Chipmunks are popular for more than just their beautiful striped backs – they are a popular pet and delight human fans with their lively, lovable character. To keep them happy, chipmunks need space and species-appropriate activity, as well as some peace and quiet during the winter months.

The squirrel family includes several species of chipmunks. The best known is the Siberian Chipmunk, which can be identified by the four dark and four light stripes on its back. The fur on its belly varies in colour and is usually white, beige or red-brown.

Play and rest

Watching a chipmunk dart around is a lot of fun. Their most important prerequisite is that they have enough room to do so. These particularly active rodents require a roomy enclosure. And, chipmunks love to dig. This comes from their natural way of life, where they bury food to create a real underground store. They also dig tunnels so the ground should be at least 30 cm deep with small animal bedding and (non-fertilized) potting mix. Chipmunks also love climbing. The cage should be high enough for a log or branch to be placed vertically.

A comfortable place to sleep is also important. Chipmunks sleep in burrows in the wild, so they love nesting boxes that provide a secure retreat. And by the way, chipmunks need several burrows as they change their sleeping place from time to time. In a cage or aviary, they are often happier alone. Two animals can only live together amicably when the cage is large enough for both to have their own territory and place to retreat.

In the wild

In their native habitat, predominantly Siberia and South Korea, Siberian Chipmunks mainly live in coniferous and mixed forests in colonies. These colonies are not defined groups and only work because there is enough space and each animal has its own territory.

In the wild, chipmunks are dormant in winter, which can last from October to April. They collect and store food for the winter months, typically seeds and nuts, as well as berries and insects. Winter is very different for pet chipmunks – some become quieter and others sleep all day. Never wake them up as this sudden shock is very stressful.

Chipmunks are active during the day. They are early risers so if you like to sleep long, consider housing them somewhere other than the bedroom. Otherwise, there is nothing standing in the way of a harmonious relationship between you and your pet chipmunk.


Call into your local store today to discuss your small animals personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts