About Chipmunks: They are squirrels but they are the smallest, striped and live underground. They are mostly found in North America and Asia.They have a body temperature of 37°C. They live in their nests that are underground and these shelters protect them from their enemies.They feed on nuts, berries, mushrooms, grains and they also feed on small invertebrates like snails.
They collect and stuff food into their cheeks and store it in their burrows (nest).HIBERNATIONYes chipmunks do hibernateThis is a situation where a chipmunk stays in an inactive state for a period of time in their burrows. In this state, its body uses less energy and the body's processes slows down e.g. the heat beat reduces.Chipmunks are diurnal that is they are active during daytime. They do hibernate in the cold weatherChipmunks don't go into deep hibernation, they wake up more often to urinate and they rely on the food collected before the cold season and they run out of food, most of them eventually die. During hibernation, chipmunks also maintains the body temperature.
There are two main factors that lead to chipmunks hibernating in winter.
• The temperature of the environment drops• Scarcity of foodIn summer, they pack/store nuts and other food stuffs into their nest in preparation for the cold season when they get hungry. They need enough food to last through the winter.In winter they eat a lot of food that they kept in the burrow to store energy since they need warmth from their small bodies as they fall into sleep and their body weight and size increases at this time.
In winter, they:
• Disappear into the ground in their nests to remain there and start hibernating
• The heart beat slows down
• Body temperature slows down
• Wake up at some intervals to eat food and urinate then go back to curl up and sleepDuring hibernation time, their bodies are bigger due to eating too much and after hibernation when the weather is warm, they slowly lose it.Since they rarely fall into deep hibernation in warm winter days, they come out of their burrows.In case a chipmunk falls into a deep hibernation state, when disturbed or touched, it is not quickly aroused from hibernation. They are slow to respond from hibernation.Some chipmunks die in winter after running out of food.