Fun Sonoma Chipmunk Facts For Kids

Gurpuneet Kaur
Oct 20, 2022 By Gurpuneet Kaur
Originally Published on Sep 29, 2021
Edited by Christina Harrison
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Read these fun and interesting Sonoma chipmunk facts about the species of mammals of the Pacific states.

Mammals comprise humans and other warm-blooded vertebrates with hair and fur. 40% of mammals are classified as rodents from the order Rodentia.

Among rodents are mice, rats, chipmunks, prairie dogs, squirrels, porcupines, guinea pigs, hamsters, and beavers.

The Neotamias sonomae or the Tamias sonomae, the Sonoma chipmunk, is yet another species of rodent from the genus Eutamias, specifically the genus Tamias or Neotamias. Sonoma chipmunks are further classified into two subspecies: the Tamias sonomae alleni and the Tamias sonomae sonomae.

They belong to the squirrel family of Sciuridae. The distribution range of Sonoma chipmunks is within Marin counties and Sonoma around the north of San Francisco Bay in California.

It is distantly related to the yellow-pine chipmunk and Townsend's chipmunk found within its geographic range.

This species classified as Neotamias, the subgenus of genus Tamias, is known to have two premolars.

While chipmunks are found living in burrows in the ground, the Sonoma chipmunk, in particular, is found within a precise range of its habitat including coniferous forests of redwood, black oak, spruce, douglas fir, pine, and laurel trees, and open, chaparral areas such as sagebrush plains.

Further, it has an omnivorous diet comprising seeds, nuts, berries, fruits, herbs, and buds of woody plants, insects, and eggs of birds. The Sonoma chipmunk, a member of the ground-dwelling squirrel family, has a cinnamon brown-gray fur with several black, brown, and white stripes running over its body with a long tail.

The species is known to have winter and summer fur as winter fur is duller and darker than its summer fur.

It was first documented in 1915 by an American zoologist and biologist, Joseph Grinnell. Yet, the species is not extensively studied.

If the uniqueness of a Sonoma chipmunk makes you interested in reading more about similar species, you can read about the chipmunk and the least chipmunk.

Sonoma Chipmunk Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Sonoma chipmunk?

The Tamias sonomae or Neotamias sonomae, Sonoma Chipmunk, belongs to the genus Eutamias from the squirrel family, Sciuridae. It is a medium-sized chipmunk among ground-dwelling squirrels.

It is classified into two different subspecies: Tamias sonomae alleni and Tamias sonomae sonomae. It is closely related to the Townsend chipmunk (Tamias townsendii) and it also resembles the yellow spruce chipmunk (Neotamias amoenus). Also, it is classified as a rodent from the order Rodentia.

What class of animal does a Sonoma chipmunk belong to?

The Sonoma chipmunk belongs to the class Mammals, order Rodentia, family Sciuridae, and genus Eutamias. It is precisely classified in the subgenus Neotamias under the genus Tamias. There are two subspecies documented: Tamias sonomae alleni and Tamias sonomae sonomae.

How many Sonoma chipmunks are there in the world?

Although the population of Sonoma chipmunks is not recorded, the population is considered to be stable. These squirrels from the family Sciuridae are known to range over a wide geographic distribution covering over 7,722 sq mi (20,000 sq km).

These chipmunks are quite common in open chaparral areas and temperate coniferous forests within their favorable range of habitat. They are listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Where does a Sonoma chipmunk live?

Sonoma chipmunks are endemic to California in the United States of America. The subspecies, Tamias sonomae sonomae, is found widespread within the geographic distribution. The Tamias sonomae alleni ranges near San Francisco Bay in the north of California.

What is a Sonoma chipmunk's habitat?

The habitat of the Sonoma chipmunk ranges from open chaparral areas such as sagebrush plains, shrublands, and forests characterized by trees such as redwood, black oak, spruce, douglas fir, pine, and laurel. It is found in the elevation range up to 5,905.5 ft (1800 m).

Who do Sonoma chipmunks live with?

While pairs of males and females live together during the breeding season, juveniles live in a group for the initial few weeks after their birth and eventually disperse.

Males disperse at a wider pace than females as juvenile females often remain inhabited nearby their natal area. Squirrels from the family Sciuridae inhabiting California are thought to lead a solitary life.

The yellow spruce chipmunk (Tamias amoenus), the yellow-cheeked chipmunk (Tamias ochrogenys), the Allen chipmunk (Tamias senex), and the Siskiyou chipmunk (Tamias siskiyou) are species of chipmunks overlapping within each other's range.

How long does a Sonoma chipmunk live?

Though females are speculated to live longer than males, the average lifespan of the Sonoma chipmunks varies up to 64 months.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of Sonoma chipmunks commences in the early spring. While they are known to live in burrows in the ground, they nest in trees.

The age of sexual maturity is unknown and the gestation period of the species varies up to 31 days. The average litter ranges from three to five young ones and females are known to groom and suckle young ones for at least three weeks. Young ones live together for the initial weeks as a group until they disperse.

What is their conservation status?

The Sonoma chipmunk from the family Sciuridae inhabiting California is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Although the species does not have major threats, the population is jeopardized by human disturbance and activities.

Sonoma Chipmunk Fun Facts

What do Sonoma chipmunks look like?

The Sonoma chipmunk has browny-gray fur with a grayish-white belly and a white-edged tail. The winter and summer fur differ as the fur in winters is often darker than in summers.

There are black, brown, and white stripes running throughout the back of its body. It is quite similar to the yellow-pine chipmunk and Townsend chipmunk. While the yellow-pine chipmunk is smaller and does not have a white-edged tail, the Townsend chipmunk differs by having longer ears, a longer tail, and longer legs.

The Sonoma chipmunk is paler and has a bushier tail compared to a Townsend chipmunk. Like all the species within the genus, it too has curved, pincer-like incisors and cuspidated molars.

It is a species of mammals of the world having light and dark stripes over its body from the nose to its rump

How cute are they?

A Sonoma chipmunk is an absolutely cute and adorable species residing in California, considering its size and puffy cheeks. It is quite similar to a stuffed toy with a long and bushy tail and fluffy fur.

How do they communicate?

A Sonoma chipmunk communicates via vocalizations. While females often produce alarm calls, calls are high-pitched and usually are similar to calls of birds.

How big is a Sonoma chipmunk?

The total height of the Sonoma chipmunk ranges from 8.7-10 in (22-26 cm). The hind-foot length varies around 1.3-1.5 in (3.4-3.9 cm) and the tail is approximately 0.4-0.5 in (1-1.2 cm) long.

How fast can a Sonoma chipmunk run?

A chipmunk runs up to the speed of 21 mph (33.7 kph) and can jump as high as 3 ft (0.9 m). In comparison, a cougar is known to run several times faster than a chipmunk, and jumps three times higher than a chipmunk. However, the estimated speed of the Sonoma chipmunk remains unknown.

How much does a Sonoma chipmunk weigh?

The weight of the Sonoma chipmunk is unknown. Other chipmunks weigh around 1.1-1.8 oz (32-50 g). Chipmunks are 10 times lighter than a pygmy slow loris and 10 times heavier than a shrew.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Males and females do not have sex-specific names.

What would you call a baby Sonoma chipmunk?

Like mammals, a baby Sonoma chipmunk is called a pup or kitten.

What do they eat?

The Sonoma chipmunk eats seeds, nuts, berries, fruits, herbs, and buds of woody plants as its primary sources of food. Often it also feeds on insects and eggs of birds.

Are they dangerous?

Similar to rodents, the Sonoma chipmunk can carry diseases and plague. Although it is harmless, it can be dangerous enough to attack if threatened.

Would they make a good pet?

As the Sonoma chipmunk is not thought to have a friendly behavior, it is challenging to cage the species. The Sonoma chipmunk is an adorable species but marks a scent secreted with urine. It is not advised to be kept as a pet and should be left free in the wild.

Did you know...

The species of Sonoma chipmunk was first named and documented by American biologist Joseph Grinnell in 1915. It is known to have two subspecies. The brown, white, and black stripes on the back of the body length are unique to the chipmunk.

Why are chipmunks important to the ecosystem?

Plants and fruits are primary sources of food for these chipmunks. The species is known to disperse seeds and act as a pollinator, gaining prominent and crucial importance within the ecosystem.

How many babies do Sonoma chipmunks have?

The average litter size of these Sonoma chipmunks ranges from three to five pups.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our English Shepherd facts and spinner dolphin facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable eastern chipmunk coloring pages.

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Written by Gurpuneet Kaur

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Gurpuneet Kaur picture

Gurpuneet KaurBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

As a skilled content writer, Gurpuneet has written and managed engaging content for multiple websites and companies. Driven by a passion for helping young people achieve their full potential, she brings a unique perspective to her work. She is currently pursuing a degree in Economics from Sri Guru Gobind Singh College Of Commerce. With extensive experience as a tutor, Gurpuneet has made a significant impact by providing guidance and academic support to students. Her dedication extends beyond tutoring as she has volunteered with Action India, where she offered medical assistance and educational aid to underprivileged communities. Additionally, Gurpuneet has contributed to the creation of student study guides for various educational agencies.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

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Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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