Unlike the gopher and mole, which are primarily underground dwellers, the chipmunk is similar to the woodchuck as a surface grazer. It will typically be found sitting on a log or rock snacking or primping its fur coat or dashing off at a high speed emitting a whole collection of sounds while holding its tail straight into the air. This inclination of the chipmunk to hold its tail in this posture can often be used to distinguish between it and a squirrel, as the tendency of most squirrels is to hold its tail horizontal while running. The chipmunk is actually a small type of squirrel and often the only other characteristics that can be used to differentiate between the two besides tail posturing are the facial stripes, and smaller size of the chipmunk.
The chipmunk is usually a solitary animal that will only socialize during the mating season. When not engaging in mating activity, most chipmunks will be found on what seems an endless quest for gathering, eating, and hoarding food and chasing other chipmunks away from its burrow. This voracious practice of collecting food can often be one of the factors to get the chipmunk in trouble with the humans whom it lives around. Unprotected bulbs, seed, vegetables, and fruits within easy reach of the chipmunk are all fair game, and because the chipmunk is often collecting and storing many of these items rather than eat them, it can do considerable damage to a flower or vegetable garden within a short period of time unless proper protective or preventative measures are taken. Another area where the chipmunk also tends to get itself into trouble is in the creation of its burrow under or near a structure. This burrow will occasionally have the tendency to weaken the structure under which it is made and in some cases may lead to structural failure; again proper protective or preventative measures can be exercised to avoid this problem.