Mammals of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Eastern Chipmunk - Tamias striatus
Sciuridae Members:
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Photo by: Dianna Wood
Distribution In NC, occurs throughout the mountains and the Piedmont, and sparingly into the far northern Coastal Plain. Absent over the Coastal Plain south of Albemarle Sound and apparently south and east of Wake County, and likely no records for the Sandhills.

Occurs over most of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada, but generally absent from the Coastal Plain; occurs mostly south to central GA and MS.
Abundance Common to locally abundant throughout the mountains. Common to locally very common in some foothills ranges. However, mostly uncommon to locally common in the Piedmont, being quite scarce in many southeastern and far northeastern Piedmont locales. There is an odd "semi-disjunction" of the range in the Wake County area, where it is much more numerous than in some areas to the west in the Piedmont. Very rare to rare in the northwestern Coastal Plain. Note that the iNaturalist website contains photos for the majority of the state's mountain and Piedmont counties, and the editors have not taken the time to update the map with "Photo" records/documentation unless the county had previously no known records (white on the map).
Seasonal Occurrence Active for most of the year, but hibernates in winter.
Habitat Mainly in hardwood forests with considerable numbers of rocks, within and under which they burrow. They also occur around brush piles, stumps, logs, etc., but normally do not favor dense herbaceous cover in the forest. Also occurs in other types of woodlands, such as those with rhododendron or Mountain Laurel. Chipmunks also occur in some residential areas, preferably where somewhat wooded.
See also Habitat Account for General Hardwood Forests
Behavior Active during the day only, but likely somewhat more active early in the morning and late in the afternoon. They can be quite vocal, making loud chirping notes and other noises. In some places, they can come to bird feeders, picking up seeds such as sunflower seeds beneath feeders, and making burrows beneath buildings.
Comments This is a familiar mammal to many people in the state, especially so in the mountains, and at scattered places in the Piedmont. They can at times be seen scurrying across a road, or seen atop a stump, or feeding on the ground in yards. Chipmunk populations can be surprisingly local, such as being numerous in parts of Raleigh, but hard to find in nearby towns or forested areas with seemingly excellent habitat.
Origin Native
NC List Official
State Rank S5
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all database records for species in that county.