Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Much Ado About... An Eastern Chipmunk

I didn’t witness most of this but I have it on good authority.

M went to take a shower and found ‘something’ hanging off the bathroom door; about 5 feet above the floor. Understandably, she asked J to take care of it. ‘It’ turned out to be something furry. An Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus) as it turned out - and not easy to take care of. We don’t have a good net to catch rodents. We have a butterfly net with a hole in the end. Obviously, as soon as it was ‘captured’ in the net, it left through the hole. Surprise, surprise.

W was then called to help. W and J chased it around the bathroom for a while. Chipmunks are agile and fast, very fast. To make a long story short, they improvised a chute and captured it in a plastic bag.

The first thing I knew, W appeared with a chipmunk in a plastic bag. Photo op. We took it outside. Using leather gloves, W managed to get it out of the bag without losing it. No mean feat. Luckily W was able to keep hold of it while I took lots of pics.

It was a healthy chipmunk with a glossy coat…

and large, bright eyes. And sharp claws.

I was surprised how big it was, or rather, how big its head was, and how big its eyes were. I’ve only seen chipmunks from a distance and they look small, at least compared with a squirrel.

We suspect that one of our cats brought it into the house. They tend to take their gifts into this bathroom and deposit them in the bathtub. It must have been quite a feat for either of these cats to catch a chipmunk. And not at all surprising that it lost it either. Fortunately the chipmunk suffered no damage other than to its dignity.

When W let it go, it made a bee-line for the wood pile. Somewhere safe from these two-legged monsters and their four-legged furry predators.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:

- University of Georgia, Museum of Natural History: Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus)

Geographic distribution:

- Discover Life: Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus)

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