Are Squirrels and Chipmunks Related?

  • By: Alex
  • Date: July 29, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

You might be forgiven for thinking they’re related if you’ve seen a squirrel and chipmunk running around together; after all, they’re both tiny, furry rodents with lengthy tails.

You might be forgiven for thinking they’re related if you’ve seen a squirrel and chipmunk running around together; after all, they’re both tiny, furry rodents with lengthy tails.

But while they may share some similarities, squirrels and chipmunks are pretty different.

What is a Squirrel?

Eastern Grey Squirrel
Eastern Grey Squirrel

A squirrel is a small mammal with a long, bushy tail. There are many different types of squirrels, but they all have furry bodies and sharp claws that help them climb trees.

Squirrels are active during the day and typically eat nuts, seeds, and fruits. They also store food in their cheeks so they can save it later.

Some people think squirrels are cute, but they can also be a nuisance if they dig up gardens or chew on power lines.

What is a Chipmunk?

What is a Chipmunk?

Chipmunks are small, striped rodents that are found in North America. They are closely related to squirrels and have many of the same features, including furry tails and sharp claws.

Chipmunks are very active animals and are constantly on the move in search of food. In the wild, they eat various foods, including nuts, seeds, insects, and even other small animals.

Chipmunks are very playful creatures, and they are often seen chasing each other around in circles. They are also known for their distinctive calls, which sound like “chips” or “chuck.”

Chipmunks are popular pets, and they are known for their friendly personalities and adorable appearances.

Are squirrels and chipmunks the same? What’s the difference?

Are squirrels and chipmunks the same?

Most people are familiar with squirrels and chipmunks, but they may not know the difference between the two animals.

  • Squirrels are more giant than chipmunks and have bushy tails, while chipmunks have shorter, furry tails.
  • Squirrels typically have brown or gray fur, while chipmunks have stripes on their back and sides.
  • Another key difference is that squirrels usually live in trees, while chipmunks live in underground burrows.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about these two animals is that squirrels are known for being playful and curious, while chipmunks are more shy and elusive.

  • Squirrels typically live in trees, while chipmunks make their homes in burrows underground.
  • Regarding diet, both animals eat nuts and seeds, but squirrels will also eat insects and small vertebrates.
  • Chipmunks are known for their distinctive stripes, while squirrels can be either striped or solid-colored.

One key difference is the way that they store food.

  • Chipmunks have cheek pouches where they can store food to return to their burrows.
  • Squirrels, on the other hand, bury their food in the ground. This helps keep it safe from predators and provides an Emergency stash in case of a food shortage.

One of the easiest ways to tell a chipmunk apart from a squirrel is by the sound they make.

Chipmunks make a high-pitched noise, while squirrels make a low-pitched noise.

This is because chipmunks have narrower vocal cords, which vibrate at a higher frequency.

As a result, their calls tend to be shrill and sharp, while squirrels sound more rumbling and throaty. Chipmunks also tend to chirp and chatter more than squirrels.

Do squirrels and chipmunks get along?

Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)
Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)

Many people think squirrels and chipmunks don’t get along, but that’s not necessarily true. Sure, they’re different animals, but they belong to the same family and can get along just fine.

In fact, they often live close to each other, and they’ll even share food and nesting sites.

Of course, there’s always the potential for conflict; after all, they compete for the same resources, but squirrels and chipmunks can get along just fine.

Can squirrels and chipmunks mate?

Yes, they can. In fact, these two types of animals are often seen together in the wild, and there’s no reason they couldn’t reproduce.

However, there are some significant differences to keep in mind. For one thing, squirrels are generally much more critical than chipmunks.

The two animals must be carefully matched in size to produce offspring.

Additionally, while squirrels and chipmunks are members of the rodent family, they belong to different subgroups. This means that their offspring would likely be sterile.

So squirrels and chipmunks can mate, they will not likely produce healthy offspring.

Are chipmunks related to ground squirrels?

Although they may look alike, chipmunks and ground squirrels are not closely related. Chipmunks are part of the squirrel family, including tree squirrels and flying squirrels, while ground squirrels are members of the marmot family.

Both families are part of the larger rodent order but diverged from an everyday ancestor millions of years ago. As a result, chipmunks and ground squirrels have many differences in appearance and behavior.

For example, chipmunks have stripes on their fur, while ground squirrels do not.

Chipmunks also have long tails for balance, while ground squirrels have shorter tails for communication.

Are red squirrels and chipmunks the same?

Even though red squirrels and chipmunks might look similar, there are a few key differences between these two types of animals.

For one, red squirrels are slightly more giant than chipmunks, with an average body length of about 9 inches.

Red squirrels have reddish-brown fur, while chipmunks have brown fur with lighter stripes running along their sides.

Perhaps the most noticeable difference between these two animals is their habitat:

Red squirrels typically live in forests, while chipmunks are more likely to be found near human settlements.

Are Chipmunks afraid of Squirrels?

Believe it or not, chipmunks are actually afraid of squirrels! In the wild, chipmunks and squirrels compete for food and resources, so it’s not surprising that they would have an uneasy relationship.

Chipmunks are much smaller than squirrels, so they look for their larger cousins. Chipmunks would rather avoid any confrontation if possible.

Chipmunks are constantly looking for food, sometimes putting them at odds with Squirrels. Nevertheless, chipmunks and squirrels typically manage to get along just fine.

Are Chipmunks as destructive as Squirrels?

While it’s true that both animals can cause damage to gardens and yards, the reality is that chipmunks are far less likely to do so.

The reason for this is simple:

  • Squirrels are much more giant than chipmunks, and their powerful hind legs allow them to jump high and dig deep.
  • In contrast, chipmunks are relatively small and have weaker back legs.

This means they’re less able to jump over fences or dig up flower beds. As a result, Chipmunks are generally far less destructive than squirrels.