Creature Feature: Townsend’s Chipmunk

The Townsend’s Chipmunk (Tamias townsendii), or Bushdou’l in the Wiyot language, is one of the cutest critters in Humboldt forests. These feisty creatures can be quite aggressive with each other–especially the females, who are larger than males. Despite their animosity, these chipmunks will risk their own safety to warn neighbors of approaching predators.

Townsend’s chipmunks maintain a roughly 1-acre home range, where they forage for mushrooms, seeds, and berries which they carry in their cheek pouches. During the winter, they will hibernate in dens positioned on rocky slopes. Once they wake up in the spring, it’s time to mate! Females will give birth to 3-6 young, and care for them for 50 days before sending them off into the world.

You can see these energetic little critters in the Arcata Community Forest, and other forested areas near water sources.

Photos: Rick Cameron on Flickr.