference in gestation period between chipmunks and squirrels?
Chipmunks have a gestation period of 30 days while squirrels have a gestation period of 40-45 days.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.