17 Comments

  1. Strange Chipmunks. Chipmunks store food in their cheeks. So s/he didn’t need survey results, just a mirror to know of the food obsession.

  2. Folly nailed it @1 – there just isn’t anything to add here, except possibly a little more coloration.

  3. As this is normal behaviour for chipmunks, can it really be said that he’s ‘obsessed’? That word has negative connotations of intrusive and disruptive actions, but that’s not the case for this little fella’. He’s just doing what chipmunks do, and it’s probably helping him out overall seeing as that’s how they’ve evolved to behave. No?

  4. Cheek-stuffing is normal behavior for chipmunks, but psychological surveys tend to be geared toward human behavior. Most surveys have a speciesist bias built in. So it is not unexpected for chipmunks to get skewed results. I’m sure it happens all the time.

  5. According to all the helpful educational signage at various state and national parks I read while in Oregon, if it has stripes on its head, it’s a chipmunk, if it doesn’t, it’s a ground squirrel. So the ones pictured are chipmunks, not ground squirrels — according to the signage in Oregon!

  6. larK: Does the signage actually specifically say that if it has stripes on its head that it’s a chipmunk, and not a ground squirrel? If not, a casual reader might (reasonably) incorrectly infer that stripes on the head imply that it’s not a ground squirrel, but strictly speaking, that doesn’t follow from “if it has stripes on its head, it’s a chipmunk, if it doesn’t, it’s a ground squirrel.” Perhaps the signs were written to encourage strict and literal logical parsing!

  7. There were many and different signs, and they weren’t all that well written, and I’m loosely quoting from memory. The point of them was, I think, after research, that the chipmunk looking rodent you likely are seeing scurrying around here (Oregon) is not in fact a chipmunk, much though he looks just like Chip and/or Dale, he is actually a ground squirrel. Note the lack of striping on the head — that’s how you can tell.

    Now back on the East Coast, I have recently seen lots of actual chipmunks (yes, they have two stripes on the head), and I compared to a picture I took of the Oregon species, and while yes, the coat and coloring do look remarkably similar (excepting the stripes (or lack thereof) on the head), the Oregon specimen is clearly a squirrel — he looks much more like a squirrel (aside from the coloration) than a chipmunk. But the coloration is very similar to a chipmunk’s, and the fact that he is a ground squirrel, I can see how people used to chipmunks would assume this was one. So I think all the signage is a form of, “*sigh*, yes, it superficially looks like a chipmunk, but it’s not, it’s a squirrel — the lack of head striping is the giveaway…”

  8. We’re dealing with common names of animals, which are often less well defined than the scientific names. Britannica show that ground squirrels are “any of numerous relatively short-legged, terrestrial rodents of the squirrel family, Sciuridae (order Rodentia). The name is applied to […] the many species of the genus Spermophilus, and, often, to the chipmunks.” And that chipmunks are “also called Ground Squirrel, any of several species of small, terrestrial rodents belonging to the squirrel family (Sciuridae).”

    So are chipmunks ground squirrels? There is no yes or no answer because both terms are ambiguous.

  9. Getting back to comics, I vaguely remember a pair of comic book characters (1950’s) that were basically Chip ‘n’ Dale but instead of being chipmunks, one was a prairie dog and the other was a ground squirrel and they lived in a hole in the desert. Does that ring a bell with anyone? For the longest time I thought that Chip ‘n’ Dale were also two different species, because they LOOK like two different species, particularly the noses, but all the authorities say they are two chipmunks. Well, anyway, in the 1950’s I was reading any comic books I could get my hands on, even Charlton Comics, so I saw a lot of characters that were similar to other characters. Maybe the prairie dog and ground squirrel hung around with Barney Bear and Benny Burro.

  10. Hmmm … I see from Toonopedia that Carl Barks wrote and drew the Benny Burro comics, which were MGM properties. And that the prairie dog was “Wuff the Prairie Dog”.

  11. My first take on it was that it was a dis on pop-psychology quizes (of the sort found in tabloids, interweb clickbait, etc.) and as such could have used almost any animals paired with said animal’s best-known characteristic, resulting in an implicit “Well, d’oh!”

  12. I figured he was “working” in a psych lab on or in experiments. Robert had to teach a chicken once to do something or other to get food – and the darn thing learned so quickly he was sure it had taken the course before.

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