Siberian chipmunk

Siberian chipmunk
Siberian chipmunk
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Eutamias
Species: E. sibiricus
Binomial name
Eutamias sibiricus
(Laxmann, 1769)
  • sibiricus
  • asiaticus
  • lineatus
  • okadae
  • ordinalis
  • orientalis
  • pallasi
  • senescens
  • umbrosus

Tamias sibiricus Laxmann, 1769

The Siberian chipmunk or Common Chipmunk is a chipmunk which occurs across northern Asia from central Russia to China, Korea, and Hokkaidō in northern Japan. The only chipmunk found outside North America, it is classed either as the only living member of the genus Eutamias, or a member of a genus including all chipmunks, Tamias. It lives in woodland habitats with a bushy understory.



Siberian chipmunk with its long tail clearly visible

Typical for the Siberian chipmunk are the five white and dark stripes along the back. It is 18–25 cm long, of which a third is the tail. The weight of adults depends on the time of year, and is normally 50–150 grams. The Siberian chipmunk is relatively small compared to other Sciuridae, such as the Red Squirrel. Its dental formula is:


Its foes include birds of prey, mustelids, and cats. In rare cases, Siberian chipmunks may spread diseases such as rabies by biting other animals or humans.

It has colonised parts of eastern and central Europe due to escapes from captivity, and has recently become widespread in Belgium; there are also recent reports from Ireland.


The Siberian chipmunk is a diurnal species, which lives in coniferous and mixed forests with bushy understory. It is a good climber, but stays mostly on the ground. It has a burrow, which can be 2.5 m long and 1.5 m deep. A burrow consists of a nest chamber, several storage chambers and chambers for the waste. The Siberian chipmunk lives in loose colonies, where every individual has its own territory. The territory ranges from 700 to 4000 m and is larger for females than males and is also larger in autumn than spring. The Siberian chipmunk marks its territory with urine, but also with oral glands on its cheeks. In contrast to its solitary life it rests in pairs in winter and lives from the contents of its storage chambers. It feeds on shrubs, mushrooms, berries, birds, and other small animals.[3]

Mating begins after the winter rest in April. After mating it returns to its solitary life. Gestation ranges from 35 to 40 days and four to sometimes 10 cubs are born.[3]


The Siberian chipmunk has become a pet, but needs a lot of room for climbing and should have covered space to retreat. They are less active in winter but normally do not fall into winter sleep in heated rooms in captivity. Siberian chipmunks often live 6 to 10 or even more years. Most animals also born in captivity become tame to a certain degree.

Pet chipmunks enjoy nuts, fruits, vegetables, and rodent lab blocks.


  1. ^ Tsytsulina, K., Formozov, N., Shar, S., Lkhagvasuren, D. & Sheftel, B. (2008). Tamias sibiricus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 8 January 2009.
  2. ^ Tamias (Eutamias) sibiricus, Mammal Species of the World, 3rd ed.
  3. ^ a b MacDonald, David; Priscilla Barret (1993). Mammals of Britain & Europe. 1. London: HarperCollins. p. 230. ISBN 0002197790. 

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