Siberian chipmunk

Tamias sibericus

Overview

Photo credit: ©Jean-Louis Chapuis
Tamias sibericus     
Common Names:
  • Siberian chipmunk

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

Description:
  • 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.
  • Download N.I.E.A. ID guide

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.

Species Related Files:

Invasive Species Ireland

Invasive Species Ireland