Siberian Chipmunk -(Tamias sibiricus)-
Interview With Keith J Taylor
Positives of Siberian chipmunks as pets?
They are easy to care for, very entertaining, if obtained young can be very friendly.
Negatives of Siberian chipmunks as pets?
They need lots of space I always keep mine in an aviary outside. Don’t consider if you only have space for a small cage indoors. They are not for people who like to pet or cuddle their animals.
Do they have scent glands or an offensive smell?
They do have scent glands and produce a slightly musky smell, however if the cage is kept clean it is not noticeable.
What is their average lifespan?
Females can live up to nine years or more, but the average is about four. Males live up to about five with an average being two to three.
Do they enjoy interaction?
To a certain extent, they do not like being held or made a fuss off. The will sit on your hand or shoulder and will let you stroke them but not for long. They are not cuddly pets.
What is their general personality, disposition, and attitude?
Very inquisitive normally very friendly they develop a pecking order amongst themselves, normally the females being the more outgoing.
Are they sweet and petable, or mischievious and playful?
Definitely the latter, they don’t like being petted much but can be real clowns with their toys etc.
How destructive are they for an average household?
I have only let mine out once in the house, when I first had them, they will chew most things given the chance. They chewed holes in our new curtains! In their aviary I had a bird table to put their food on and they have destroyed the roof of this.
Do they climb or tear up furniture?
They love to climb they need lots of branches ropes etc that is why they need lots of space.
Are there any problems associated with their claws?
Normally as long as they have plenty off logs/branches to climb this keeps their claws down.
How messy are their droppings?
Normally they will use one corner of their cage they produce small black pellets, with my aviary I have about a foot of peat in the base so their droppings get mixed in to the soil. With an indoor gage regular cleaning will keep the area fresh.
Can they be litter box trained?
Probably but as mine are outdoors I have never tried.
Can they be trained?
I have heard of people who have taught their chips tricks, but I believe in letting them live as normally as possible so do not try.
How are they with other pets, larger and smaller?
I take my dog into their aviary and they just ignore him, when he is outside the cage two of my females tend to tease him realising he cant get to them.
What size cage do they need?
The bigger the better. The cage should be a ot taller than wide to enable them to climb. The minimum for an indoor cage should be 120cm high by 60cm Square. I would however prefer to see cages a lot bigger. My aviary is 6ft high by 4ft across to house four chipmunks.
What do you feed them?
You can buy pre packed chipmunk food but they will eat most cereal and grain fresh fruit and vegetables and nuts. I tend to use fruity parrot food and supplement this with corn, peanuts, hazelnuts and fruit. They will eat live mealworms if given. I always put some food in dishes and hide some for them to find as they would in the wild.
What vaccinations/vet care do they require?
In the UK there are no vaccinations they need, providing they have a balanced diet they tend to be very healthy. Small wounds can be bathed in antiseptic and will heal quite quickly. Consult a vet if in doubt.
At what age would it be best to get one?
I think the best age is around 8-16 weeks. At this age they should be easy to hand tame.
Other Consideration for bobcat owners?
Make sure you have plenty of room, give them lots to do to keep them occupied make their environment as natural as possible they are animals not toys, I believe it is best to let them live as naturally as possible not just keep them to train and do tricks, although my chips are hand tame they are still basically wild.
About the author?
I am a real pet lover, I have my four female chips, a dog that was found abandoned in a ditch, a rabbit, and a mad cockatiel called Smokey who will not stop talking. I have been keeping chipmunks now for about 3 years and spend a lot of time with their environment to make it stimulating for them. I have two chipmunk sites: http://cheekychipmunk.moonfruit.com