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What Color Are Chipmunks?

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Chipmunks, the cute, speedy and mischievous little rascals that Disney animation made famous, are among the most highly recognized critters, thanks to their defining racing stripes. Chipmunks are the littlest members of the squirrel family. There are 25 different species of chipmunks, and the hues of these colorful creatures vary slightly between species.

Regional Chipmunk Coat Fashion Colors

Most species of chipmunks reside in North America. At a glance, they all appear similar, but upon closer examination of the different species from various regions, the most notable difference lies in the predominant hue of their coats. Many of the hairs on a chipmunk’s coat are ticked, meaning that each strand displays two or more colors, giving the overall coat color a flecked appearance. The least chipmunk, distributed throughout the North American continent, is clad in a coat that appears orange-brown along his back and on top of his head. Yellow-pine chipmunks, who reside on the western coast of the United States, wear coats that range in color from tawny to cinnamon shades. Alpine chipmunks, who range exclusively in the Sierra Nevada Mountain region, have yellowish-gray coats to blend in with their rocky environment.

Dressed In Color Block Style

The fur on the undersides of chipmunks are typically lighter in color than that of their backs. Their bellies, chests, chins and the undersides of their tails are usually a shade of white or cream that can range from grayish-white to the palest buff. In contrast, the Alpine chipmunk has an underside covered with bright orange fur. As with the dorsal side of their coats, the coloring of the ventral side varies slightly between species.

Striking Stripes

The most distinguishing characteristic among all chipmunks when it comes to their appearance is the presence of stripes. Five dark stripes are evident, which range from brown to black. One runs mid-line down the chipmunk’s back. Two more dark stripes run parallel to the center stripe on each side. Each of these two sets of twin stripes borders a lighter colored stripe, which can range from creamy white to light grayish-brown. The pairs of two-tone stripes also appear on the chipmunk’s face, from the nose up past each eye.

The Eastern Chipmunk's Complete Ensemble

The eastern chipmunk, commonly found throughout the eastern United States and in some areas of eastern Canada, exhibits a variety of color on his coat. His dorsal area ranges from grayish-brown to reddish-brown, and his dorsal coat ranges from white to buff. His rump is highlighted by a reddish patch of fur, tapering to an orange tail that is ticked with black on the upper side. A black stripe streaks across each eye, with cream-colored stripes bordering each side of each black stripe. The fur along his back is grayish, divided by a single black stripe along the center and bordered by cream and black stripes on each side.