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.
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.
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.
The Siberian chipmunk has become known as pets or companions, but needs a lot of room for climbing and should have covered space to retreat. They are less active in winter but usually do not fall into winter sleep in heated rooms in captivity. Siberian chipmunks often live 6-10 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.
- Tsytsulina, K., Formozov, N., Shar, S., Lkhagvasuren, D. & Sheftel, B. (2008). Tamias sibiricus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 8 January 2009.
- Tamias (Eutamias) sibiricus, Mammal Species of the World, 3rd ed.
- MacDonald, David; Priscilla Barret (1993). Mammals of Britain & Europe 1. London: HarperCollins. p. 230. ISBN 0-00-219779-0.