GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) – We’ve seen them before, but we haven’t necessarily seen them in eastern North Carolina.
Chipmunks tend to live in the western part of our state, but now North Carolina wildlife biologists are asking for our help here in the east to watch them.
NC Wildlife received a sighting a few weeks ago with some pretty interesting photos showing a chipmunk in a bird feeder in Wilmington.
At first biologists thought it was hitchhiking, but chipmunks might actually establish themselves in ENC.
Andrea Shipley, mammologist at NC Wildlife and other biologists are particularly interested in sightings in New Hanover, Brunswick, Onslow, Duplin, Sampson, Bladen, Cumberland, Moore, Montgomery, Anson, Richmond and Robeson counties.
Chipmunks are generally associated with the mountains and the western edge of Piedmont because to the east the environment is different.
NC Wildlife says, “Chipmunks have a distinctive coloring – reddish brown fur, a black stripe down the center of their back, and a set of two black stripes. They are smaller than squirrels, measuring eight to 10 inches long, including three to four inches of tail. The chipmunk’s most distinctive feature is its large cheek pouches, usually full of nuts or seeds to dump into an underground storage burrow.
But why do chipmunks usually stay towards mountain areas? Well, on the one hand, these areas have hardwoods which provide a better area for chipmunks to burrow underneath.
NC Wildlife says the burrows that chipmunks make offer protection from predators and inclement weather and are usually made in the ground, which makes our sandy soil a little harder on them, but that doesn’t make it impossible.
Then NC Wildlife is asking for your help!
Keep an eye out for chipmunks in your area and snap a photo if you see one.
If you live in any of the counties above and see a chipmunk or its habitat, take a photo, note the location, and contact the NC Commission Wildlife Hotline, Monday through Friday, 8 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 866-318-2401 or email [email protected]
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