Alvin sings for his dinner in Tides West

<I>KEVIN HEIMBIGNER photo</I>

This chipmunk was seen in the Tides West area and was in a mood to scold. According to Wikipedia, chipmunk is the common name for a small squirrel with the genus name of Tamias, which is Latin for "storer." Chipmunk originally came from "chitmunk," an Ojibwe name probably originating from the sharp sound they make.

Commonly depicted with their paws to their mouth and their cheeks bulging, chipmunks are omnivorous, eating grains, nuts, birds eggs and nestlings, fungi, worms and insects. Around this time of year many species begin to stockpile these foods in their burrows or in multiple small caches for winter. This activity plays a crucial role in seedling establishment for some tree species and also helps in dispersing spores of truffles.

Chipmunks construct expansive burrows which can be over 10 feet in length with several concealed entrances. The burrows are kept extremely clean. Chipmunks can become bold enough to take food from the human hand, although this practice should be avoided as the small squirrels can bite and have been known to carry rabies and other dangerous bacterial infections.

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