Chipmunks are one of Montana's cutest and most visible animals. Of the sixteen species of Western Chipmunk, Montana is home to three of them: the Yellow-pine Chipmunk, the Least Chipmunk and the Red-tailed Chipmunk. On just about any excursion you are likely to see a chipmunk...okay, probably a lot of chipmunks. They are quick, but if you only catch a quick glimpse of one darting over a rock, keep looking; they are extremely inquisitive and will always stop to take another look at you before slipping into a hiding spot.
Tamias amoenus: Yellow-pine Chipmunk
Tamias minimus: Least Chipmunk
Tamias ruficuaudus: Red-tailed Chipmunk
Chipmunks seem to feel their emotions with their tails. For instance, as they watch you, you'll notice their tails twitch with curiosity. Even when they run, you'll see their striped tails sticking straight in the air. The colors of a chipmunk's fur are determined by the climate. In drier regions, chipmunks are grayish with dark tan stripes; in moister areas they will be a reddish color with black stripes. Chipmunks eat all kinds of seeds, berries, grasses and even an occasional flower. They spend much of their day storing food for the leaner winter months. In Montana, chipmunks hibernate during the winter, but in warmer places they are active throughout the winter. Chipmunks are very social, so whenever you see one you can usually be sure he has some buddies tagging along.