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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Beauty Gray-collared Chipmunk

Beauty Of Animal | The Beauty Gray-collared Chipmunk  | Description Dark, grayish, with paler gray neck and shoulders. Prominently gray cheeks, upper back, and shoulders are unique among chipmunks. 5 well-defined black or brown stripes and 4 pale stripes usually present on back; outer stripes may be hard to discern. L 8 1/4–9 7/8" (208–250 mm); T 3 1/8–4 1/2" (80–115 mm); HF 1 1/4–1 3/8" (32–36 mm); Wt 2–3 oz (57–85 g).

Similar Species No other chipmunk has gray cheeks. Gray-footed Chipmunk has paler sides and browner outer back stripes. Least Chipmunk is smaller and less gray; lacks gray "collar." Cliff and Merriam’s chipmunks have indistinct striping on back. Colorado Chipmunk has gray only on shoulders.

Breeding Apparently mates late April–early May; gestation is at least 30 days. 1 litter per year of 4–6 young is born June–July and is aboveground by late July. Young begin eating solid food at 36–40 days and are weaned at 41–45 days. Habitat Ponderosa pine forests extending into spruce forests, especially around logs near clearings.

Range East-central Arizona and sw New Mexico.

Discussion The common and Latin species names of this small chipmunk refer to its pale gray "collar." Although the Gray-collared stores food prior to winter, it may or may not hibernate. If it occurs, hibernation is short, extending from late November to mid-March. The diverse diet of this species includes acorns, Douglas-fir seeds, currants, gooseberries, green vegetation, insects, and mushrooms and other fungi. A good climber, the Gray-collared Chipmunk is often seen in dense foliage. Its nests are located under logs, stumps, or roots, or in tree hollows. One chipmunk’s nest was found in a woodpecker hole.
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