Townsend’s Chipmunk (Neotamias townsendii)


Hand feeding nuts to a chipmunk
Qijin Xu / Unsplash

Townsend’s Chipmunk, scientifically known as Neotamias townsendii, is a species of rodent in the squirrel family, Sciuridae. This charming mammal is characterized by its small size, with adults typically measuring around 8 to 10 inches in length, including their distinctive bushy tails. Their fur is adorned with striking patterns, featuring a mix of brown, gray, and reddish tones, accompanied by prominent dark and light stripes along their backs. These chipmunks are known for their endearing behavior of gathering food in their cheeks and hoarding it in their burrows, showcasing their resourcefulness and adaptability.


Chipmunk forgaring nuts
Miah Rose / Unsplash

The Townsend’s Chipmunk can be distinguished by its unique coloration and markings. Its back is adorned with five dark stripes separated by four light stripes, setting it apart from other chipmunk species. The sides of its face feature distinctive white stripes bordered by dark lines, adding to its charismatic appearance. Their bushy tails are often marked with alternating light and dark bands, providing an eye-catching feature for wildlife enthusiasts and researchers to identify them in their natural habitat.


Chipmunk feeding on crumbs

These delightful chipmunks are primarily found in the forests of the Pacific Northwest of North America, with a range extending from extreme southwestern British Columbia through western Washington and western Oregon. Their distribution ranges from the Rogue River in southern Oregon to southwestern British Columbia, showcasing their affinity for the lush and diverse ecosystems of this region. Notable patterns in their population density may be observed in areas with suitable forested habitats and access to essential resources for their survival.

Habitat Preferences

Townsend’s Chipmunks thrive in a variety of forested habitats, including coniferous and mixed forests, where they can find ample cover and forage for their dietary needs. These chipmunks are known to inhabit areas with dense undergrowth, fallen logs, and shrubby vegetation, providing them with suitable shelter and protection. The availability of nuts, seeds, berries, and insects in these ecosystems supports their dietary requirements, contributing to their well-being and survival.

By encompassing these key aspects in the species profile, we gain a deeper understanding of the unique characteristics, appearance, distribution, and habitat preferences of Townsend’s Chipmunk, shedding light on the significance of conserving their natural habitats to ensure their continued presence in the wild.

Facts About Townsend’s Chipmunk

  • Townsend’s Chipmunk (Neotamias townsendii) has a life span of 2-7 years.
  • The average weight of Townsend’s Chipmunk ranges from 60 to 118 grams.
  • Breeding season for Townsend’s Chipmunk occurs for 2 weeks in spring, usually in late April.
  • The average gestation period for Townsend’s Chipmunk is 28 days.
  • Townsend’s Chipmunk primarily eats seeds, nuts, fruits, insects, roots, green vegetation, and fungi.
  • The species forages mostly on the ground but sometimes also in trees.
  • Townsend’s Chipmunk’s diverse diet consists of 50% fruits and 50% seeds.
  • The range length of Townsend’s Chipmunk is between 22 to 38 cm.
  • Townsend’s Chipmunk is found in the forests of the Pacific Northwest of North America.
  • The species may have an average mass of 75 grams.

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