Squirrel vs Chipmunk (Difference Between Squirrel and Chipmunk)

squirrel vs chipmunk

When you see a squirrel on a tree, you might get confused at first whether it is a squirrel or a chipmunk. There is a slight difference between squirrel and chipmunk. The similarities between both are striped, both have fur, and both are small-sized. Another difference is that squirrels are only a bit larger and live in trees while chipmunk lives underground. 

Here, we will discuss chipmunk vs. squirrel difference and see what will happen if they both come together for a fight. 

What is a Squirrel?

Squirrels are agile and bushy-tailed rodents that are found throughout the world. They belong to the Sciuridae family that also includes prairie dogs, chipmunks, and marmots. More than 200 squirrels are categorized into three types- tree squirrels, ground squirrels, and flying squirrels. However, these three categories are more broken into different squirrel types.

What is a Chipmunk?

Chipmunks are a type of squirrel that is small and furry. They can be recognized by their short and thick legs, a bushy tail, and through the white, black, and brown stripes that run down on their back. Chipmunks are the smallest member of the squirrel family. There are around 25 different kinds of chipmunks.

Where do Squirrel Live?

According to some reports, squirrels can be found all over except in Antarctica and Australia. The tree squirrels habitat in wooded areas because they prefer to live in trees. Ground squirrels live on the ground, as their name suggests. The ground squirrels dig burrows, underground tunnels to live. Some of the squirrel species habitat in holes during the winter to keep themselves warm.

On the other hand, flying squirrels make their homes in tree holes or build their nest into the crooks of branches. To get down from trees to the ground, flying squirrels spread the muscle membrane between their legs and body to glide in the air. 

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Where do Chipmunks Live?

From different species of chipmunk, only one of those species known as the Siberian chipmunk lives outside North America. Chipmunks can be found almost anywhere in North America where there are trees. They make homes by creating burrows that consist of an underground tunnel system or building nests in logs or bushes. 

Squirrel Size:

The smallest squirrel is the African Pygmy squirrel that grows between 2.8 to 5 inches in length and weighs around 0.35 ounces. However, the world’s largest known squirrel is the Indian Giant squirrel that can measure to 36 inches and weighs about 4 pounds. 

The grey squirrel commonly found in North America can grow between 15 to 20 inches, where their tail adds another 6 to 9 inches. The species generally weigh between 1 to 1.5 pounds. 

Chipmunk Size:

The largest chipmunk species are the Eastern chipmunk that grows to 11 inches and weighs up to 4.4 ounces. Although, the average length of a chipmunk is 4 to 7 inches and weighs between 1 to 5 ounces. Where their tail can grow as long as 3 to 5 inches. 

Squirrel Diet:             

The diet of squirrel and chipmunks are similar; they do not differ in these criteria. However, in cold months they will bury their food. During the winter months, they have a store of food that they can use when food is scarce.                     

Chipmunk Diet:        

Chipmunks are omnivorous, and their diet consists of vegetation such as mushrooms, berries, nuts, seeds, and grains. They also eat other creatures such as insects, small birds, frogs, and bird eggs.            

Baby Squirrel: (Squirrel Reproduction)     

The gestation period in female squirrels is for 29 to 65 days. However, this period varies from species to species. Smaller species have shorter gestation periods. The female will deliver 2 to 8 baby squirrels at one time. The baby squirrels are known as kittens, which are born blind. 

Baby Chipmunks: (Chipmunk Reproduction)

Like other rodents, chipmunks gave live birth after the gestation period of 30 days. Chipmunk also delivers between 2 to 8 offspring and give birth one to two times per year, one in the late spring and again during the fall. The baby chipmunk is called pups that are born blind and hairless.

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Difference Between Chipmunk and Ground Squirrel:

  • The chipmunks have seven stripes on its body, whereas ground squirrels have 13 lines. 
  • Chipmunks have rounded and erect ears, whereas ground squirrels have short ears that do not stick above the head.
  • The tails of chipmunks are fuzzy and bushy. They usually run with their tails holding high. On the other hand, the ground squirrels have a streamlined tail that is generally low.
  • Chipmunks prefer to live in deciduous forests or scrublands, although they live in suburban and urban areas. The ground squirrels habitat in grassland creatures.
  • The climbing ability of chipmunks is excellent, but they do not climb on trees often. On the other hand, the ground squirrels do not climb at all. 
  • Chipmunks ranges from 6 to 12 inches in length, whereas ground squirrel measures from 8 to 12 inches. 
  • The food of chipmunks includes berries, nuts, seeds, and they may also feed on worms, slugs, insects, small birds, and frogs. 
  • On the other hand, the ground squirrel’s diet consists of an equal amount of plants and animals. Which includes seeds, fruits, nuts, roots, moths, earthworms, and butterflies. 

Chipmunk vs Squirrel (Comparison)

  • The chipmunks and squirrels both belong to the same family but have some differences. The significant distinction between both of them is their stripes. 
  • Chipmunks have stripes on their back that reaches till the head, while squirrels do not have stripes. Except for ground squirrels but they do not have lines till the head.
  • The chipmunks live in deep burrows and make very complex tunnels. On the other hand, the squirrels live in tree holes.
  • The easiest way to spot both of them is their tail. Squirrels have a bushy tail, while chipmunks have a normal tail.
  • Squirrels store food for the winter season while the chipmunks do not. Because they hibernate during that period.

Squirrels vs Chipmunks: who would win?

Above, we have compared both the mammals and have observed that both differ in various aspects. Squirrels are usually bigger than chipmunks and also weigh more. Both are protective about their families and will fight with each other if they find any danger around them. If a fight took place between them, then squirrels could easily win because of their larger size and weight. 

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