Colorado chipmunks are medium-sized rodents in the squirrel family. Chipmunks are distinguished from ground squirrels in that their faces have a stripe going across under the eye. Fur color of Colorado chipmunks is orange with yellowish-brown on the sides, the head is cinnamon and the belly is white in color. Their tail is black on the tip, white on the sides, and tawny underneath.
Colorado chipmunks are endemic to Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico in the United States. They can be found most often in coniferous forests, woodlands, montane shrub lands, and alpine tundra habitats.
Colorado chipmunks are terrestrial but also excellent climbers. They are diurnal and feed mainly on the ground but may get some food by climbing into trees and shrubs. They usually forage near their burrows and return frequently to their nesting sites to store food. During winter months they hibernate in their nests which are located in trees, logs, or in underground burrows. Colorado chipmunks communicate with each other with the help of calls and body postures. When they are alarmed they produce a short bark to warn others about the danger.
Colorado chipmunks are monogamous, where both males and females have only one partner. The breeding season occurs in the spring when the chipmunks emerge from their burrows. Depending on the elevation at which these chipmunks are found, they may produce 1 or 2 litters per year. Females give birth to 5-8 altricial young after the gestation period that lasts around 29-60 days. Young are born in the burrow, where mothers care for them, nurse, groom, and protect. Within 40-50 days young will be weaned from their mother and ready to disperse.
There are no major threats to Colorado chipmunks at present.
The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the Colorado chipmunk total population size, but this animal is common and widespread throughout its known range. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.
Colorado chipmunks carry seeds and nuts of various plants, thus acting as key seed dispersers of this species. In addition, they are prey items for local predators.