Chipmunk vs Squirrel Best 10 Main Differences Explained

Chipmunk vs Squirrel

Chipmunks belong to the squirrel family called the Sciuridae family. The Eastern chipmunk and Siberian chipmunk are the species of these chipmunks of the Sciuridae family with distinct stripes. The Eastern chipmunk possesses seven stripes on their backs. In comparison, other chipmunks have a reddish-brown body with dark brown stripes. There are almost five alternating stripes, including black and white stripes on the backs of these rodents. The coat color of Chipmunks varies from grayish brown to black and tawny. 

These small mammals possess short fur and smaller ears. Size chipmunks range between 16 and 30 centimeters. Its tail adds another 3 to 5 inches to body length. Chipmunks live in North America. Habitat chipmunks are present in deciduous forests, wooded areas, meadows, forest edges, and fields. Chipmunks store food for the winter season. These rodents also tend to stuff extra food to eat into their cheek pouches, storing it. The mating season of these small animals is between February to April and June to August. Chipmunks hibernate well, with an exception. Chipmunks eat insects, berries, nuts, etc. 

In contrast, Squirrels are medium-sized rodents that belong to the same family called the Sciuridae family. This squirrel family contains flying squirrels, tree squirrels, ground squirrels, prairie dogs, and other rodents. The tree squirrels are about 12 to 20 inches in body length and a tail. Furthermore, a tree squirrel with no stripes is larger than chipmunks and ground squirrels. Squirrels possess big bushy tails, rounded ears, seven dark brown stripes, and six tan stripes. The thirteen-lined ground squirrel has a long, streamlined bushy tail, giving it a dotted appearance. Squirrels spend the autumn season storing food; that’s why there is no need for hibernation over the cold season. Most squirrels live in shelter trees. 

Chipmunk vs Squirrel

Both squirrels and chipmunks are confused in various ways. For instance, squirrels and chipmunks are about the same size. Squirrels and chipmunks possess the same body shapes. Squirrels and chipmunks are omnivore species and eat berries, nuts, insects, young birds, etc. Both squirrels and chipmunks eat nuts. Instead of all this, there are several differences between chipmunks and squirrels. So, do chipmunks and squirrels mate? The interesting facts show that chipmunk and squirrel species barely deign to look at each other, going about their daily lives. 



Chipmunks possess a red or brown-colored body with white-colored belly. They have dark brown-colored striping down their backs, one set on each side containing two dark stripes with a white-colored stripe in the middle. 

Squirrels possess long bodies with large eyes and soft fine hairs. They have hind feet with five digits and forefeet with four digits. The claws are present on all terminal phalanges, except the thumb with a nail.

These small, striped rodents are present in North America, while the Siberian chipmunk was primarily present in Asia. Chipmunks live in a various habitats, including forest edges, areas of thick brush, deciduous forests, fields, meadows, and along fence lines.

According to the BBC, squirrels are present in almost all countries except Antarctica and Australia. These inhabit mature or nearly mature forests. Squirrels live in shelter trees, such as walnut, hickory, mulberry trees, oak, maple, and pecan.

The average body length of these animal species is between 10 and 18 centimeters, with the tails extending from 8 to 13 centimeters. They weigh between 28 and 142 grams.

The average body length of squirrels ranges from 38.1 to 50.8 centimeters, with the tails extending to 24.13 centimeters. They weigh between 0.45 and 0.68 kilograms.

Chipmunk species are not social animals, though you see them around each other. They do interact only during breeding season i.e., spring, keeping to themselves. These creatures spend most of their time foraging and are active at dawn and dusk. 

Squirrels are diurnal creatures, resting at night and gathering food during the day, unlike chipmunks. In addition, they do not hibernate and are less active during the winter season. These animals are active during the day, mainly in the late afternoon and in the morning. 

The Eastern chipmunks mate twice a year, meaning that once during early spring and then during July. The females with a gestation period of 31 days give birth to a litter of about eight to ten young ones that will grow and develop quickly. 

The squirrels reproduce by mating, giving birth to young ones. They can mate at the age of almost one year. Furthermore, the first mating season starts around the end of February or late winter, lasting until May.

These animal species emit various chirping sounds, consisting of a series of notes that repeat repeatedly. They can be for a few seconds also last for many minutes. These sounds are emitted at a frequency between 2.8 and 9.6 kHz. 

Squirrels also emit various alarm calls, including Quaas, modulated quaa-moans, moans, buzz Quaas, kuks, and buzzes. Buzzes are buzzing sounds that carry low amplitudes. They are only audible if you stand a few meters away from squirrel species.  

Chipmunks require a proper diet to survive like other species. Their diet includes grain, fruits, seeds, nuts, berries, small snakes, and insects. They hibernate but dip into the cache of seeds and nuts throughout the winter instead of storing fats.

Squirrels are omnivores, meaning they eat meat and plants. In addition, the primary diet of squirrels includes small animals, caterpillars, small insects, eggs, fruits, nuts, seeds, leaves, bark, corn, fungi, and young snakes.

Like other animals throughout the world, Chipmunk species live for a specific time. For instance, the Eastern chipmunks possess an average lifespan of about three years; in contrast, Siberian chipmunks can live for almost 10 years. 

At birth, the Gray squirrels have an average lifespan of 1 to 2 years, while the adult ones live for approximately six years. The maximum lifespan in the wild is 12 years, while in captivity is almost 20 years. 

They are considered an essential food source for various predators such as coyotes, rats, owls, bobcats, raccoons, weasels, foxes, snakes, house cats, and hawks. 

The natural predators of squirrels include weasels, raccoons, and coyotes. In addition, they are also the food of owls, falcons, hawks, and eagles. 

Although chipmunks are not extinct, they are not protected by federal laws. They are enlisted as the species of least concern.

The ground squirrels have no protection. However, the northern flying squirrel’s two subspecies are enlisted as endangered species. 


Sometimes people get confused and raise questions about chipmunk vs. squirrel to clear their minds. Therefore, the answers to some of those questions are as below;

Are chipmunks friendly?

Although these small creatures look adorable, they are not social and friendly. They can be dangerous sometimes and bite on being threatened. 

What’s bigger, a chipmunk or a squirrel?

Chipmunk species are about ten inches long, while ground squirrels are 6 to 12 inches long. We can differentiate these animals via stripe patterns.


Various animals are present throughout the world, all possessing unique identification characters discriminating against them. The same is the case with chipmunk vs. squirrel. This blog post has provided exciting facts and information to clarify people’s minds. It will help greatly if you read this article with great attention. 

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