Squirrels and chipmunks sometimes get mistaken for each other, so let’s break things down to help you tell them apart.
Squirrels and chipmunks seem remarkably similar with their acorn-hoarding, tree-dwelling lifestyles and general furriness. The truth is that chipmunks and squirrels are different.
So how do you tell them apart, and are the differences more than skin profound? Let’s take a look. Keep reading for the differences between chipmunk vs squirrel.
Species and Habitat
Chipmunks and squirrels are two separate species of rodents known to have entirely overlapped characteristics. What is a Chipmunk? Chipmunk, or Tamias striatus, is found natively across North America and Europe.
What is a Squirrel? Squirrels, or Sciurus carolinensis, are only native to the New World.
Chipmunks create empty nests out of twigs, leaves, and moss, much sparser than the thickly built and insulated squirrel nest. The squirrel nest is often made of twigs, leaves, bark strips, moss, cloth, feathers, and paper. They are thicker than the chipmunk’s nest, providing excellent insulation and protection from cold and rain.
There are significant variations in size differences between chipmunks and squirrels depending on the species. In general, chipmunks are much smaller than squirrels and tend to measure between 4 and 8 inches, with tails nearly the same length.
Squirrels, but can range in size from 8 inches to two feet, depending on the species. Not only are squirrels much giant than chipmunks.
They also have a longer lifespan. They have an average of up to ten years in the wild compared to one to two years for chipmunks.
Regarding dietary habits, there are some distinguishing features between chipmunks and squirrels. Chipmunks enjoy a diverse menu containing both plant and animal matter. They are omnivorous, eating vegetation and small invertebrates such as insects, spiders, and larvae.
Additionally, they are avid seed eaters, hoarding and caching seeds to last through the winter. A majority of their diet still consists of predominately plant matter, however. Like chipmunks, squirrels are also avid seedeaters, so understanding the individual dietary habits of both depends on the location, season, and availability of food.
Chipmunks and squirrels behave similarly, but the two animals have different behavioral patterns. Chipmunks are more solitary animals and are primarily active during the day. Since they do not hibernate, they store food to help them survive in colder months.
On the other hand, squirrels are generally found in groups or with a family unit and are active during the day and the twilight hours. Squirrels hibernate and conserve energy by relying on fat stores they accumulate in autumn.
How Chipmunk vs Squirrel Differ
In conclusion, understanding the difference between a chipmunk and a squirrel will allow you to quickly identify these two common animals when you encounter them outdoors. To learn more about these two animals and their differences, look for more information on wildlife websites and blogs.
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