How Completely different Are They Precisely

Squirrels and chipmunks are each members of the squirrel household, Sciuridae. Prairie canines, woodchucks, and marmots are additionally within the squirrel household. Though squirrels and chipmunks are intently associated, householders ought to know their variations in case both rodent comes onto their property.  

Hold studying to study the important thing variations between squirrels and chipmunks in appearances, habitats, diets, mating habits, lifespans, identified predators, and damaging traits. 

Variations Between Their Look

The commonest number of squirrels in North America is the grey squirrel. Reasonably than really being grey, their coat is a combination of blacks, whites, and browns.  They typically develop to round 18 to twenty inches lengthy and weigh round a pound-and-a-half.

Chipmunks are tan-colored with 5 distinguished black or dark-brown stripes working down their sides and again.  They’ve light-colored underbellies and brown ft. In distinction to the bigger squirrel, chipmunks develop to eight to 10 inches and weigh round 2 and 1/2 to 4 ounces.

Chipmunks have distinct stripes, so that you’ll by no means mistake them for a squirrel. However, squirrels lack stripes and are considerably bigger.

Variations Between Their Habitat

Squirrels can survive in forests, open woodlands, parklands, suburban settings, and even densely populated city environments akin to New York Metropolis.


Squirrels normally stay in holes left in bushes by woodpeckers, increasing them as they see match. Their nests comprise twigs, leaves, moss, and different supplies, they usually want to stay excessive up in bushes.

Whereas chipmunks stay in woodland, parkland, suburban, and concrete areas like squirrels, their optimum habitat is deciduous woodlands that comprise quite a lot of stumps and logs.

The rationale for that is chipmunks usually stay in burrows within the floor, a few of which might turn out to be a posh system of tunnels and meals storage areas.  They normally have a central nest crammed with leaves and moss.

Learn extra: Learn to eliminate chipmunks.

Variations Between Their Diets

The first food plan of most squirrels is “mast” (the fruit and nuts of bushes).  They like acorns from oak bushes and nuts from beech bushes and hickories. Squirrels additionally eat different sorts of meals, akin to mushrooms, flowers and buds, and plant shoots. They don’t hibernate and stay lively all winter, counting on their fats reserves and cached mast shops to outlive the chilly season.

Chipmunks, then again, are omnivorous. They’ll eat absolutely anything, together with backyard greens, berries, fruit, roots, corn, seeds, and mushrooms. They’ll additionally eat bugs, earthworms, snails, chicken’s eggs, frogs, salamanders, small snakes, younger birds, and mice.

From mid-summer to October, chipmunks collect as a lot meals as doable, storing it of their burrows. Though they don’t hibernate like a bear, they go right into a state of torpor, fluctuating backwards and forwards between sleep and grogginess once they eat their saved provides.

The primary dietary distinction is that squirrels give attention to tree mast like acorns and nuts, whereas chipmunks are omnivorous and eat varied meals, together with bugs and small animals. Each collect and cache meals for the winter months.

Learn extra: Learn to eliminate squirrels.

Variations Between Replica

Squirrels mate twice a 12 months — as soon as round January, with a litter born someday in March, then in Might or June, with the litter born in July or August. A 3rd mating could happen when meals is especially plentiful that 12 months.

Chipmunks have the same mating cycle, breeding in early spring and once more in mid-summer if meals provides allow. The gestation interval for chipmunks is 31 days, they usually give beginning to litters of 4 to 5 younger.

Each squirrels and chipmunks can have two to 3 litters per 12 months beneath optimum situations. The primary distinction is that chipmunk litters are smaller, whereas squirrels could have as much as eight younger.

Variations Between Their Lifespans

Within the wild, squirrels usually stay round six years, whereas chipmunks common two to 3 years. With perfect habitat situations and no predators, squirrels could attain 10 to 12 years and chipmunks 5 to 6 years.

Domesticated squirrels saved as pets usually exceed 12 years. In optimum circumstances, squirrels usually outlive chipmunks by a number of years.

Variations Between Identified Predators

Squirrels and chipmunks share most of the similar pure predators. Hawks, owls, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, snakes, weasels, martens, and different mammals prey on each species.

Nevertheless, squirrels have a bonus that chipmunks lack — the power to flee by leaping and climbing bushes. Because of this, chipmunks are extra susceptible to land-bound predators like foxes, coyotes, raccoons, and snakes.

So, whereas they share most of the similar predators, chipmunks are extra susceptible to land predation attributable to their incapability to climb bushes.

Variations Between Their Damaging Traits

Each squirrels and chipmunks could cause injury round properties by digging beneath porches or decks or nesting in attics. Nevertheless, squirrels are extra susceptible to coming into homes seeking shelter.


Concerning gardens and landscaping, squirrels trigger extra injury by digging up flower bulbs and consuming rising vegetation. Chipmunks focus extra on seeds and fruits.

Squirrels additionally aggressively harvest mast from bushes, generally stripping branches and hampering nut manufacturing. They’re additionally extra doubtless than chipmunks to chew on out of doors fixtures, wires, and infrastructure.

So in terms of being a nuisance round properties, squirrels are usually extra problematic attributable to their burrowing habits and tree mast foraging.

Variations in Pest Management Strategies

For each squirrels and chipmunks, exclusion is the primary line of protection. Sealing off entry factors to the house with wire mesh, caulk, or different supplies can forestall pest infestations.

Trapping and removing could also be required as soon as they acquire entry. For chipmunks, baiting with peanuts or sunflower seeds works nicely. Squirrels are harder to entice and may have extra pungent bait.

Lastly, inhabitants administration by means of habitat modification could make a property much less engaging. For squirrels, this contains eradicating birdfeeders and trimming again branches. For chipmunks, get rid of rock piles, brush, and log particles close to the house.

So, whereas exclusion and trapping are efficient for each, the bait and habitat preferences differ barely between these rodents.

So, Are Squirrels and Chipmunks the Similar?

Whereas squirrels and chipmunks share a household lineage and have some similarities, they’re distinctly completely different rodents. Probably the most noticeable variations are their dimension and markings. Squirrels lack stripes and are a lot bigger than chipmunks.

Additionally they differ in most popular habitats and diets. Squirrels stay in bushes and eat mast, whereas chipmunks dig burrows and are omnivorous. As well as, squirrels are likely to stay longer and be extra problematic round properties.

The underside line is that squirrels and chipmunks could seem alike at first look however have distinct traits when noticed extra intently. Householders coping with nuisance rodents can inform them aside and management them accordingly.

FAQs About Squirrels and Chipmunks

How are you going to inform a squirrel vs a chipmunk?

The best approach is by taking a look at their dimension and stripes. Chipmunks are small with distinguished stripes, whereas squirrels are bigger and lack stripes.

Do squirrels and chipmunks get alongside?

Squirrels and chipmunks usually ignore one another, although squirrels could prey on younger chipmunks. They don’t instantly compete for sources.

What’s the squirrel’s greatest predator?

Hawks, owls, snakes, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, and weasels all prey on squirrels. Their greatest risk comes from raptors like hawks and owls.

Do chipmunks carry illness?

Chipmunks can carry ailments like plague and pox viruses. However, the chance of transmitting the illness to people may be very low.

How lengthy do chipmunks stay as pets?

Domesticated chipmunks saved as pets could stay as much as eight years, twice so long as within the wild. Correct food plan and housing are required.

Why do squirrels destroy gardens?

Squirrels dig up newly planted bulbs and seeds seeking meals. Additionally they eat ripening fruit and veggies. Utilizing fencing and repellents will help deter them.

Are you able to get sick from chipmunk droppings?

Contemporary chipmunk droppings aren’t more likely to trigger sickness. Nevertheless, amassed previous droppings in an attic could pose a well being threat from micro organism.

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