Fisher’s eastern chipmunk

(Tamias striatus fisheri)


This is a small, moderately heavy-set sciurid with prominent longitudinal stripes. The median black stripe has wide gray stripes on each side and more stripes outside these, from between the ears to the rump. The face, rump, sides and feet are russet red and they have prominent eyes. The facial stripes distinguish it from most mammals in the range. They have large internal cheek pouches. The total length of this species is 8-10 inches and it weighs from 2.3 to 4.5 ounces. T.s. fisheri has paler sides and cheeks, and is more yellowish. There are 1-2 litters born per year of 4-5 young each. They hibernate underground from mid-November to early February in Virginia. They are strictly diurnal, with mid-morning and mid-afternoon activity peaks. This species lives 3 or more years in the wild.


Throughout the state, but rare or absent in many of the coastal plain counties, especially the extreme southeast counties. This species prefers open hardwood forests, brushlands, outbuildings, rubbish heaps, rocky ground, logs and stone walls.


This species stores its food in burrow, sometimes called larder hoarding, to eat while underground during the winter. In the spring and summer months, chipmunks eat many kinds of wild fruit and the foliage and flowers of certain plants such as dandelion blossoms, willow buds, mushrooms, etc. Insects (beetles, grasshoppers, grubs) are frequently eaten also.