Chipmunks are small, ground-dwelling rodents known for stuffing their cheeks with nuts. They belong to the squirrel family Sciuridae and the subfamily Xerinae. The common name of chipmunk probably derived from the Ottawa jidmoonh , which means "red squirrel" or "one who descends trees headlong. There are three chipmunk genera and 25 species. Tamias striatus is the eastern chipmunk. Eutamias sibiricus is the Siberian chipmunk.
Chipmunks are small rodents of the squirrel family with a total of 25 different species see bottom of page , all part of the scientific family, in the family Sciuridae. Chipmunks are kept as popular and entertaining pets. Chipmunks vary in size and colour depending on species. Their size ranges from 7 — 8 inches in length and 32 — 50 grams in weight in the smallest chipmunks to 11 inches in length and grams in weight in larger chipmunks.
Chipmunks are diurnal. An adult chipmunk is approximately 5 to 6 inches in length and weighs from 1 to 3 ounces. Chipmunks may live up to 10 years in captivity. A good diet consists of a combination of nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables and rodent diet. Nuts may include peanuts, pecans or walnuts.
Tamias sibiricus is the only member of the genus Tamias found outside North America. It is also found in eastern Europe as a result of individuals escaping from captivity. Siberian chipmunks live primarily on the forest floor where there is plenty of cover and among rocky outcroppings and in human structures, such as house foundations. They are also excellent climbers. Weathers,