Tamias minimus


Tamias minimus — Least chipmunk, Yellowstone National Park


I shall call him “Mini Tam”!

I don’t think I’ve ever seen this particular one before. It looks very cute, but would probably try to eat my hand if I petted it, right?!

Ah, the sergeant of the rodent clade.

Cute little monster. Do you have any recipes we can try?

It probably tastes like chicken anyway, so just use recipes for that. ;)

Ian said: It looks very cute, but would probably try to eat my hand if I petted it, right?!

They wouldn’t let you get close enough, but it was fun when we were kids to give them potato chips. They would sit up, hold them in their forepaws, and neatly saw through them.

Haven’t seen chipmunks in ages. I also recall seeing flying squirrels in the north Idaho woods, but they only came out when it was getting very dark and one would see shadows zipping from one tree to another. I was walking down a forest dirt road in the deep dusk once and had a shadow fly past across my face; as dark as it was I had no idea how far it was from me, but I had the perception it was maybe a foot away from my nose.

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/gblog.html

They are cute, aren’t they… On one family backpacking trip, we had the misfortune to camp near a tribe of the little dears. They chewed and rifled our gear during the day, and got into the food we hung out of reach of bears at night… They were the piranhas of the high country!

But cute, I’ll give ‘em that.

Our indoor cat goes positively ape when she sees chippees. I have no idea why her reaction to them is so much stronger than her reaction to squirrels (they get growls and tail lashing, but little more). Is it the smaller size? Different coloring? Less familiarity with them?

Oops, a mistype. I know a chipmunk is a type of squirrel. I meant to say “typical gray squirrels” for “squirrels” above.

which branch of http://tolweb.org/Sciuridae/16456 are chipmunks in?

I have noticed, in the last couple of years, an increase in chipmunks in the Midwest, especially along the Interstate Highways. Raptures like the Red Tailed Hawk have followed them. So now we are seeing dozens of hawks whenever we travel. Chipmunks are cute, but unfortunately they are made of meat.

Chipmunks are cute, but unfortunately they are made of meat.

Well, who isn’t? Even the raptors could be described that way. :)

I used to know a man (he lived not far from Yellowstone) who would put peanuts in his pockets and then walk out to his woodpile and whistle. The chipmunks would show up in moments and climb right up his clothes and burrow into his pockets to get their treats.

When I (seven, eight years old) asked him how he taught the critters to do such a surprising thing he winked at me and said, “I just started whistling to them.”

One of these days I’ve got to give it a try. First I need a woodpile …

Somehow, I don’t think the woodpile was the relevant part of the experiment. :)


Wheez all meat, but we ain’t all sweet. -The Chipmunks-

Frank B said:

-The Chipmunks-

Oh NO, now I have high-pitched cartoon voices singing in my mind’s ear. Amazing how the brain retains stuff like that for decades and then pops it up on cue.

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/gblog.html

Cute, but not as cute as Tamias striatus. I befriended one years ago at a camp in the Adirondacks, thanks to government surplus peanuts.


My most distinct memory of chipmunks was long, LOONNNGG ago at summer camp, when a counselor opened up a cabin for the first time. The chipmunks had had the run of the cabin (no glass in the windows) for 9 months, and when the door opened, several tore out. One ran right up one side of the counselor, over his head, and down the other side, before he (the counselor) could blink. We utterly cracked up. It took several days before the chipmunks realized that the cabins were now occupied, but for that time, we’d see them waltzing in, stopping in surprise, and scurrying out.

I have several of the northeastern US variety of chipmunks all over my property. They have an unfortunate habit of burrowing under my foundation and finding their way into my basement, but they’re so adorable and entertaining that I can’t bring myself to poison or trap them, though I keep thinking I should use a have-a-heart trap and relocate them to a park several miles away. Pretty soon they will enter their winter torpor, and any eradication will be a moot point for a few months. Funny how the chippies hibernate, while the overfed grays on my lot become more spastic, if anything, when the snow flies. I’ll say this: watching chipmunks chase each other around never fails to raise a smile. Anyone ever see a black chipmunk? It’s not a separate species, but a somewhat common mutation. One of my colleagues has one on her property.

A black chipmunk; interesting. I’ll have to look for an image. Given their usual habitat, I can see how that color variation would be a bit of a liability.

Here’s an image of a black chipmunk from the internets:


I guess the black ones haven’t earned their stripes yet?


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This page contains a single entry by Timothy Sandefur published on October 8, 2008 8:44 PM.

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