Breeding chipmunks is extremely demanding because otherwise solitary animals have to be socialized for successful mating. And that is far from easy.
Therefore, first attempts at breeding should only take place under the guidance of an experienced breeder in order to prevent serious injuries or even death from biting.
And of course, you have to think in advance about what to do with the offspring. You will hardly have space to house all the animals separately later, but this is necessary from the 3rd month of life at the latest. So the whereabouts of the young animals must be clarified before mating. It is also important to only mate healthy parents. Especially with the different color forms, there are sometimes very weak and sickly specimens. These must not be paired under any circumstances.
If you have clarified the question of housing the young animals and found an experienced breeder who will assist you with the mating, you can dare a mating.
Selection of breeding animals
Of course, only animals that are absolutely fit and healthy may be used for breeding. Unfortunately, sins are committed here again and again, because many owners want their darlings to have offspring, even if they are not suitable for breeding. The consequences must then be paid for by the young animals, which may be born with damage.
Especially with cinnamon-colored and white chipmunks, it is important to only breed strong and healthy animals that do not show any health restrictions. Never breed color with color (e.g. white with white), as this often causes significant health problems, such as deafness or impaired vision. Responsible breeders pull the colors over split-breed animals.
Sexual maturity and mating
At about eleven months, chipmunks reach sexual maturity. Although there are also reports of females having offspring much earlier, this is irresponsible, since birth complications usually occur with such young mothers.
The mating season for chipmunks lasts from March to June. When the female is ready to mate, she often emits very high-pitched whistling calls, while the male’s testicles are clearly visible at this time. Animals ready to mate become much more peaceful towards them, this is especially true for males. Females can also react aggressively to strange males during the mating season. The best way to test the animals’ reactions is to place them side by side in two cages before placing the animals together.
When first encountered, the female will often flee from the male and try to fend him off first. Only after a few chases does it allow copulation attempts. During copulation, males often make growling and growling noises.
Copulation occurs on the ground, with the female crouching and raising his tail, after which the male climbs onto his back.
Birth and development
After a gestation period of 28 to 32 days, naked young chipmunks are born. The litter size varies between three and ten pups, but the average is four pups. At this point, the female is alone again and takes care of raising the young without a partner. The young stay with their mother for about eight to ten weeks before going their own way. At eleven months they are sexually mature themselves and can reproduce.
Determining the sex of chipmunks outside of the mating season is not easy. In the female, the distance between the urethral cone and the anus is only a few millimeters, while in the male there is about a centimeter between them. During the mating season, the testicles of the male can also be clearly seen, which makes it easier to determine the sex. The problem with determining the sexes is that the squirrels are reluctant to be held and will fight back violently. It is therefore strongly advised to use gloves to protect yourself from the bites of the squirrels.
Complicated family life
Anyone who has ever made the acquaintance of their chipmunk’s sharp teeth knows what serious injuries two brawlers can inflict on each other. And noise is always pre-programmed in the cramped cage, even when two siblings have grown up together and moved into the home. The first sign of turf wars is a pungent smell, with which the squirrels want to assert their claims.
While they usually look for a corner that is as hidden as possible for their business and can easily get used to a mini toilet, they deliberately mark houses or boards with urine and excrement near which they do not want any other squirrel to be tolerated. If a couple lives together in good room conditions, things get down to business, but they are intense and heartfelt. The suitor charms his bride with artistic display and chirping courtship sounds. If she isn’t willing soon (and she rarely is), he pursues her across the area with a veritable bride hunt. The two are not only lightning-fast and agile like snakes, but also so focused on their ritual that everything that is not firmly attached is thrown away by the two lightning bodies.
Only after the wedding is there peace and the most beautiful scenes of marriage for us humans follow. The male is cautious, watchful, ready to defend, and incredibly affectionate towards the mother-to-be during the nest-building phase until the baby’s first outings. He cleans her, fetches food, attacks any intruders, and even babysits her when she stretches her stiff legs. However, the peace does not last long: big children are anathema to both parents and have to move. Otherwise, they will sooner or later feel the merciless sharp teeth of their parents.