Uinta Chipmunk

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I didn’t have much opportunity to photograph wildlife while we were in the Tetons (that all changed when we continued on up to Yellowstone, as you will see).  But, I did manage to capture some images of a few creatures and they included this:

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This charming little animal is a Uinta Chipmunk, a species of chipmunk that is native to the mountainous regions of the western United States.  It specializes in eating conifer seeds and can be found in conjunction with pine, spruce, and fir forests at elevations ranging from about 4500 feet to about 10,000 feet above sea level.  These little animals are diurnal and in their own world they are fairly tough customers.  Each of these little chipmunks is highly territorial.  It will stake out a turf of a few acres and vigorously defend it against interloping members of its own species.

When I discovered this one it was deeply involved with a conifer cone, working it over to extract seeds.  It was so obsessed with its prize that it allowed me to walk within four or five feet of it without paying me any attention whatsoever.

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At one point it began rolling the cone along the ground, using the tip of its nose to push the cone.  At first I thought it was playing but then, I realized that it was rotating the cone so that it could meticulously inspect it for any seeds that it had failed to extract.

Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 100-400 mm zoom ISII+1.4x telextender, aperture priority setting.  The first image shot at ISO 400, f8 @ 1/400.  The second image made at ISO 500, f7.1 @ 1/1250.

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