Asian chipmunks are also called Burundi.
What do Asian chipmunks look like?
Asian chipmunks belong to the squirrel family and are therefore rodents. They are related to squirrels, prairie dogs, and ground squirrels. They measure 21 to 25 centimeters from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. However, the dense, bushy tail accounts for eight to eleven centimeters of this.
The body itself measures 13 to 17 centimeters. That’s why the animals look a bit like a little squirrel. A chipmunk weighs between 50 and 120 grams. The five black-brown stripes on the back, between which four light stripes run, are typical. The ventral side is white, beige, or reddish-brown. The color depends on which region the chipmunks are from.
Where do Asian chipmunks live?
Asian chipmunks are found from northern Finland through Siberia, Mongolia, Manchuria, and central China to northern Japan. Unlike many of their relatives, chipmunks do not live in the steppe, but mainly in pine and larch forests.
Asian chipmunks are related to prairie dogs and ground squirrels. The North American chipmunks are also closely related, with which the squirrels are easily confused. Today, Asian chipmunks are also bred, so that there are white and cinnamon-colored animals in addition to the normal colored ones.
How old do Asian chipmunks get?
Asian chipmunks live about six to seven years.
How do Asian chipmunks live?
Asian chipmunks are very lively animals. They are mostly active during the day. Especially in the early morning hours, they do gymnastics through the trees. Chipmunks are loners. They only spend the hibernation in pairs. Although they live in colonies, each animal has its own territory, which it marks with scent marks and which it defends against other squirrels.
A typical feature is the huge cheek pouches in which the animals collect food, which they then stock up on. Up to nine grams of food fit in each cheek pouch. A chipmunk can collect up to six kilograms of supplies in total.
These are hidden in the burrows that the animals create underground. The caves are up to 2.5 meters long and go up to 1.5 meters deep underground. They are divided into sleeping chambers and pantries. Extra corridors serve as a toilet.
Chipmunks are very agile: they climb up and down tree trunks with skill. Similar to squirrels, they usually sit on their hind legs when eating and hold the food with their front paws. They change their fur in spring and autumn. In winter, wild chipmunks hibernate in their burrows. In Siberia, for example, it lasts from October to April.
Friends and foes of the Asian chipmunk
Foxes, polecats, sables, ermines, and pine martens can be dangerous for chipmunks.
How do Asian chipmunks reproduce?
Asian chipmunks mate between April and June. When the females are ready to mate, they whistle after the males. These sounds range from a soft chirp to a high-pitched whistling.
Only about four to six weeks after mating, the female gives birth to three to ten naked, blind young. Only the mother takes care of the young. The little chipmunks become independent after just eight to ten weeks – then the small family breaks up again and everyone goes their own way. The young chipmunks are sexually mature at about 11 months. A female usually gives birth to two litters per year.
How do Asian chipmunks communicate?
When threatened, Asian chipmunks emit a trilling chirp.
What Do Asian Chipmunks Eat?
In the wild, chipmunks eat nuts, berries, seeds, fruit, and insects. Sometimes they also catch frogs or steal eggs or young birds from bird nests. They mainly collect nuts, acorns, seeds, and dry mushrooms as supplies for the winter.
Even in captivity, chipmunks love a varied diet. It is best to feed them mixed food, nuts, fresh fruit, and mealworms. They also need a salt lick. Nuts are given in shell because the chipmunks need something to gnaw on to wear down their ever-growing incisors.
Husbandry of Asian chipmunks
Chipmunks have also been popular pets since Walt Disney movies made them known as A squirrels and B squirrels. But since 2016, Asian chipmunks can no longer be kept as pets in the EU because they are considered a so-called invasive species! That means they feel so comfortable with us that they threaten the local wildlife. Only those who already own a chipmunk are allowed to keep it.