Difference Between Chipmunk and Squirrel (With Table)

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Squirrels are a few tiny mammals that can be found anywhere, right from urbanized locations till the forests. They are considered harmless and known to feed on plants and nuts

Squirrels have their existence marked more than 35 million years ago on earth. They belong to a family called Sciuridae; which includes small and medium-sized rodents.

The origin of squirrels can be attributed to America, Eurasia, and also Africa. This gives information that squirrels are almost everywhere in the world humans introduced squirrels to Australia

The squirrel family itself has many varieties, they are Tree Squirrels, Ground Squirrels, Chipmunks, marmots, flying squirrels, and prairie dogs. The appearance of Chipmunks and the squirrels – tree and ground is more or less similar.

There are many aspects of Chipmunks and Squirrels are similar; however, they are different from one another in many factors.

Chipmunk vs Squirrel

The difference between chipmunk and squirrel is that chipmunks are tiny mammals that have stripes in the back of the body till the head, while the squirrels are also small but do not have distinct stripes except for the ground squirrel which has stripes but not in the head.

The zoologists observed that both chipmunks and squirrels have big eyes and good vision. This is extremely important for tree-dwelling animals.


 

Comparison Table Between Chipmunk and Squirrel (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonChipmunkSquirrel
Spot on DifferenceChipmunks are small mammals in the Sciuridae family which has distinctive stripes from the back till head.Squirrels also belong to the Sciuridae family which has no stripes at all, except for ground squirrels which have stripes but not on the head.
Varieties/TypesChipmunks are of many varieties. But all the categories have similar qualities.There are three types of squirrels, one is the tree squirrel, ground squirrel and the last one is the flying squirrel.
Food PatternChipmunks are found eating nuts and seeds. Not only that, but they also eat almost everything, berries, eggs of insects, small snakes.Squirrels dwell on plants including nuts and seeds
Storage of FoodChipmunks have the habit of storing food for the winter period.Squirrels go on hibernation during winter, so it does not need any food storage.
HabitatChipmunks live in burrows in the groundSquirrels live in parklands, woodlands, and also in tree holes.

 

What is Chipmunk?

Chipmunks are small-sized rodents that belong to the Sciuridae family. The Chipmunks can be easily spotted, it has stripes from the back till the head.

They are small creatures that live up to 4 to 8 years in captivity. Chipmunks usually live in burrows in the ground, having said that they also live in parkland and woodlands.

Chipmunks eat almost everything that comes its way which is tiny and consumable. Zoologists claim that they eat nuts and seeds, apart from that they eat small eggs, small snakes, and also occasionally small birds too.

Chipmunks are responsible creatures; they collect and store food for the winter period. The burrows are mostly complicated tunnel structures that have a storage place which is meant especially for storing food.

Chipmunks are considered diurnal, meaning they sleep for more than 15 hours in a day. They are the smallest in the squirrel family but can dig burrows up to 4 metres deep and wide.

Chipmunks are not social animals; they interact only during the mating season. The mating season in the spring. Chipmunks hibernate and while they do, their heartbeat reduces from 350 beats per minute to 4 beats per minute.

They are indeed lovely to look t and many have the difficulty to spot which is a chipmunk and which is a squirrel.

 

What is Squirrel?

Squirrel is small-sized rodents that belong to the Sciuridae family. The squirrels are of three types: Tree squirrel, Ground Squirrel, and Flying Squirrel

The squirrels do not have stripes at the back except for the ground squirrel which has stripes but only on the back. Squirrels live in parklands and woodlands. It is mainly found that the squirrels live in tree holes.

Squirrels do not store any food for winter. They hibernate during the period and does not need the necessity of storing food.

Squirrels are good plant-eaters. They dwell on small plants, nuts, seeds.

There are more than 200 species of squirrels available on this earth. Squirrels have four front teeth which seem to be growing every year for about 6 inches. Tree squirrels tend to live along always except for the winter period where it joins others in their nest. It uses the teeth to bite food, an average squirrel requires a pound of food for a week.

Squirrels are prone to be attacked by other predators, it causes their death soon. They are indeed intelligent in this aspect from protecting themselves., they tend to eat rattle snake’s skin and chew them to get the snake perfume so that it can save itself from smell dependent hunting animals.


Main Differences Between Chipmunk and Squirrel

  1. Though both belong to the same Sciuridae family, they have a lot of differences among each other. The main difference between a chipmunk and the squirrel is the stripes, the chipmunks have stripes on the back of it till the head while the squirrels do not have stripes, the ground squirrel, of course, has stripes but not till the head.
  2. Chipmunks live in deep burrows under the ground. They make a very complex tunnel-like structure for its protection and storage of food. The Squirrels live in tree holes.
  3. Chipmunks store food for the winter period, while the chipmunks do not, it hibernates during that period making it unnecessary to store food.
  4. Chipmunks’ eating habit is quite different from the squirrels, they eat nuts, seeds, small eggs of insects and birds, small snakes and also small birds occasionally, while the squirrels rely on plants, seeds and nuts.
  5. The fundamental aspect of both differentiates them and easy to spot them, the tail; Chipmunks have a normal tail as compared to squirrels which have a bushy tail.

 

Conclusion

Chipmunk or the Squirrel is found anywhere, say in the back yard, the garden. To spot them and identify is a much-needed task, as the behaviour of the two is slightly different. Eating habits also differ. If the house has birds in the cage, chipmunks may be dangerous to them.

All said these two are small cute creatures with cute vocals. They are constantly living with the fear of getting hurt, but they live their life every minute. Squirrels are prone to hibernate during winter while chipmunks store food and sleep. They both are responsible for natural pollination too.


 

References

  1. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/group/chipmunks/
  2. https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/10-things-you-dont-know-about-chipmunks
  3. https://www.livescience.com/28182-squirrels.html