The Least Chipmunk, Busy and Cute Sedona Neighborhood Character
The least chipmunk (Tamias minimus) is the smallest species of chipmunk and a common sight in Sedona neighborhoods. This cute little furball is found throughout the Southwest and is the smallest species of chipmunk, measuring under 10 inches in total length, head to tail.
Least chipmunks are active during the day and forage for seeds, berries, nuts, fruits and insects. However, they love the "easy pickin's" around Sedona bird feeders (in just about every backyard) and will stuff their cheek pouches full of seeds, make a very funny face, then scurry off to bury their prize and come back for more!
Least chipmunks don't always hibernate in winter as some sources claim. Instead, they survive the cold weather by entering a state of "torpor," a sleepy state marked by greatly decreased activity. Fortunately, during the fall months, the least chipmunk has busily stored food in various places all over its territory, particularly its burrow, so it doesn't have to travel far for a quick bite to eat.
You may have seen the least chipmunk waving its tail almost in slow motion as it sits snacking on your birdseeds. This is a strategy designed to evade nasty predators such as the Cooper's hawk. The predator will focus on the moving part (the tail) and although the chipmunk may lose its tail, it can happily escape with its life.