Fast Facts: Eastern Chipmunks

Alvin, Simon and Theodore may be the most famous chipmunks of all, but we’ve got another chipmunk in our midst here in northern Illinois. The eastern chipmunk is the smallest ground squirrel in Illinois, weighing only 2 ounces to 5 ounces and reaching between 8 inches to 12 inches long. That means they are no longer than a ruler and weigh less than a baseball!

An eastern chipmunk. (Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)

These chipmunks may seem pretty peaceful and gentle, but they will stomp their feet and wave their tails in the air to protect their territories from intruders. Eastern chipmunks live in many different types of habitats, from forests to grasslands, so don’t be surprised if you see them in your own yard. They spend time both above and below ground, where they build burrows as well as the nests where they live.

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