Alpine Chipmunks are a species of chipmunks which are found in higher elevation above 2300m to 3900m. They are small grey chipmunks with a lighter shade of strips on their back and shorter tail. Alpine chipmunks are active diurnal animal and hibernate during the winters. They store their food for the winter hibernation. Alpine chipmunks were first reported by Marriam in the year 1893.
Alpine chipmunks are species of chipmunks. They are small grey animal with dark and light strips on their cheeks and four strips on their back. The outer strips on their body are reddish while the inner ones are blackish.
Picture 1 – Alpine Chipmunk
Length: an average male Alpine chipmunk has a length of 174mm and a female of about 177mm.
Weight: the weight of an alpine chipmunk ranges from 27.5g to 45.5g.
Alpine chipmunks are diurnal, but during summer they exhibit nocturnal activity. They hibernate during the months of November through April and occasionally come out to eat. Their cheeks can expand thrice the size of its head, hence they collect their food in their cheek pouch and store in the burrow for winter hibernation.
Alpine chipmunks are limited to Sierra Nevada of California and Yosemite National Park.
Alpine chipmunks inhabit the high elevated areas from 2300m to 3900m. They are rare in areas below 2500m altitude. They are common in rocky areas, rock-bordered meadows, slopes and rockslides.
Alpine chipmunks nests in crevices between the rocks. The breeding season starts in early spring. They give birth to its young ones in June and July in a litter of 3 to 6, after a gestation period of a month. The young ones remain in the burrow for about 6 weeks till they become mature enough to gather their own food.
Alpine chipmunks require a good source of food and can do without water supply. Their diet includes seeds of sedges, pines, small alpine plants, fruits, berries, forbs, fungi and grasses.
The average lifespan of an Alpine chipmunk in the wild is about 2 to 5 years.
Alpine chipmunks hibernate from November till April. They come out periodically to eat. During hibernation, the Alpine chipmunks do not store layer of fat, instead they forage on seeds accumulated during the summer.
Picture 2 – Alpine Chipmunk Photo
The predators of the Alpine chipmunks include foxes, hawks, weasels, bobcats, raptors, snakes and coyotes.
Alpine Chipmunk as Pet
Alpine chipmunks are tiny cute animals and it is definitely tempting to keep them as pet. There are few of the things to keep in mind while keeping an alpine chipmunk or the other species of chipmunks.
Alpine chipmunks are an active animal and they like to run and play around. Since they hibernate, they like to hide and store their food; therefore, their cage should be spacious and a place to hide themselves. The cage should be at least 6 feet by 6 feet by 4 feet. Wood flakes and pine shedding can be placed inside the cage as bedding.
Alpine chipmunks relish nuts. However, it is advisable not to feed them too many as they are high on fats. Pet chipmunks can be fed on berries, carrot, turnip, meat pieces, apples and fruits. Water can be kept in a rodent drip bottle.
While buying a chipmunk, it is better to buy two or three of them since they like to stay in a company. Just keep them on your shoulder or palm and pat their back if you want to cuddle them.
Their cage needs to be cleaned every fortnight. They are clean animal and would clean their fur themselves. They like chewing twigs to keep their teeth sharp.
Where to buy alpine chipmunk
You can buy them from a pet store, a local breeder or from an animal rescuer. It is advised to buy a healthy one which is about 6 to 8 weeks old. A healthy chipmunk would be active and with fine coat.
Alpine chipmunks are found in Sierra Nevada and Yomesite.
Alpine chipmunks are smaller species of chipmunks with less contrasting strips.
They are adapted to the rocky alpine regions.
They are found in elevated areas above 2300m to 3900m.
Alpine chipmunks carry their food in their cheek pouches and carry them to their burrow. They can carry eight to nine nuts at a time in their cheek pouch.
Their cheeks can expand up to three times its head size.
Alpine chipmunks store their food for winters instead of storing food as body fat for hibernation.
They hibernate from November to April.
They store up to eight pounds of food in their burrow.
Alpine chipmunk like the other chipmunks, mates during early spring.
They are very active in the morning and evening.
They weigh about 80g.
They are diurnal but have nocturnal activity during summers.
They give birth to 3 to 6 young ones.
Damage and Prevention
Chipmunks can cause damage by burrowing holes on structures, consuming seeds and flower buds. It can be prevented by:
Rodent proof construction.
Storing of the food items like seeds in a rodent proof container.
Repellents like Naphthalene maybe effective.
Snap traps can be used.
Alpine chipmunks are not currently threatened. Local regulations and law maybe applied but there is no federal law to protect them. Alpine chipmunks are categorized under the least concern by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Here are some of the pictures of this cute animal.