Siberian chipmunk

Tamias sibericus


Photo credit: ©Jean-Louis Chapuis

Tamias sibericus     

Common Names:
  • Siberian chipmunk

  • The Siberian chipmunk lives in woodland, forests, sub-urban woodlands and parks, and even urban areas.

  • The Siberian chipmunk is a small striped squirrel with a long bushy sandy grey tail, sandy grey fur and two black stripes running from head to tail.

Origin and Worldwide Distribution:
  • It was introduced into Europe as a pet in the 1960s. Since then, individuals have most probably escaped or been deliberately released from captivity.
  • So far, isolated wild populations have been recorded in woodlands, suburban forests and urban parks in Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands.

Potential or Known Impacts:
  • It is suspected to compete with native rodents and may have a local impact on ground-nesting birds, although the numbers of studies investigating its potential impact on biodiversity are currently limited.
  • It can also cause significant damage to crops, gardens and orchards and it is a potential host for various infectious diseases, such as Lyme disease or rabies, and parasites.

How did it/could it get here?
  • The Siberian chipmunk was a popular as a pet, and some individuals escaped or were released intentionally from captivity.

Is it found in Ireland or Northern Ireland?
  • It has been recorded in Ireland. It has not been recorded in Northern Ireland.
  • More information can be found at NBDC and NBN Atlas NI.
Static Distribution Map as of December 2019 - Courtesy of CEDaR

Methods for Prevention:
  • A sales ban, the phasing out from zoos, collections and any other ownership, a rapid eradication of any newly emerging populations and the management of established populations should prevent the species from becoming a wider problem.
  • Report all sightings to CEDaR.

Current Legislative Position (Listed on 03 August 2016)
  • This species must not intentionally be brought into the Union; kept; bred; transported to, from or within the United Kingdom, unless for the transportation to facilities in the context of eradication; placed on the market; used or exchanged; permitted to reproduce, grown or cultivated; or released into the environment.
    For further queries, you can contact the Non Native Invasive Species Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558.
Invasive Species Ireland

Invasive Species Ireland