Hopi chipmunk

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Hopi chipmunk

Hopi chipmunk ( Tamias rufus )

Subordination : Squirrel relatives (Sciuromorpha)
Family : Squirrel (Sciuridae)
Subfamily : Ground Squirrel (Xerinae)
Tribe : Real ground squirrels (Marmotini)
Genre : Chipmunk ( Tamias )
Type : Hopi chipmunk
Scientific name
Tamias rufus
( Hoffmeister & Ellis , 1979)

The Hopi chipmunk ( Tamias rufus , Syn .: Neotamias rufus ) is a type of squirrel from the genus of the chipmunk ( Tamias ). It is found in eastern Utah , western Colorado, and northeastern Arizona in the United States .


The Hopi chipmunk reaches an average head-trunk length of about 12.0 centimeters with a spread of 9.3 to 14.8 centimeters, the tail is slightly shorter. The fur of the animals is pale orange to cinnamon, on the back there are - as is typical for the genus - three dark back stripes, which are separated by four lighter stripes and delimited from the sides of the body. The middle stripe is chestnut brown, the other two stripes correspond to the rest of the coat color and are just a little darker. The light intermediate stripes are white to grayish. The hips, the lower sides of the body and the face are pale gray, with the face having white stripes typical of the species. The upper sides of the body and also the feet are bright orange. The ventral side is sandy to pale orange. The tail is charcoal black and interspersed with reddish on the upper side, on the underside it is light orange with black edges.


Distribution area of ​​the Hopi chipmunk

The Hopi chipmunk is found in eastern Utah , western Colorado, and northeastern Arizona in the United States .

Way of life

Hopi chipmunk eating

The Hopi chipmunk lives in various, mostly stony habitats in its area of ​​distribution, especially in open juniper - pinyon populations. Sometimes he also uses sandy habitats in the area that are dominated by Coleogyne (blackbrush) and Oryzopsis hymenoides .

The species is diurnal and living on the ground, but the animals can also climb into the trees and rocks. Your activity space is about 0.4 or 1.0 to 1.3 hectares in size and contains numerous trees, shrubs and rocks. They are predominantly herbivorous and feed mainly on the seeds of herbs, bushes and trees, but also use other parts of plants, fungi and insects as an additional source of food. As opportunists, they also use remains from the anthropogenic waste. The animals collect seeds in their cheek pouches and transport them to protected areas under bushes or rocks to eat. They also set up camps under rocks and in crevices. They do not hibernate , but fall into a short torpor in extremely cold temperatures , which is interrupted on warmer winter days. On these days they leave the nest and look for food in the area or in specially created feed stores near the nest. Compared to most other chipmunks, Hopi chipmunks put on more fat for the winter time, a total of 10 to 20% of their body mass, and thus ensure a longer torpor.

The animals build their nests in the ground in the area of ​​rocks or under bushes. The males are sexually active from February to late April, so mating takes place mainly in February and March. After a gestation period of 30 to 33 days, the females give birth to an average of five pups. These are suckled for about six to seven weeks and leave the maternal nest in May. They reach sexual maturity after about ten to eleven months and can mate in the following year.

The most important predators of the animals include foxes and coyotes , weasels , birds of prey and snakes.


The Hopi chipmunk is classified as a separate species within the genus of chipmunks ( Tamias ), which consists of 25 species. The first scientific description comes from Donald Frederick Hoffmeister and L. Scott Ellis from 1979, who introduced the species on the basis of individuals from Coconino County , Arizona, as a subspecies of the Colorado chipmunk as Eutamias quadrivittatus rufus . In 1985 it was discovered by Howard Levenson et al. classified as an independent species under the name Tamias rufus , which is valid today . Within the chipmunk group, the Hopi chipmunk, along with most other species, is assigned to the subgenus Neotamias , which is also discussed as an independent genus.

Apart from the nominate form, no subspecies are distinguished within the species .

Status, threat and protection

The Hopi chipmunk is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) as “least concern”. This is justified with the assumed high number of stocks and the regular occurrence; there are no potential risks that could endanger the company's existence. The Hopi chipmunks are not hunted or caught within their range, although large numbers of them can be a nuisance, especially in fields, gardens and residential complexes.

supporting documents

  1. a b c d e f g h i j Richard W. Thorington Jr. , John L. Koprowski, Michael A. Steele: Squirrels of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore MD 2012; Pp. 335-336. ISBN 978-1-4214-0469-1
  2. a b c d e f Neotamias rufus in the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species 2015.3. Posted by: AV Linzey & NatureServe (G. Hammerson), 2008. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  3. a b Tamias rufus In: Don E. Wilson , DeeAnn M. Reeder (Ed.): Mammal Species of the World. A taxonomic and geographic Reference. 2 volumes. 3. Edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore MD 2005, ISBN 0-8018-8221-4 .
  4. Donald Frederick Hoffmeister , L. Scott Ellis : Geographic Variation in Eutamias quadrivittatus with Comments on the Taxonomy of Other Arizonan Chipmunks The Southwestern Naturalist 24 (4), December 10, 1979; Pp. 655-665. doi : 10.2307 / 3670524
  5. Stephanie L. Burt, Troy L. Best : Tamias rufus. Mammalian Species 460, 1994.
  6. ^ Howard Levenson, Robert S. Hoffmann, Charles F. Nadler, Ljerka Deutsch, Scott D. Freeman: Systematics of the Holarctic Chipmunks (Tamias). Journal of Mammalogy 1985, pp. 219-242. doi : 10.2307 / 1381236
  7. Bruce D. Patterson, Ryan W. Norris: Towards a uniform nomenclature for ground squirrels: the status of the Holarctic chipmunks. Mammalia 80 (3), May 2016; Pp. 241-251 doi : 10.1515 / mammalia-2015-0004


Web links

Commons : Hopi Chipmunk ( Tamias rufus )  - Collection of images, videos and audio files