Thursday, December 31, 2009

Least Chipmunk

The following least chipmunk was photographed in Henry's Fork Basin in the Uinta Mountains near the Utah/Wyoming border and in the vicinity of King's Peak. The first two photos are among some of my favorite photos because of the lighting and color and the beauty of this little mammal. The least chipmunk is the most prevalent chipmunk in the western United States, with its range extending over much of Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Montana, and extending into smaller portions of California, Arizona, Washington and New Mexico.

They have three dark lines with white in between on their face and five black stripes with brown edges and white in between on their backs. They are grayish and reddish-brown on their upper parts and grayish white on the undersides.

I struggled trying to determine whether this was a least chipmunk or a Uinta chipmunk. I finally found something that indicated a difference was that the Uinta chipmunk does not have a dark strip under the white on the side. That was consistent with photos I could find.

I have not had a lot of experience with chipmunks growing up, but do recall a family that had a cabin just off of Parley's Canyon outside of Salt Lake City. Their son would set Havahart traps and catch them with peanut butter. They seemed amazingly energetic and friendly.

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