Meet Stripes:

Stripes was a wild chipmunk that lived outside of my house for a year until I moved. We were pals.

Before Stripes, there was Chip:

But back to Stripes, I liked her more:


It all started when I saw a chipmunk outside of my front door. I spontaneously decided to run inside, grab some nuts, and throw them at him. For every morning thereafter I brought nuts to throw, or at least to leave out if I couldn’t find him. I quickly conditioned him to his name “Chip” by repeating “Chip-chip-chip-chip-chip” every time I fed him. Within a week of first seeing Chip, I fed him from my hand.

He also lightly nibbled on my finger when this happened. Which is cute but I could’ve gotten rabies (~100% fatal). Out of ignorance I didn’t take this seriously, but probably should’ve. I wore gloves after this.

I left nuts out for Chip daily, and I checked outside every few hours to see if he was out or needed more nuts. I believe the nuts incentivized him to hang around my front door.

At some point here, a new chipmunk somehow replaced Chip. Stripes moved differently and was more skittish at first. She stuck around the longest, and I got to have a lot of fun with her.

But before I could get to know her well, winter came. Northeastern chipmunks don’t necessarily hibernate, but they do sleep a lot. I would leave nuts out for her during this time and she would leave little footprints in the snow when she grabbed them.

After the weather warmed and Stripes became more active, she had babies! She had two litters that spring.

I also tried new activities with Stripes. Feeding her from a spoon was one of my favorites— and if I lifted the spoon high enough while she was eating, she would pull herself onto the spoon, and I would have a chipmunk on a spoon. We also experimented with ladders and a makeshift swings to varying success.

Unfortunately after that year I left for college and my family moved, so I haven’t seen Stripes since.