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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

  Rodentia · Sciuridae · Tamias dorsalis

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Tamias dorsalis

Cliff Chipmunk

Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae

Image of Tamias dorsalis
Tamias dorsalis - winter coloration on left, summer on right
Click to enlarge. (46 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Cliff chipmunk fossils about 2,300 and 8,000 years old have been found in caves in Utah and Nevada. The chipmunks still live in those states, in habitats where sagebrush, fourwing saltbush, chokecherry, wild rose, and cliffrose grow. In other parts of their range, they are found with a wide variety of plants, and their diets include seeds and fruits from many kinds of grasses, shrubs, forbs, and trees. They also feed on insects, frogs, salamanders, snakes, birds, and eggs. Four other chipmunk species share parts of their range. Where one or more other species occurs on a mountain, the cliff chipmunk usually is found at the lowest elevation, but where none of the others occurs, cliff chipmunks range right to the top of the mountain.

Also known as:

Gray Chipmunk, Gray-backed Chipmunk, Gila Striped Chipmunk, Pallid Chipmunk, Chichimoke, Chichimuka

Sexual Dimorphism:

Females are slightly larger than males.


Average: 217 mm males; 222 mm females
Range: 204-226 mm males; 212-235 mm females


Average: 59.5 g males; 62.9 g females
Range: 54.5-63.8 g males; 58.8-66.7 g females;


Baird, S.F., 1855.  Characteristics of some new species of Mammalia, collected by the U.S. and Mexican Boundary Survey, Major W.H. Emory, U.S.A. Commissioner, p. 332.  Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 7:331-333.


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

Distribution of Tamias dorsalis

Image of Tamias dorsalis
Tamias dorsalis ssp. utahensis - this subspecies has a more distinct dark stripe along its gray back
Click to enlarge. (33kb)

Image of Tamias dorsalis
Click to enlarge. (133kb)

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