Illinois Chipmunks

Eastern Chipmunk

What species of chipmunks are native to Illinois?

In this post, we review the common ground squirrel species in this state.


There are three different common species of ground squirrel, or chipmunks, found in Illinois.

Ground Squirrel / Chipmunks Native to Illinois

  • Eastern chipmunk
  • Thirteen-lined ground squirrel
  • Franklin’s ground squirrel

Each of these chipmunks nests underground in burrows and have cheek pouches. They can be found in grasslands, prairies, and wooded areas that are not prone to flooding.


Eastern Chipmunk

Eastern Chipmunk in Illinois

Eastern Chipmunk photo by Gilles Gonthier

Eastern chipmunk: These can be found most places in Illinois but are very uncommon in southeastern Illinois.

The Eastern Chipmunks are identified by their red-brown fur, five dark brown stripes and contrasting light brown stripes on its back, dark tail, and a light colored underside.

They primarily feed on bulbs, nuts, seeds, fruits, flowers, plants etc. This species store their food in their burrows and come back to it later.

They are generally a solitary species and only socialize during mating season. They do not enter a true hibernation in the winter but enter a period of dormancy.

Related Post: What Damage Can Chipmunks Do?


Thirteen-Lined Ground Squirrel

Thirteen Lined Ground Squirrel in Illinois

Thirteen-Lined Ground Squirrel photo by Greg Schechter

Thirteen-lined ground squirrel: They are sometimes known as the striped gopher or leopard ground squirrel.

The Thirteen-lined ground squirrel has thirteen alternating brown and white stripes and white spots in between. They occur in the northern 2/3 of Illinois and are particularly active on warm days.

This species feeds on grasses, weeds, seeds, plants, and insects. They are known for their surveying behavior in which they stand on their hind legs to examine the surrounding area.


Franklin’s Ground Squirrel

Franklin's Ground Squirrel in Illinois

Franklin’s Ground Squirrel photo by Ceasol

Franklin’s ground squirrel: These occur in the northern 2/3 of Illinois but can be uncommon due to their threatened status. They are listed as a protected species in Illinois under the Endangered Species Act.

They are brownish gray in color, with light speckles across their body, light undersides, and solid gray heads.

This species is omnivorous and eats anything ranging from insects to eggs, plants, small birds, and frogs. These squirrels are also generally solitary.

If chipmunks or ground squirrels are making a home on your property, damaging your gardens, or causing burrowing damage, do not hesitate to call animal control to remove them safely.


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Illinois Chipmunks was last modified: July 13th, 2018 by Attic Solutions

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