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Eastern chipmunk -Tamias striatus

Have you ever wondered why all those flower bulbs that you planted last week with such care have now pulled off a disappearing act to rival that of a master magician? Maybe your new seedlings are now merely seedless stems? There’s no need to call the crime scene investigators. Chances are good that the crooks in these particular cases have the most adorable faces to ever adorn a wanted poster. It’s a good time to put these likely culprits — eastern chipmunks — behind bars, so they can be safely relocated to a more natural habitat.

Weighing in around three ounces and measuring nearly six inches in length, eastern chipmunks are small, ground-dwelling squirrels with tan-and-black stripes running the length of their back. Active during the day, it’s not unusual to observe a chipmunk with visibly bulging cheeks; they’re probably carrying a mouthful of food back to their burrow for storage. When alarmed, they have a distinct, high-pitched and repetitive chirp alerting their neighbors to threats. Abundant throughout much of the country, the eastern chipmunk normally dwell in mature forests, but they’re more than comfortable adapting to areas around suburban homes.

Wood and brush piles, stumps, basements and garages provide ideal concealment for burrows that serves as the operating bases for these small mammals, wi th an average life span of three years. Generally emerging from a light hibernation in early- to mid-March, eastern chipmunks mate twice yearly, with up to five young can be born in each litter.

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