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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

For Kids > I'm Alive > Chipmunks - where do they put it all? Chipmunks - where do they put it all?

chipmunks
Chipmunk

Have you ever played the game, Fluffy Bunny, where you see who can stuff the most marshmallows in their mouth at once? Imagine playing this game with an eastern chipmunk as an opponent (please, don't try this at home!) To be fair, of course, the chipmunk would get mini-marshmallows while you would use regular size. The little chipmunk would put you to shame! To even come close to competing you would need to be able to fit the contents of a volleyball into your mouth. That would double the size of your head!

A chipmunk can hold up to two tablespoons of food in his mouth. That may not seem like a lot until you consider the size of his head, which is about the size of an adult's big toe. The reason for the chipmunk's stuffing success is the special pouch that runs along the inside of each cheek and into the neck. These special pouches have skin that separates them from the rest of his mouth, allowing him to have his cheeks stuffed and still munch on a single seed. So the next time you think that you are the Fluffy Bunny Champion, remember, you will never be able to out-stuff the chipmunk.

Late fall is a good time to watch chipmunks, squirrels and other Indiana mammals as they prepare for winter.