Chipmunk with Stuffed Cheeks
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Why Do Chipmunks Have Full Cheeks?

Chipmunks are well-known for their full, round cheeks. But they’re more than just a cute feature; these pouches are essential in the wilderness. They are a practical adaptation tools that helps them thrive and survive.

Understanding chipmunks with full cheeks can help us learn more about their behavior, diet, and habitat. Let’s look at how they use them to their advantage.

Key Pest Points:

•  Chipmunks have full cheeks to help them store food for later.
• These pouches also transport food and materials back to the burrow.
• During winter, chipmunks rely on stored food to survive while in winter torpor.

Functions of Chipmunk Cheeks

Chipmunks have cheek pouches that allow them to store and transport large amounts of food. These are lined with muscle and expand to accommodate the gathered food.

After the chipmunk’s face is full, it carefully packs away its food into convenient pouches, and it can return home to stash them in its cozy den for a snack later.

Chipmunks rely on their handy pouches to stockpile food during the plentiful fall months, so there has plenty of sustenance to keep them going through winter when they are in torpor. With this unique adaptation, chipmunks can continue to thrive in the wild.

DID YOU KNOW? 

Chipmunk cheek pouches are incredibly stretchy and can expand up to three times their normal size. They are designed to carry food and accommodate up to 12 acorns!

Where Do Chipmunks Store Their Food?

We’ve learned that chipmunks use their big cheeks to store and transport food, but where do they keep the food that they have collected? Most of the time, chipmunks will take them back to their dens or underground burrows.

Once they are in a safe place, chipmunks will empty their cheek pouches into a storage chamber, which will protect their goods from other animals who might steal their reserves for the colder weather.

To prepare for the winter, they can hold up to 8 pounds of seeds, which will then be eaten throughout the winter months when food is scarce.

What Do Chipmunks Eat?

Chipmunks are hungry little omnivores who love to snack on a diverse menu of nuts, fruits, seeds, bugs, and even the occasional reptile or amphibian. Whether crunchy acorns or wriggling critters, these foragers ensure their bellies stay full.

In the wild, chipmunks are impressive gatherers. They will look for acorns, berries, mushrooms, flowers, insects, and bird eggs to feast on.

But in captivity, chipmunks have different dietary needs. They often have a diet of grains and vegetables supplemented with occasional treats like peanut butter or boiled eggs. It really all depends on the pet owners. With such an extensive menu, it’s no wonder chipmunks need their big cheeks to store their favorite treats.

Chipmunk with full cheeks stuffed with nuts

Preventing Chipmunks from Eating Your Garden

Chipmunks are attracted to gardens and yards because these areas provide them with a lot of food. You must proactively protect your plants to keep chipmunks from eating your garden produce. Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Keeping chipmunks away from your garden doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience – you can use a blend of aromatic ingredients such as garlic, cayenne pepper, and ammonia for natural chipmunk repellent.
  • Removing food like bird feeders and fallen fruits will stop them from making your property into their pantry.
  • Ensuring that your outdoor areas are clean and clutter-free will help stop chipmunks making a home in your yard.
  • Installing a humane chipmunk trap can also be an effective way to safely remove them without hurting the animal.
  • Filling in chipmunk holes and tunnels will help prevent them from setting up a den in your yard and damaging your foundation.

Chipmunks are amazing animals that have evolved to survive in the wild. By understanding their biology, we can help make sure their species survive.

Chipmunk with full cheeks

FAQ

Do chipmunks stuff their cheeks with food?

During the summer, chipmunks become crafty “shoppers,” filling their incredible cheek pouches with enough food to last them through winter.

Is the female chipmunk bigger than the male?

No, there isn’t any difference in their sizes. Chipmunks typically measure between 8 to 10 inches long (tail included) and usually weigh 2 to 5 ounces. Both males and females sport a white underside with two distinct stripes above and below their eyes – the perfect camouflage for blending into their environments.

Are chipmunks friendly to humans?

Chipmunks may seem like friendly, but don’t let them fool you! They can quickly become aggressive if they feel threatened. It’s best to leave them alone rather than try and remove or pet them.

Do chipmunks serve any purpose?

Chipmunks are more than just tree-climbing critters; they play an essential role in maintaining the health of forests. While searching for food, chipmunks can be found looking for seeds and insects along the ground and harvesting a particular type of fungi that live around tree roots – helping promote growth by spreading fungus spores and seeds.

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