What is the Difference Between a Ground Squirrel and a Chipmunk?
In this article, you’ll learn the differences between the two common species. This article will focus on their appearance and habits, including their feeding habits, defense mechanisms against predators, and hibernation patterns. In addition to their physical features, ground squirrels and chipmunks have many common traits, including a lack of fur and 13 contrasting lines on their backs.
Belding’s ground squirrel
If you’re looking to exterminate a ground squirrel in your yard, you may be confused about which species you’re dealing with. Both species are small and nocturnal, and they are often seen on fence posts, stumps, and brush piles. You may also see them in abandoned buildings and on the foundations of fences. The difference between a chipmunk and a ground squirrel is in its body size. A Belding’s ground squirrel is a medium-sized rodent with no spots. It has a black and reddish-brown coat with a brownish band on the middorsal surface and a cinnamon-colored ventral surface.
A chipmunk’s body is covered with stripes. A ground squirrel has thirteen narrow stripes on its body, seven of which are dark and six are tan. The stripes are irregularly spaced, giving the ground squirrel an “orange tiger” appearance. Chipmunks, on the other hand, have five alternating tan and brown stripes. Their ears are erect.
The Columbian chipmunk is a species of small rodent found in the western United States. Its range spans the western slope of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and eastward into the Black Canyon of southern Idaho. It can be found in many parts of Oregon, including Jefferson, Josephine, and Jackson counties. These chipmunks are known for their ability to climb trees, and they are also often seen near homes and gardens.
The yellow-pine chipmunk, or least chipmunk, is the smallest chipmunk in Oregon. It is only slightly smaller than the yellow-pine chipmunk, but all species have light and dark-colored stripes on their faces and on the middorsum. The least chipmunk is the most widespread species of chipmunk in Oregon, with the largest geographic range extending from the Columbia Basin into the Blue Mountains. This species of chipmunk lives in a variety of environments, including shrub-steppe areas and edges of open forests.
13 lines on their back
A ground squirrel with thirteen lines on its back is not a common sight. This animal is closely related to chipmunks and belongs to the same rodent family. The two species have similar body shapes and colors, but differ primarily in their stripes. The eastern chipmunk has five dark stripes running along its back that sandwich two light ones. Its ears are upright and it has two pouches on either cheek.
The eastern chipmunk is native to the southeastern US, excluding Florida and the southeastern coast. The western ground squirrel’s range extends from central Ohio to western Canada and includes parts of the upper Midwest. While neither species is protected by federal law, their existence is increasing concern among landowners and wildlife enthusiasts. There are about 40 species of ground squirrels in North America, mostly in the Midwest. These animals are known by many other names, including leopard ground squirrel and gopher.
They live in underground burrows
While ground squirrels and chipmunks nest in bushes and logs, they spend most of their time underground in elaborate burrow systems. Chipmunks burrows usually contain several openings for food storage and nesting, as well as side tunnels and separate escape tunnels. A chipmunk burrow is typically several feet long, and its entrance is camouflaged with leaves.
Like most other rodents, ground squirrels and chipmunks live underground burrows, often two to four feet deep and 30 feet long. These burrows are used for hiding, resting, rearing their young, and storing food. Although ground squirrels and chipmunks live in underground burrows, their burrows can be dangerous for humans, livestock, and plants.
Some ground squirrels and chipmunks hibernacle, and some don’t. While the eastern ground squirrel spends most of the year in an underground burrow with two or more entrances, many of these rodents also hibernate. These creatures go to sleep during the winter, and they arouse periodically to eat stored acorns. Although both species hibernate, the female is more likely to lose a lot of body fat than the male.
Although ground and chipmunks hibernate, chipmunks are not true “hibernators.” Instead, they sleep for the winter and wake up only periodically to feed. Ground squirrels and chipmunks eat plant materials, seeds, grains, and insects during the winter. While ground squirrels tend to hibernate longer than chipmunks, their hibernation periods differ.
What is the difference between a ground squirrel and a chipmunk?
Both ground squirrels and chipmunks are members of the squirrel family but chipmunks are usually smaller with stripes on their backs.
What is the difference between a ground squirrel and a prairie dog?
Ground squirrels are smaller and live in burrows underground while prairie dogs live in colonies above ground.
What is the difference between a ground squirrel and a gopher?
Gophers are larger than ground squirrels and have furry tails.
They also live in burrows underground.
What is the difference between a ground squirrel and a rabbit?
Ground squirrels are much smaller than rabbits and have furry tails.
They also live in burrows underground.
What do ground squirrels eat?
Ground squirrels are mainly herbivores and their diet consists of plants flowers and nuts.
Do ground squirrels hibernate?
Yes ground squirrels hibernate in the winter.
Where do ground squirrels live?
Ground squirrels live in North America Europe and Asia.
What is the scientific name for a ground squirrel?
The scientific name for a ground squirrel is Spermophilus tridecemlineatus.
What is the lifespan of a ground squirrel?
The average lifespan of a ground squirrel is 3-6 years.
Do ground squirrels carry rabies?
Ground squirrels can carry rabies but it is rare.
What are baby ground squirrels called?
Baby ground squirrels are called kittens.
How many babies do ground squirrels have?
Ground squirrels usually have 4-5 babies at a time.
What is the gestation period of a ground squirrel?
The gestation period of a ground squirrel is approximately 30 days.
When do ground squirrels have babies?
Ground squirrels have babies in the spring and summer.
How do ground squirrels care for their young?
Ground squirrels care for their young by nursing them and teaching them how to find food and shelter.
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.