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Old 12-15-2011, 12:00 PM   #1
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Default 21 species of chipmunk in North America

And other interesting facts about chipmunks.

NOT Alvin and the Chipmunks: 10 Facts You May Not Know about the Real Rodents : Wildlife Promise

They are adorable that's for sure. Never have seen them in our garden but they are very active in nature centers around the city. At some campsites the little buggers can be a nuisance trying to get at food.

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5.They eat various types of seeds as well as fungus, helping to spread the mycorrhizal fungi that live around tree roots and are critical to tree survival. Chipmunks also spread the seeds of trees and other plants.
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7.They might not sing like Alvin and the boys, but wild chipmunks do vocalize. Kenneth Schmidt, a biologist at Texas Tech University who studies eastern chipmunks, recognizes three chipmunk calls, “the chip, the deeper chuck, and the startle call.” The last is an alarm that warns of impending danger. Chipmunks will even make calls in a chorus composed of several of the little rodents—shades of Alvin. Simon and Theodore.Hear how chipmunks sound.
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A new study has found that as winter temperature heats up because of global warming, chipmunks in warmed areas become less likely to hibernate in the coldest months. The research indicates that chipmunks that follow normal hibernation procedures enjoy a survival rate through winter of about 87 percent, while those that remain active because of warm winter weather are almost certain to die by spring. The scientist who made this discovery, Craig Frank of Fordham University, fears that this evidence could suggest dire results for other hibernating species as climate warms.
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:45 PM   #2
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Those are some interesting facts. I have quit a community of chipmunks on my property there great to watch.

The quote about hibernation was interesting its not surprising to me that not going into hibernation would affect their winter survival rate. Being at prey for just about everything from snakes,hawks,cats,foxes, and anything else that eats small critters I would expect there normal mortality rate to be around 70-80% staying active all winter just opens them up to more predation. I don't know alot about chipmunk ecology but I would assume that if they are staying active longer they would maybe produce an extra litter a year it's something interesting to think about I'm going to have to look into it?

Thanks for the post Gloria
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Old 12-15-2011, 02:25 PM   #3
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Chipmunks are not long lived in the wild two or three years maybe. One litter per year for cold winter maybe two for warmer. I think the low survival rates for non-hibernating chipmunks made the scientist wonder about the adaptation of other species that hibernate but whose reproduction was more limited. At least that is my take.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:02 PM   #4
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Non-hibernating chipmunks are also going to require food, which may be difficult to come by during the cold weather months. That would also apply to other non-hibernating species that normally hibernate during cold weather.
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Old 12-16-2011, 03:28 PM   #5
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The chipmunks do a pretty good job of storing enough food to get them through winter when they are inactive for much of that time. But more activity means more energy required. Food sources in formerly frozen much of the season areas may not yet support such winter activity. It is something to ponder.
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:14 PM   #6
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Chipmunks are family entertainment around here like squirrels. We love em so those are some pretty scary stats until… we dig a little deeper. The winter of ’06-’07 was an unseasonably warm year for some species in some parts of the US. Craig Frank’s data “showed that the chipmunks followed normal hibernation patterns from fall 2003 through spring 2006, averaging an 87 percent survival rate through the winter.” During the winter of ’07, his data suggest only 11 percent of the chipmunks survived but…. only 9 eastern chipmunks concentrated to a small geographical area in NY were radio collared for his study. Another study by David Inouye found that some species of chipmunk were hibernating longer. And… Murray Humphries suggested that the colder temps of our last few winters actually benefitted a few species that were able to conserve more energy because…. “The colder a hibernator can get, the more energy it can save.”
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:03 PM   #7
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I don't think chipmunks are in any danger of becoming rare. There are years where you can not move in the nature centers without encountering a chipmunk. Bloody buggers can be annoying and aggressive. I don't think people scare them at all...lol
Again I think it was mentioned to note that other species may have a common problem with less time in hibernation. Something to investigate.
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