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Scientific classification

Many: see text

Chipmunk is the common name for any small squirrel-like rodent species of the genus Tamias in the family Sciuridae.

About twenty-five species fall under this title, native to Europe, Asia and North America. The common species of the United States is the Eastern chipmunk Tamias striatus.

The name stems from the loud chip sound that they make, in addition to a rapid trill sound. They are also called the striped squirrel or ground squirrel. However, the name "ground squirrel" is more usually kept for the genus Spermophilus - though Tamias and Spermophilus are only two of the 13 genera of ground-living sciurids.

Though they are commonly depicted with their paws up to the mouth, eating peanuts, or more famously their cheeks bulging out on either side, chipmunks eat a much more diverse range of foods than just nuts. Their omnivorious diet consists of grain, nuts, birds' eggs, and insects. Come autumn, many species of chipmunk begin to stockpile these goods in their burrows, for winter. Other species make multiple small caches of food. These two kinds of behavior are called larder hoarding and scatter hoarding. Larder hoarders usually live in their nests until spring.

Least Chipmunk, Tamias minimus

Species of chipmunk include:

Pop Culture References

Chipmunk, Western Canada, Rocky Mountains

In 1958 Ross Bagdasarian (using the stage name David Seville, named after Seville, Spain) released "The Chipmunk Song" ("Christmas, Don't Be Late"), a sped-up recording of himself performing three-part harmony. The resulting high-pitched cartoony voices were named "Alvin", "Simon", and "Theodore" after executives at the record company which published the record. "The Chimpunk Song" went on to win two Grammy Awards and in 1961 lead to an animated television series, The Alvin Show. The characters substaintially regained popularity in the early 1980s with a new series, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and several direct-to-video releases in the 1990s, with Ross Bagdasarian Jr providing the voices of Dave, Alvin, and Simon, and Janice Karman as Theodore.

In Disney's animated movie The Emperor's New Groove, character Krunk regularly converses with chipmunks, in their language of squeaks.

The De Havilland Chipmunk is a military training aircraft