Uinta chipmunk
Uinta chipmunk

NPS photo/Marc Neidig

Species: Neotamias

Chipmunks are easily identified by their tiny size and pattern of stripes running down their head and back. Three different species of chipmunks live within Zion National Park: Uinta, least, and cliff. One of the more common chipmunks in the area is the Uinta (Neotamias umbrinus). It has wide, brown to dark brown stripes, alternating with white stripes, down its back;the outermost stripes are generally white or a muted brown. The Uinta chipmunk prefers wide, open spaces in Zion, such as the broad, open saddle called Scout Lookout on the way to Angels Landing. Occasionally visitors in this area will get a brief look at the Uinta chipmunk as it approaches searching for food, and then, as it scurries away with its tail straight up in the air. In contrast, the least and the cliff chipmunks swing their tails from side to side as they scurry away. The least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus) is so named because it is the smallest chipmunk in North America, and can be identified by the narrower dark stripes on its back. The cliff chipmunk (Neotamias dorsalis) is more gray overall, with less prominent stripes on its back.

As with all wildlife, do not feed or approach chipmunks. In spite of their "cuteness" and tiny size, they can bite, and human food is harmful to them. Chipmunks have been known to beg for food and even to crawl into people's backpacks searching for food, especially on the Angels Landing and Observation Point trails.

Return to Rodents or to the main Mammals page

Last updated: October 2, 2015

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