Skip to main content
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

  Rodentia · Sciuridae · Tamias minimus

Search the Archive
 • Species Name
 • Family Tree
 • Conservaton Status
 • Skulls
 • Bones and Teeth
Field Guide
 • Map Search
   Including search by
     • Location
     • Ecoregion
     • Species
     • National Park
 • About Maps
Teacher Resources
About the Site
Smithsonian Institution
Copyright Notice
Privacy Notice

* PDF reader
available here

(opens in a new window)

Tamias minimus

Least Chipmunk

Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae

Image of Tamias minimus
Tamias minimus ssp. scrutator (upper left) and T. minimus ssp. silvaticus (lower right)
Click to enlarge. (94 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

The least chipmunk is the smallest and most widely distributed North American chipmunk. It occurs in a variety of habitats, from coniferous forests to meadows to sagebrush desert, feeding primarily on seeds but also eating flowers, buds, leaves, grasses, fungi, and even insects, eggs, and carrion. Least chipmunks are diurnal, like all ground-dwelling members of squirrel family. They retreat to their burrows at night and spend the winter underground, periodically waking up to feed on stored food. They scatter-hoard, storing seeds all over the place, so they unwittingly help many species of plants sprout in new places.

Sexual Dimorphism:

Females are slightly larger than males.


Average: 201 mm
Range: 185-216 mm


Average: 43.6 g
Range: 32-50 g


Bachman, J., 1839.  Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 8:71.


Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).

Distribution of Tamias minimus

Image of Tamias minimus
Tamias minimus - southwest paler variant
Click to enlarge. (99kb)

Image of Tamias minimus
Click to enlarge. (80kb)

end of text