Townsend's Chipmunk

Townsend's Chipmunk

Neotamias townsendii
Population size
Life Span
2-7 yrs
60-118 g
22-38 cm

Townsend's chipmunks are small rodents named after John Kirk Townsend, an early 19th-century ornithologist. They are brown in color with indistinct tawny stripes. There are five dark stripes and four lighter stripes on their back and two gray and three brown stripes on their faces. Their tail is grayish above and reddish below. Townsend's chipmunks molt twice per year and their fur color becomes brighter during the summer.



Townsend's chipmunks live in Pacific Northwest of North America, from British Columbia through western Washington and Oregon. They inhabit dense forests and brush thickets. They can also be found in more open areas with logs, shrubs, evergreen herbs, trees, and a variety of fungi and lichens. For the nest sites these chipmunks prefer talus slopes.

Townsend's Chipmunk habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Townsend's chipmunks are solitary and territorial. Each animal lives in a single burrow that can be up to 10 meters in length. These animals are diurnal being usually active in the late morning and early afternoon. They feed during the day and gather food that they cache in their burrow for the winter. Townsend's chipmunks hibernate in regions where the winter is harsh, but in other parts of their range that have a more mild climate, they can be active year-round. They are excellent climbers and use trees or their burrows as a refuge to escape from predators. These animals communicate with the help of vocalizations, nosing and sniffing, and various threat displays.

Group name
Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Townsend's chipmunks are omnivorous animals. They eat different plants, insects and even birds' eggs. In the summer and early fall, they consume blackberries, salal berries, and thimble berries. In the late fall, they eat acorns, huckleberries, maple seeds, thistle seeds, grain seeds, grass, roots, and conifer seeds.

Mating Habits

late April
28 days
3-6 pups
90 days
pup, kit, kitten

Little is known about the mating habits of Townsend's chipmunks. They breed in spring, usually in late April right after hibernation. Females give birth to 3-6 young after the gestation period that lasts around 28 days. Young are born blind and naked. The mother nurses and protects her babies until they leave the burrow and become independent. Weaning usually occurs at 50 days after birth and at 90 days they become independent. Adult Townsend's chipmunks become reproductively mature at 353 days and are ready to breed the following summer.


Population threats

Currently, there are no major threats to Townsend's chipmunks.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the Townsend's 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.


1. Townsend's Chipmunk on Wikipedia -
2. Townsend's Chipmunk on The IUCN Red List site -

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