Abigail - sadly no longer with us
Origin - Siberia and Asia
Species - Rodent
Genus- Eutamias (Ground Squirrels)
Size - small (about the size of a Hamster not including the tail)
Weight - as adults usually about 120g. Anything over 135g is overweight.
Length - 14-19 cm/ tail 8-12 cms
Pursonality/temperament - energetic, friendly once tamed, sometimes likes company of others if brought up together, otherwise can be aggressive to own kind. Curious. Very nosy animals and cheeky.
Activity level - high (this is a animal that rarely stays still)
Coat care - low (look after coat themselves)
Care: medium - They are easier than some Exotic Pets but not as easy as other Pets but they aren't hard to care for as long as you follow their basic needs. There are a few mistakes many new owners make - Cage, Diet & automatically assuming your Chipmunk needs company of its own kind and these can lead to unhappy, aggressive, stressed, ill Chipmunks or Chips constantly fighting/bullying each other but as long as you follow these basic requirements your Chippie ( s ) should do well. *Cage* - needs to be large and tall not small and *Diet* needs to be balanced with Chipmunk mix and fresh fruit & veg and added protein and mineral supplements. *Company* - some Chipmunks really do not need another Chippie for a friend, some do like other Chippies but Chipmunks are naturally solitary Animals so do not assume all Chipmunks will get along with others.
Costs: There are some costs, the initial setup for your Chippie can be pricey because large cages are not cheap to buy/make but after this they aren't too much although their food can cost a bit as quite often it needs ordering off the internet as Chipmunk food is not readily available in most Pet shops. Chippie's to buy are generally between £20-50 each depending on which breeder you choose and colour of Chippie. With all Animals you need to be prepared for extra costs e.g. Vet.
Colours - Agouti (Normal), Dilute White, Cinnamon (very rare), Black (very rare possibly died out in U.K.) Other colours have been known but they are all still very rare/new.
Popularity - becoming popular again. ** Please note Chipmunks are also one of the most commonly given up pet Exotic's in the U.K., do make sure you research their needs fully and really think about whether they are right for you before buying one as far too many are being given up. They are a long-term commitment and do not always make good pets for children.**
Health: generally good but babies are especially vulnerable to Upper Respiratory Infections and falls. All Chippies are at risk from stress, stress can kill them before any injury or illness does. Metabolic Bone Disease (Calcium/Vit D deficiency) is another condition to watch out for as it is quite common in Chipmunks but the condition is preventable it is caused by a poor diet.
Healthy temperature - 38 degrees C
Respiratory rate -
when resting 75 breaths a minute. Much higher when running around., I don't know how many breaths a Chipmunk takes when fully active but in Hamsters it is about 400 breaths a minute. **When in Hibernation or Torpor this can go down to only 1-2 breaths a minute**.
Life span - males 2 1/2 - 5 years (can live longer) My oldest boy lived to 8 years
- females 4 years - 8 years (can live longer) My oldest female lived to about 9 1/2
Reproduction - February to September. Most babies born in March & April. Up to 3 litters a year but usually two.
Oestrous cycle - 1-3 days every 13-14 days
Gestation - Usually 31-32 days
Weaning- 7-8 weeks
Number of young - 4-6 appears to be average but can be any number up to ten+
Sexually mature - 6 months - 1 year, Always the first spring after birth. *Some males born very late in the year (August /September may not breed successfully until their second spring*.
Updated 2nd December 2013