It's a well-known fact that chipmunks are generally and unassailably adorable. Alvin and friends have been making bank at the box office lately, following the footsteps of those legendary rabble rousers Chip and Dale. But a chipmunk who knows how to monitor its nutritional intake? Now that's the total package.
This hungry chipmunk was snapped by observant photographer Michael Higgins, 29, in the act of examining a wayward breakfast bar wrapper at Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. Although this photo is adorable, it's disturbing to see animals investigating human trash, and hopefully chipmunks in the future will only investigate items of more natural origins. The little scavenger here ultimately decided to pass on the granola treat, but returned to peruse other offerings at Higgins' camp site.
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Chipmunks, Tamias, are part of the Marmotini tribe, a grouping of the larger Sciuridae family, that includes other types of terrestrial squirrels. According to National Geographic, these small, lively mammals are the smallest members of their squirrely family, feeding mostly on berries and nuts which they are adorably adept at stuffing into their cheek pouches for easy storage. Of the 25 Tamias species, all but one are found in North America.
Squirrels in general have an interesting place in American hearts it seems, with a National Squirrel Appreciation Day scheduled for Jan. 21 and the Washington Post devoting an entire week in April to coverage of the rodent, which columnist John Kelly writes, "so many of us love — or love to hate."
It's been a relatively tough summer for squirrels living in the Chicago area, where unseasonably warm temperatures on the heels of a mild winter have reduced the squirrel population, Chicago Wildlife News reports.
Apparently, it's also been something of a tough year for owners of pet squirrels, one of whom was involved in a hilarious incident of attempted hair-nesting by her energetic pet, caught on candid camera for all of YouTube to enjoy.
And speaking of videos, this amazing slow-motion chipmunk video via Urlesque and the TPS Video Studio is must-see in the event that the nutrition-conscious critter pictured below has awakened a dormant chipmunk obsession.