Chipmunks can be tricky to care for, they often don¿t like to be handled and can become easily stressed. However, with the right environment, you can help ensure your chipmunk can behave naturally and live a healthy and happy life.

What do chipmunks look like?

Chipmunks look like small squirrels and can generally be identified by the black and white stripes on their faces, their backs and their sides. Although, selective breeding in captivity has since created cinnamon and white coloured chipmunks too.

Where do chipmunks come from?


Siberian chipmunks originate from Siberia and Asia, whereas the eastern American species come from the northern USA and Canada. There are more than 20 different species of chipmunk that live in these regions and as far south as Mexico. However, it's Siberian chipmunks that are more commonly kept as pets.

Active throughout the day; these small creatures live on the ground where they like to dig burrows in which they make their nests. Energetic climbers, chipmunks also can be seen foraging in trees and bushes. If keeping pet chipmunks try and ensure their home allows them to replicate these behaviours.

Can I have chipmunks as pets?

Chipmunks have only been kept as pets for a relatively short time and experts are still learning about how best to care for them. There is no one 'perfect' way to care for all chipmunks because every chipmunk and every situation is different.

If you currently own a chipmunk as a pet, it's legal to keep your chipmunk until the end of their natural life, however, you're now unable to buy another.  In July 2016 the European Commission published the first list of Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern, which came into force on 3rd August 2016. Siberian chipmunks are included on this list meaning that it is now illegal to buy or sell a chipmunk, and we are unable to rehome them to private individuals. See `FAQ for UK stakeholders¿ for information about what these regulations mean for you if you¿re a current owner.

How long do chipmunks live for as a pet?

Chipmunks usually live for 4-5 years in captivity but can live for up to 10 years.

What do you feed chipmunks?

Chipmunks need a varied diet. Foods such as oats, wheat, barley, corn and unsalted nuts (such as pine nuts) alongside small amounts of washed, chopped fruit and vegetables can all be given to chipmunks.

Discover more about providing a suitable diet for chipmunks.

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