Difference Between Chipmunk and Gopher (With Table)

Our world displays significant biodiversity. We have several varieties of flora and fauna. They are classified into division, kingdom, class, order, family, species, and genus. Mammals, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, etc., are the different kinds of animals.

Each animal has characteristics that differentiate it from others. Chipmunk and gopher are types of rodents. Rodents are mammals and prove to be the largest group of mammals. They are known for their growing incisors. Rodents are found in almost all habitats around the world, except New Zealand and few other ocean islands. Mice, squirrels, beavers, hamsters, rabbits, etc., are few examples of rodents.

Chipmunk vs Gopher

The difference between chipmunk and gopher is that chipmunk is a rodent that belongs to the Sciuridae family and is a small animal with dark or light stripes, whereas gopher is a rodent that belongs to the Geomyidae family that has cheek pouches and lined fur.

Chipmunk is a rodent that belongs to the Sciuridae family and is small in size, has dark or light stripes on its body with a long bushy tail. They dig holes in the ground and hence are called burrowing rodents. They are known to create a small hole in their entrance. Chipmunks are usually active during the day and also sometimes in the dark. They are known to be very vocal as they make high-pitched chirps.

Gophers are rodents that belong to the Geomyidae family. They are known to have a stockier body with check pouches and lined fur; black, brown, or gray fur. Gophers are burrowing rodents as they create holes in the ground; they are known to create a honeycomb pattern in their hole. They are only active during the day and rarely make any sound. They are active throughout the year and do not hibernate.

Comparison Table Between Chipmunk and Gopher

 Parameters of Comparison Chipmunk Gopher
 Definition A small rodent with dark or light stripes on its body A little stockier rodent with cheek pouches and lined fur.
 Family Family Sciuridae Family Geomyidae
 Native to Asia and North America Central and North America
 Burrow type A small hole in their burrow entrance Creates a pattern like a honeycomb.
 Vocalization Vocal animals; make a high-chirping sound. Not very vocal, as they rarely make any sound.
 Active During Active during the day and sometimes in the dark as well and hibernate during the winters Only active during the day and do not hibernate.
 Food Habits Omnivore  Herbivore

What is Chipmunk?

Chipmunks are rodents that are a type of mammals; Rodents are the largest group of mammals. Chipmunks belong to the Sciuridae family, kingdom Animalia and Phylum chordate. Chipmunks are may be classified and have adopted their genera – Tamias striatus (eastern chipmunk), Eutamaias sibiricus (Siberian chipmunk), and Neotamias minimus (least chipmunk).

It was originally spelt as ‘chitimunk’ from native Ottawa derived from the word ‘jidmoonh,’ which means ‘red squirrel’ or literally “one who descends trees headlong,’ but later it was called chipmunk. There are nearly 25 species of chipmunks that have been identified.

They are small and have dark or light stripes on their body, have a bushy tail, and stubby legs. The color of the stripes can be brown, black, or white as well. They are native to Asia and North America. The eastern chipmunk is considered to be the biggest chipmunk. Chipmunks are called burrowing animals as they dig small holes in the land; they also build their nests on trees sometimes. They are active at the day and dusk and hibernate during the winters (western chipmunks do not hibernate). They almost look dead, and their heartbeat drops during hibernation. They stuff extra food in their pouches in cheeks and their burrows.

Chipmunks are known to be social animals and are omnivorous. They make high-pitched chirps (vocal animals). It is said that they give birth once or twice per year; matting happens in early spring and second in early summer, whereas western chipmunks breed once a year. Though small, they are said to help and contribute to the forest ecosystem. Their life span is generally three years, but few have been observed living for nine years (in captivity).

What is Gopher?

Gophers are rodents that belong to the mammalian class. Rodents are the largest group of mammals. Gophers belong to the Geomyidae family. They are part of the Animalia kingdom and phylum chordate. There are almost 35 species of gophers; native to central and North America. They are also known as pocket gophers. There are three categories that gophers can be divided into – Thomomys (western pocket gophers), Geomys (eastern pocket gophers), and pappogeomys.  

Gophers are small, furry animals with a stockier body. It has fur-lining and cheek pockets; they can be black, brown, or gray. Gophers have tiny small and eyes. They are called burrowing rodents as they are known for their tunneling activities; they build a hole in the pattern of a honeycomb, and their tunnels are shallow for forages. Gophers are not very vocal. They rarely make any sounds. They are active only during the day and throughout the year; they do not hibernate. It is not a very social animal but is known for sharing its burrows with other creatures. 

Gophers are herbivores that like consuming roots, tubes, and also the top portion of small plants. The male gophers are said to be larger (double the weight) than the female. They can live up to three years, but the maximum is considered to be five years. Gophers give birth three or more times per year.

Main Differences Between Chipmunk and Gopher

  1. A chipmunk is a small rodent with dark or light stripes on its body, whereas a gopher is a little stockier rodent with cheek pouches and lined fur.
  2. Chipmunk is from Family Sciuridae, whereas gopher is from family Geomyidae.
  3. Chipmunk is native to Asia and North America, whereas gopher is native to central and North America.
  4. Chipmunk builds a small hole in their burrow entrance, whereas gopher creates a pattern like a honeycomb.
  5. Chipmunks are vocal animals; they make a high-chirping sound, whereas gophers are not very vocal, as they rarely make any sound.
  6. Chipmunks are active during the day and sometimes in the dark as well and hibernate during the winters, whereas gophers are only active during the day and do not hibernate.
  7. Chipmunks are omnivores, whereas gophers are herbivores.

Conclusion

The main difference between the two is in their structure of the body and behavior. There might be many differences, but they still have a few similarities, and both contribute to the ecosystem in positive ways but also have negative effects.

They sometimes dig extensively, which can damage the farms or the utility lines and water pipes. You can call the assigned people to take care of it. Many such animal species are a part of our world and will continue to be until they get extinct.

References

  1. https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.2307/1936586
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018205007169
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