Rare Black Chipmunk

Black Chipmunks – They DO Exist!

Yes, black chipmunks do exist! I would not have believed it…until I saw it with my own eyes…in my own backyard.

And I have to say…he/she is pretty darn cute!

Is it a Black Squirrel?

When I first saw this little creature scurrying around my yard, my first thought was that it was a baby black squirrel. But the tail was not as fluffy…and because they move pretty quickly, it is hard to get a really good look at them.


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Then one day, Mr., Mrs., or Ms. (who knows?) Black Chipmunk decided to hang around just outside my back window. It was then that I realized that this little guy was actually a chipmunk. You could faintly see the defining chipmunk stripes down the back. And the not-so-fuzzy tail question was answered.

No, this was not a baby black squirrel but, a real black chipmunk – apparently a real rare black chipmunk.

Eastern Black Chipmunk foraging for food.
A rare Eastern Black Chipmunk foraging for food. You can clearly see the stripes along his back ending just before the tail which identifies this chipmunk as an Eastern black chipmunk versus a Least Chipmunk whose stripes continue further down the back.

Another odd thing about this black chipmunk is that we used to have many chipmunks – standard chipmunks – in our backyard – and no squirrels. For the last couple of years, we have seen lots of black squirrels and very few chipmunks.

Standard Eastern Chipmunk
The stripes down the back of the standard Eastern Chipmunk are much more discernible than on the black chipmunk. While I do not have a picture of it, one of the differences between the Eastern Chipmunk and the Least Chipmunk is that the Least Chipmunk has much more definable white stripes surrounding their eyes.

There appears to have been a majority takeover of the territory by black squirrels, squeezing out the chipmunks.

Do the Squirrels think he is one of them?

So why is this black chipmunk so prominent in my backyard this year? I see him almost daily.

Could it be that the black squirrels are confused by this guy…and maybe think that he is one of them…so they let him hang around?

I don’t know. All I know is that he is so darn cute that I get a little smile every time I see him. (Just stay out of my attic…and we are all good!)

Sorry, the picture is a little blurry…it is hard to get photos of our fast moving black chipmunk. He is seen here standing on its back feet while using its front paws to eat something.

Not so Elusive Black Chipmunk

On a side note…a funny thing about this little ‘rare’ black chipmunk is that I kept telling hubby that I was seeing a black chipmunk…and he never saw it. I would say, “Look…there it is!”…and by the time hubby looked in that direction, Mr. Chipmunk (he is now Mr. – so I have to type less) had disappeared into the bushes or long grass.

For people my age who watched Bugs Bunny, it was sort of like the dancing and singing frog that only a random man could see perform. When random man tried to show how amazing this frog was to others, Mr. Frog would only sit and croak.


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And then the day came. Mr. Chipmunk was hanging around outside fairly close to the house. Of course, I saw him, right? And, of course, hubby was no where to be found.

I called repeatedly for hubby to come see Mr. Elusive Chipmunk. Hubby was in the garage where he could not hear me calling him. So I grabbed my camera and took some pictures – I needed proof! I got my proof! And here he is…

Rare black chipmunk
This rare Eastern Black Chipmunk in my backyard has the melanistic characteristics with black skin, fur and black eyes. Notice though that you can still see the defining Eastern chipmunk stripe down its back.
Black Chipmunk Upright and Alert
Uh-oh, Mr. Black Chipmunk is on to me taking photos…did he sign a waiver for these pics?

But for some reason, on that day, Mr. Elusive Rare Black Chipmunk (he has many middle names) hung around long enough, not only for my extended photo shoot, but for hubby to surface from the garage and see him LIVE!

So, yes, black chipmunks do EXIST!

Rare Black Chipmunk
Our Mr. Elusive Rare Black Chipmunk posing side angle for a photo…isn’t he adorable.

p.s. Thanks Mr. Elusive Rare Black Chipmunk for making me smile daily and making our home truly tremendous!


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6 Replies to “Black Chipmunks – They DO Exist!

  1. Liked the article on the black chipmunk. Saw one 20 years ago at our house in Oregon. Got a picture and a short video. Looked just like yours, with faint stripes. Never saw it again, but just today saw a totally black one with no stripes. We have Least Chipmunks here. Wondered what area you were located and what kind of chipmunk it was.

    1. Hi John,

      I had to do a bit of research to find out which type my little guy is – either a Least chipmunk or an Eastern chipmunk. After hubby and I looked at photos of both, he thinks it is a Least chipmunk…I think it is an Eastern chipmunk. I think Eastern chipmunk because the stripes seem to end at about 7/8 down the body, and Eastern chipmunks apparently have only 4 toes on their front paws versus Least chipmunks which I believe have 5 on each front and back. In one of the photos – although a bit blurry – it looks like he has 4 toes on the front legs???

      We are in South-Western Quebec (which many Canadians refer to as Central Canada even though geographically…not really) where Eastern chipmunks are very common…although Least Chipmunks are apparently found here too.

      Be happy to have your opinion on what type you think my little guy is. (maybe you can break the tie between hubby and I 🙂

  2. I feed the wildlife in my yard and I have a leave pile in one corner. This is where my “munks” live. I am glad I came across this article. I thought I was going nuts!! I said there goes a black chipmunk!! Everyone thought I was crazy. He was the cutest little thing. He is still here and he comes to the food dishes to fill his pouch for the winter. They don’t come out much now as he is getting ready to hibernate but I am glad someone else has had this experience!

    1. Hi Rebecca,
      Thanks for sharing your story about your little black chipmunk friend. And no, we are not crazy 🙂 Black chipmunks do exist…and they are pretty adorable too!
      From one eagle-eye black chipmunk spotter to another, enjoy the rarity of your little guy,
      Shelly

  3. Have a all black chipmunk in my yard. Uses my garage for the winter. Had normal chipmunk around, he became so tame with is that he would come up to my son and let him pat him and eat from his hand.

    1. Hi Marge,
      Thanks for your story about your black chipmunk. I have to say my black chipmunk became very friendly too – not feeding from my hands, so not quite as friendly as your chipmunks. However, he did come very close to me numerous times – running across my deck just a few feet away from me, on a daily basis. It was almost like he wanted or needed to be noticed. Mission accomplished…he was! And hence, these photos and story about the existence of rare black chipmunks!
      Thanks again,
      Shelly

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