least chipmunk

(Neotamias minimus)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

least chipmunk

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common

Habitat

Edges, openings, clearcuts, and disturbed areas within coniferous and mixed forests

Lifespan

10 years

   
          Photo by Ramona Abrego
Size

Total length: 7¼ to 8¾ (185 to 222 mm)

Head and body: 3 to 4½ (93 to 114 mm)

Tail: 3 to 4½ (76 to 114 mm)

 
Identification

Least chipmunk is the most widespread and also the smallest of the North American chipmunks. In Canada it occurs from Ontario to Yukon Territory. In the United States it occurs west of the Great Plains and in the upper Great Lakes region. In Minnesota it occurs in the Arrowhead and north-central regions and is absent from the remainder of the state. There are 21 subspecies of least chipmunk. Only one, Neotamias minimus neglectus, occurs in Minnesota. It is found at the edges and in the openings, clearcuts, and disturbed areas of coniferous and mixed forests.

The adult is 7¼ to 8¾ (185 to 222 mm) long and weighs 1.48 to 1.87 ounces (42 to 53 grams). It weighs about half as much as an eastern chipmunk. The coat (pelage) on the sides is reddish-brown in the front, grayish brown in the rear. The rump is grayish-brown. The belly is grayish-white. There are five dark brown or black stripes on the back separated by white or cream-colored stripes. The middle stripe stretches from the nape of the neck to the base of the tail. On each side of the face there are three dark brown stripes separated by two white or cream-colored stripes. The facial stripes are well defined and highly visible. The tail is 3 to 4½ (76 to 114 mm) long, orangish-brown, and bushy.

 
Sign  
 
Similar
Species

 

 
Food

Seeds, nuts, fruits, acorns, snails, insect eggs and larvae, and small birds and mammals

 
Life Cycle

Least chipmunk nests under stumps, logs, and rocks. It winters in a burrow it digs that reaches up to one meter underground.

 
Behavior

When running it holds its tail erect.

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 6, 15, 24, 29, 30.

The map at left includes all iNaturalist observations except for a questionable observation in Chisago County and a clearly misidentified observation in Hennepin County.

 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Order:

Rodentia (rodents)

 

Suborder:

Sciuromorpha (squirrels)

 

Family:

Sciuridae (chipmunks, marmots, squirrels)

 

Subfamily:

Xerinae (marmots, ground squirrels, African squirrels, and relatives)

 

Tribe:

Marmotini (ground squirrels)

 

Subtribe:

Tamiina (chipmunks)

 

Genus:

Neotamias

 
Subordinate Taxa

Chuska Mountain chipmunk (Neotamias minimus chuskaensis)

flathead least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus oreocetes)

least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus arizonensis)

least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus borealis)

least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus cacodemus)

least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus caniceps)

least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus caryi)

least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus confinis)

least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus consobrinus)

least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus grisescens)

least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus hudsonius)

least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus jacksoni)

least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus minimus)

least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus neglectus)

least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus operarius)

least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus pallidus)

least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus pictus)

least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus scrutator)

least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus silvaticus)

Penasco least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus atristriatus)

Selkirk least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus selkirki)

 
Synonyms

Eutamias minimus

Tamias minimus

 
Common
Names

least chipmunk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Pelage

The coat of a mammal, consisting of fur, wool, or hair, and including a soft undercoat and stiff guard hairs.

       
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  least chipmunk   least chipmunk
       
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Oct 1, 2012

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- western chipmunk, Neotamias minimus, least chipmunk, tamia mineur, tamia minore, chipmunk nano, wangzakeekhoorn, aardeekhoorn, eekhoornmarmot, chipmunk

Least chipmunks are the smallest of all chipmunks. It is the most widespread species of chipmunk in North America. The least chipmunk is found in a variety of habitats and is active during the day . Chipmunks feed on seeds, berries, nuts, fruits and insects. They store food in an underground burrow, where they spend the winter. These animals go into a state of torpor for extended periods of time, but do not hibernate. They breed in early spring. Females produce one litter usually of 5 or 6 young.

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Ramona Abrego
4/26/2015

Location: Cook County Gunflint Trail

least chipmunk


Ramona Abrego

Location: Cook County

least chipmunk


     
     
 
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Created: 7/8/2020

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