CDC Logo

BC Conservation Data Centre: Species Summary

Neotamias amoenus
Yellow-Pine Chipmunk

Scientific Name: Neotamias amoenus (J.A. Allen, 1890)
Scientific Name Synonyms: Tamias amoenus
English Name: Yellow-Pine Chipmunk
Classification / Taxonomy
Scientific Name - Concept Reference: Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at:
Classification Level: Species
Taxonomy Comments: January 2006 Changed to Neotamias from Tamias as per NatureServe. See Global Taxonomy Comments (DDW).
Species Group: Vertebrate Animal
Species Code: M-NEAM
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Rodentia Sciuridae
Conservation Status / Legal Designation
Global Status: G5 (Apr 2016)
Provincial Status: S5 (Feb 2015)
BC List: Yellow
Provincial FRPA list:   
Provincial Wildlife Act:
SARA Schedule:
General Status Canada: 4 - Secure (2005)
Ecology & Life History
General Description:
Global Reproduction Comments: Breeds in early spring. Average litter size is 5 (Washington) to 6 (California); 1 litter/year in Washington Cascades (Kenagy and Barnes 1988). Young are born from mid-May to early June (Banfield 1974), weaned in about 6 weeks; first appear at surface in June in Washington Cascades; first breeds at 1 year (Kenagy and Barnes 1988). May live up to 5 years.
Global Ecology Comments: Home range is a few acres, parts of which may be used seasonally (see Sutton 1992). In Washington, density was fairly stable over 3 years at 1.25/ha (see Sutton 1992). Easy prey for many kinds of predators. Competitive interactions with other chipmunk species may limit habitat use. Effective dispersal agent for Jeffrey pine seeds (Vander Wall 1992; see also Vander Wall, 1993, Oecologia 96:246-252).
Migration Characteristics:
(Global / Provincial)
    Local Migrant:
    Distant Migrant:
    Within Borders Migrant:
Y /
N /
N /
na /
(Type / Subtype / Dependence)
Global Habitat Comments: Generally in brushy areas interspersed with herbaceous vegetation and open conifer stands; shrubs typically present include snowberry, chinquapin, mountain mahogany, antelope brush, currant, and buckbrush (Sutton 1992). Found among logs, brush, and rocky outcrops. Also in brushy areas between subalpine forest and alpine tundra, and in alpine areas themselves. Digs burrows 7-21" deep. Constructs grass nest in burrow under stump, log, or rock; also nests above ground in woody vegetation.
Food Habits: Frugivore: Adult, Immature
Granivore: Adult, Immature
Invertivore: Adult, Immature
Global Food Habits Comments: Diet consists of seeds, fruits, green foliage, flowers, roots, buds, bulbs, tubers, fungi, and small animals. Caches food in burrow and in scattered pits dug in soil surface.
Global Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates: Adult, Immature
Global Phenology Comments: Hibernates late fall-early spring. May become lethargic during cold summer weather. Stores little energy as body fat; awakens periodically in winter to feed on stored seeds (Banfield 1974, Sutton 1992).
Provincial Phenology:
(1st half of month/
2nd half of month)
Colonial Breeder: N
Length(cm)/width(cm)/Weight(g): 25/ / 73
Elevation (m) (min / max): Global: 
Endemic: N
Global Range Comment: Western North America, from central British Columbia and southwestern Alberta south to Yolla Bolly Range and Mammoth Pass in California, northern Nevada, and northwestern Utah, east to central Montana and western Wyoming; elevations of 975-2900 m in California (Sutton 1992; Hoffmann et al., in Wilson and Reeder 1993).
Authors / Contributors
Global Information Author: Hammerson, G.
Last Updated: Apr 26, 1996
Provincial Information Author:
Last Updated:
References and Related Literature
Banfield, A. W. F. 1974. The mammals of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Canada. 438 pp.
Hall, E. R. 1981a. The Mammals of North America, second edition. Vols. I & II. John Wiley & Sons, New York, New York. 1181 pp.
Ingles, L. G. 1965. Mammals of the Pacific States. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.
Jones, J. K., Jr., R. S. Hoffman, D. W. Rice, C. Jones, R. J. Baker, and M. D. Engstrom. 1992a. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 1991. Occasional Papers, The Museum, Texas Tech University, 146:1-23.
Kenagy, G. J., and B. M. Barnes. 1988. Seasonal reproductive patterns in four coexisting rodent species from the Cascade Mountains. J. Mamm. 69:274-292.
Levenson, H., et al. 1985. Systematics of the Holarctic chipmunks (TAMIAS). J. Mammalogy 66:219-242.
Maser, C., and Z. Maser. 1988. Interactions among squirrels, mycorrhizal fungi, and coniferous forests in Oregon. Great Basin Nat. 48:358-369.
Nagorsen, D., M. Fraker, and N. Panter. 2002. Chipmunks of the Kootenay Region, British Columbia: Distribution, Identification, Taxonomy, Conservation Status. Rep. prepared for Columbia Basin Fish and Wildl. Compensation Program. Nelson, BC.
Sutton, D. A. 1992. Tamias amoenus. Am. Soc. Mamm., Mammalian Species No. 390:1-8.
Sutton, D. A. 1995. Problems of taxonomy and distribution in four species of chipmunks. Journal of Mammalogy 76:843-850.
Vander Wall, S. B. 1992. The role of animals in dispersing a "wind-dispersed" pine. Ecology 73:614-621.
Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at:

Please visit the website Conservation Status Ranks for definitions of the data fields used in this summary report.

Suggested Citation:

B.C. Conservation Data Centre. 1996. Species Summary: Neotamias amoenus. B.C. Minist. of Environment. Available: (accessed Apr 22, 2024).