Sciuridae - Chipmunks, Marmots and Squirrels
Members of this family represent a large, diverse and interesting group. They live in trees, on the ground, in burrows, and one even glides through the air. Most of us are familiar with the tree squirrels. Their large, bushy tails curl over their body while they are feeding on their nuts, fruits or seeds. We see them in urban areas, or in forests. The flying squirrel, a species of forests is mostly nocturnal and can escape predators by launching out of trees and gliding to the ground or another tree trunk. Other tree squirrels are diurnal , and at best, can only jump short distances from limb to limb. Tree squirrels are non-hibernators. Ground squirrels typically nest in burrows, and most are hibernators. Chipmunks inhabit both trees and the ground. They have internal cheek pouches for transporting food which they store for winter use. They hibernate , but arouse frequently and eat before entering a state of hibernation again. All chipmunks have stripes that run along the sides of their back and extend foreward to their eyes. Most members of the squirrel family vocalize with long, chatter calls or a variety of chirps. There is large range in size, from the smallest chipmunks to the much larger marmots.