: any of a genus (Tamias) of small striped North American and Asian rodents of the squirrel family
Origin of CHIPMUNK
alteration of earlier chitmunk,
probably from Ojibwa ačitamo·nʔ
First Known Use: 1832
chipmunk noun (Concise Encyclopedia)
Any of 17 species of terrestrial rodents in the squirrel family. The eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus), found in eastern North America, is 5.5–7.5 in. (14–19 cm) long, excluding a bushy, 3–4-in. (8–10-cm) tail. It is reddish brown with five black stripes alternating with two brown and two white stripes. The other species (all in the genus Eutamia) are found in western North America and central and eastern Asia. They are smaller and have different stripe patterns. Chipmunks are active burrow dwellers that eat primarily seeds, berries, and tender plants. They store seeds underground, carrying them in roomy cheek pockets. Their call is a shrill chirring or chipping sound.
Eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus).—Ken Brate/Photo Researchers
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