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Seen any chipmunks lately in eastern North Carolina? NC Wildlife needs your help!

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 9:51 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - We’ve seen them before, but haven’t necessarily seen them around eastern North Carolina.

Chipmunks tend to live in the Western part of our state but now, NC Wildlife biologists are asking for our help here in the east to keep an eye out for them.

N.C. Wildlife received an observation a few weeks ago with some pretty interesting photos showing a chipmunk at a bird feeder in Wilmington.

At first, biologists thought it was a case of hitchhiking, but chipmunks may actually be establishing themselves in ENC.

Andrea Shipley a mammologist with N.C. Wildlife and other biologists are specifically interested in sightings in New Hanover, Brunswick, Onslow, Duplin, Sampson, Bladen, Cumberland, Moore, Montgomery, Anson, Richmond and Robeson counties.

Chipmunks are typically associated with mountains and the western edge of the Piedmont because in the east, the environment is different.

N.C. Wildlife says, “Chipmunks have distinctive coloring – reddish brown fur, a black stripe down the center of its 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 distinguishing feature is its large cheek pouches, usually full of nuts or seeds to unload in an underground storage burrow.”

But why do chipmunks typically stay towards the mountain areas? Well for one, those areas have hardwood trees which provide a better area for chipmunks to make burrows underneath.

N.C. Wildlife says burrows that chipmunks make, provide protection from predators and adverse weather and are typically made in soil, which makes our sandy ground a little harder for them, but it doesn’t make it impossible.

So, N.C. Wildlife is asking for your help!

Keep an eye out for chipmunks in your area and take a picture if you see one.

If you live in any of the counties above and see a chipmunk or its habitat, take a picture, jot down the location and contact the Commission’s NC Wildlife Helpline, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., at 866-318-2401 or email HWI@ncwildlife.org.

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