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Differences in Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus) Behavior Between an Urbanized and a Forested Habitat in Central Pennsylvania

David Keller1, Michael R. Gannon1,*, and Carolyn G. Mahan1

1Department of Biology, The Pennsylvania State University, Altoona College, Altoona PA 16601. *Corresponding author.

Northeastern Naturalist, Volume 30, Issue 3 (2023): 295–303

We observed Tamias striatus (Eastern Chipmunk) over 6 years in a mature deciduous forest and in a nearby urban area in Blair County, PA. Our objective was to examine differences in relative behavioral frequencies between the forested and urban habitat. Using focal-animal sampling techniques, we observed 17 distinct behaviors. Four behaviors showed significant difference between habitats: pause, vertical pause, forage, run. We attribute these differences to the characteristics of the landscape. Pause and vertical pause occurred in the urban habitat more often than expected, most likely due to the openness and lack of protection from predators overhead. Foraging was more frequent within the urban habitat, perhaps due to greater variety, distribution, and availability of anthropogenic food sources. Run behavior was less prevalent in the urban habitat, likely because chipmunks and other animals have become accustomed to human presence. Our work supports findings by others that indicate wildlife that persist in human-modified environments display behavioral differences influenced by habitat.

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