Difference Between Chipmunk and Gopher


Main Difference

The main difference between Chipmunk and Gopher is that Chipmunks belong to the family Sciuridae, whereas Gophers are the part of the family Geomyidae.

Chipmunk vs. Gopher

Chipmunk are the burrowing rodents that belong to the family Sciuridae, and dig holes in the ground but are slightly different from each other. Gopher are also burrowing rodents that are part of the family Geomyidae. Chipmunks are omnivores. Gophers are herbivores. Chipmunk generates a little hole at the entrance of the tunnel. Gopher makes a honey-comb like a hole in the babble, and it digs mainly for the storage of foodstuff. Chipmunks prefer to eat the food that plants produced. Gophers prefer to eat underground plant roots.


The tail of Chipmunks is fuzzy and bushy; they keep their tail high above the ground while running. Gopher has long straight tail low to the ground. Chipmunks give birth to their babies one to two times in a whole year. Gopher gives birth two to three times a year. The usual number of babies that Chipmunks deliver at a time are two to eight. Gopher brings forth five to six babies at a time. Ears of Chipmunks are round and erect. However, Ears of the Gopher is short as compared to the chipmunks.

Chipmunks are endemic in North Eurasia and North America. Gophers are located in North America and Central America. Chipmunks are known to be the vocal animals as they produce highly-pitched sounds in their breeding season. Gopher produces sounds on rare occasions and usually remains silent even in their breeding season. Chipmunks do not hide their tunnels holes and don’t use earthen plugs to hide their holes. Gophers make semi-circle shaped tunnel and plugged the holes.


Comparison Chart

A squirrel with cheek pouchesA rodent with fur pouches outside the cheeks
Total Number of Species
25 species are present34 species are present
Hibernation Period
Show hibernationDon’t show hibernation
Body Weight
About 50-150 gramsAbout 120-200 grams
Body Length
18-25 cm16-18 cm
Active during the night time or dawn timeActive throughout the day
Insect and plant matterOnly plant material

What is Chipmunk?

Chipmunks are small creatures mostly found in Asia and America. Streamlined strips of black color are present on the tail, neck head, or back of the chipmunks. Some chipmunks may also have strips of white or brown colors. Chipmunks resemble with the squirrel. The physical characteristics of chipmunks are fatty legs and a frizzy tail. Chipmunks belong to the genus “Tamias” and the family Sciuridae. The common name of chipmunk is Odawa, also known as Ottawa, meaning “red squirrel.”

Chipmunks are mainly feed on the fruit of the plant, e.g., nuts, barriers, grains, seeds, and mushrooms. Sometimes chipmunks also eat bird’s baby, bird’s eggs, different insects and frogs, etc. Chipmunks can store extra food in the pouches of cheeks and can also store fats around the body like a bear. They also store their food in their tunnels. Chipmunks are hibernators. During their hibernation period, they seem like dead, and their heart-rate starts to drops down from 350-4 beats/minute, and their body temperature also drops down from 900-400 Fahrenheit.

Spring is the breeding season of chipmunks, and they like to mate in the spring season. They are commonly found in brown or tan color. A slender athletic body is covered by brown, white, or reddish fur. One of the distinguishing features of chipmunks is that they have black markings and white stripes around the eyes. They can mounds ten to thirty feet long tunnels. Eastern chipmunks are the largest species of chipmunks. Chipmunks are most active during a dark time and at dawn time.

What is Gopher?

Gophers are small rodents having a short neck, fore-paws are clawed and long and strong incisors that touches the lips. Body length is about five to fourteen inches long. They mound their burrows about two-hundred to two-thousand square feet long and also make storage chambers for food storage about six feet deep. Gopher is native to America. It is a furry rodent having small eyes, small ears, and no definite neck. It belongs to the family Geomyidae.

Gophers have a heavy body and designed for digging burrows. Gophers are fossorial; word fossorial is derived from the Latin word “fossor” means to dig. Gophers are usually of uniform color; either they are tan, or brown-black stripes pattern is absent on their body. They have claws on their paws; these claws are designed for digging purposes. Gopher is also known as “Pocket Gopher” because of its furry cheeks pockets. They use their cheek pockets to transport their food from the source of food to their tunnels. Gophers found above the ground during the day-time.

Gophers perform all their activities inside the tunnel-like sleeping, eating, mating, etc. They like to feed on the roots of the plants and underground stems or tubers. However, sometimes they also like to eat the apical part of the small plants. Gophers are not social animals, yet they like to share their tunnels with other creatures. They are commonly known due to their ability to destroy fields, farms, gardens, backyards, etc. Gophers are mainly interested in the attack on vegetable gardens or lawns of moist soil.

Key Differences

  1. Chipmunks mounds about silver-dollar-sized holes in the ground, whereas Gophers mounds fan-shaped tunnel.
  2. Chipmunks have an athletic body; on the other hand, Gopher has a stockier body.
  3. Chipmunks remain above the ground at night time, or at dawn, conversely, Gophers remain above the ground all day.
  4. Chipmunks belong to the family Sciuridae; on the flip side, Gophers are the part of the family Geomyidae.
  5. Chipmunks hid their burrows and left no visual signs of their burrow, while Gophers plug their holes and hide their tunnels.
  6. Chipmunks have colored stripes on their body; inversely, Gophers have no stripes on their body.
  7. Chipmunks are smaller in body size; on the contrary, Gophers are larger.
  8. Chipmunks also make the nests on trees for food when they start foraging; on the converse, Gophers love to live only on the ground or under the ground.
  9. Chipmunks are not in a uniform color; on the other side, Gophers are in a uniform color.
  10. Chipmunks are more social animals as compared to the Gophers but do not want to share their tunnels, while Gophers are less social, but they like to share their tunnels.
  11. Chipmunks mounds silver coin-sized fan like holes; in contrast, Gophers mounds honey-comb like holes.
  12. Chipmunks are omnivores, while Gophers are herbivores.


Chipmunk and Gopher are the two rodents that are alike but are different from each other. Both belong to different families. The difference between a Chipmunk and Gopher based on their bodies, breeding and birth season, habitat, body-color, and the like.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson