What’s happening with our Chippies?

This October has proven to be a very interesting season for the chipmunks in our area of cottage country. We are not certain what is going on, but there is something! What we have come to expect of the feeding patterns of our beloved chippies has been changing! Like most people, we have always thought about chipmunks as those cute little furry creatures that love to run around and collect all things nuts and seeds. They are the little creatures that our children love to feed peanuts to and are delighted when they follow them around or run up their arm for a peanut. This year however, they have been in abundance. Our daughter decided early in the season to feed these little furry friends peanuts as she has done multiple times before, however we had to put a stop to that! They were everywhere!! And, the amount of nuts and acorns that they were moving around was incredible. They were all over our decks, under our cottage, all over the property and making nests close to our septic system…yikes!!! We certainly noticed all of this activity, but we certainly were not prepared for what we were about to see.

One day, late in the summer our daughter was painting a neighbour’s bunkie door. It was actually the last day of her summer business, Nikki’s Cottage Care (see FB) and she had asked me to join her to keep her company. She had mentioned to me earlier in the week that she had seen something disturbing, a chipmunk eating a fuzzy caterpillar. Although I thought that this was very strange, I dismissed it as a anomaly and really didn’t give it much thought. But, on this day I was shocked! As my daughter was working away and I was chatting with her, a chipmunk ran by us with a small leopard frog in its mouth. We stopped to watch it go by. Interestingly enough, the chipmunk stopped and sat up in front of us as if to say, “watch this!” Before our eyes, the chipmunk began to devour the frog. A chipmunk eating a frog!? What is happening? It proceeded to eat the entire frog as we watched in disbelief. We were shocked! So shocked that neither of us thought to capture it on video…drats! Needless to say, our understanding of our sweet, furry, nut eating friends was shattered. I turned to my daughter and exclaimed, “I think that I’ve just lost respect for chipmunks!” Her response, “I think that I just gained respect for them!” Whatever your reaction, the fact remains that in all of the years that I’ve been in cottage country, I have never heard or seen a chipmunk eat a frog! I felt compelled to share this with our friends in the area, and they too had never heard of or seen such a thing. I even shared this with one of our neighbours who is a Biologist. He had never heard of chipmunks behaving in this way, but wasn’t surprised by it. His response, “After all, protein is good!”

I’m curious to see what the chip pies will be doing next season? Was this an anomaly or are they changing? Nature is fascinating!

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