Monday, September 27, 2010

Eastern Chipmunk

The word chipmunk probably comes from a Native American word for squirrel.  I was tempted to title this post "Zombie Chipmunk," due to the eye reflecting my camera flash.  This reflection is caused by  the tapetum lucidum, a layer behind or in the retinas of many vertebrates.  We humans lack this layer, which improves night vision.  The down-side to the tapetum lucidum is that it does not result in sharp vision like ours.

Eastern Chipmunks are rodents found across much of eastern North America.  They make extensive burrows for sleeping, nesting, and storing food. They are usually quite common, and their loud, repeated chirps can easily be mistaken for bird calls.  Their vocalizations are used for staking out territories and for alarm. In the winter, chipmunks go into torpor, waking frequently to eat from their food caches, but usually staying in their burrows.

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