Autumn is a dynamic time in the natural world. While we scurry to get our pumpkin spice lattes, the animals scurry around preparing themselves for winter. An excellent example of this is the Eastern Chipmunk’s fall preparation. Have you ever noticed these cute critters with an unusually large amount of food in their cheeks? It’s probably to gather enough supplies for the cold months ahead.
Chipmunks gather many different types of food. Some favorites include corn kernels, sunflower seeds, beechnuts, and acorns. But how do you hold all these items if you need all four limbs to walk? By stuffing them in your mouth of course. Chipmunks, and other rodents including hamsters, have cheek pouches that in some species can go all the way back to their shoulder blades. This creates a lot more space relative to their body size compared to human cheeks. With these pouches, chipmunks can store as much as the size of their whole body in food. But, as you can imagine, running with full cheek pouches will tend to cause floppy cheeks.