Scientific Name: Tamias palmeri
Size: Body length – about 8 ½ to 9 inches including the tail
Life Span: Approximately 4 years and less
The back has distinct black and white stripes and the sides are tawny and tan, while the head and rump are gray. The median line is dusky.
Palmer’s chipmunks are found in cliff and forested areas at about 7000 feet to 10,000 feet in elevation. In general, the Palmer’s chipmunk occurs from the upper end of the pinyon-juniper community to the fir-pine and bristlecone pine community.
The Palmer’s chipmunk is endemic to Nevada, found only in the spring mountains (mainly Mount Charleston) in Clark County in southern Nevada.
Palmer’s chipmunks burrow in the ground, although they will also use holes in trees as nests. They are active, diurnal chipmunks. The Palmer’s chipmunks generally stay close to the cover of a rock, crevice, or log.
The diet consists of a variety of food items including conifer seeds, fruits, grass, vegetation, insects, and other seeds. Observations of caches have revealed that seeds of ponderosa pine and currant are important food items.
A litter of 3 to 6 young are born in April to July.
The Palmer’s chipmunk is state protected in Nevada and is further classified as sensitive.
Reason for Status:
Palmer’s chipmunks are a species of concern due to their extreme limited distribution in the spring mountains. Threats to this species include: woodcutting, water diversions, and predation by feral dogs and cats. With the designation of the spring mountains as a national recreation area, and the increase in visitation, concern exists that recreational activities are impacting chipmunk populations.
Management & Conservation:
Conservation of habitat within the limited range of the Palmer's chipmunk is important. This species is the subject of ongoing studies to monitor the population and determine its status.