Cheek-Stuffing Chipmunks


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As seasons shift and winter draws near, chipmunks scamper about and gather food to carry back to burrows for safe-keeping. Chipmunks are lively omnivores and feed on nuts, berries, grain, seeds and insects. They forage on the ground near a protective log or bush and stuff their bounty into large, pudgy cheek pouches. 


Check out this adorable YouTube video of a chipmunk tucking peanuts away in his cheeks:



But chipmunks differ from many other hibernating species (like bears) in that they don’t store fat. Instead, chipmunks survive through the long winter months with a blend of hibernation and food storage. Periodically, a chipmunk’s body temperature drops and he will become inactive for several hours or a few days at most. When not in torpor, the chipmunk will gnaw away at his fall food bounty. On a mild day, he may even leave his safe place in search for more rations.


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Depending on the species of chipmunk and habitat, chipmunks live in elaborate underground burrows, nests, logs and bushes. Most are active only during the daytime.


Did you know? There are 25 species of chipmunks, and 24 of them are found in North America! Learn more fun animal facts by following @natgeowild on Twitter and by searching the #DYK hashtag. 



Photo Credit: Jodi Kendall