【Series】 Spirits of the Kamuy landscape
In this series, the transformation of four seasons will be introduced through articles on wild animals that are active in the deep forests, marshes, and ocean as if they were being cradled by “Kamui,” which means deity in the Ainu language. The first installment in the series is the Yezo sika deer of Notsuke Peninsula. (Text and photographs by Tadanobu Shigeru from the Kushiro Branch News Secti
【Series】Spirits of the Kamuy landscape (47) Chipmunks’ cheeks full of fruits of autumn
While traveling across a scree slope in search of pika rock rabbits halfway up Mt. Tokachidake, I encountered two chipmunks.
Many mammals are highly independent and often live alone, except during the breeding and parenting seasons. Perhaps the two chipmunks were siblings that were born this year; as I moved closer, I could see them gazing at each other, their faces occasionally touching.
In autumn, chipmunks are busy collecting nuts and other food in preparation for the long hibernation. The hibernation of chipmunks differs from the complete hibernation of reptiles, in that they occasionally wake up in their nest and eat, so the stockpiling of food is essential. Whenever it finds autumn fruit, it repeatedly fills its cheek pouches and moves on.
Acorns and walnuts are stored in several places, and uneaten food will sprout in spring. The habits of chipmunks play an important role in the ecosystems of forests.
(Photo and words by Shigeru Tadanobu)