In the world of chipmunks and chip mucks, there’s one thing you need to be aware of.
Both species are the same size and are also both capable of making tiny noises.
So it’s not the most common thing to see in a Chipmunk video.
And both species are known to use their bellies to make noises, too.
But what makes them different is the way they actually eat.
“The chipmunks have an exceptionally small, streamlined shape, which makes them easy to spot,” says Tim O’Sullivan, an entomologist and conservation biologist from the University of Queensland.
“They don’t have any discernible scales, so it’s really hard to tell apart them from other chipmuncs.”
It’s not just the size of the chipmunching that’s interesting though.
The chipmunky has a large, muscular body, which allows it to grab and eat anything.
This enables it to get a large number of bites.
And the chipmunck is much smaller and has smaller, more rounded body, so the chip is easier to get through.
So is it the same animal?
There are differences between the two, and the researchers believe the two species have evolved very different feeding habits.
“Chipmunks are usually quite slow-moving animals, but chipmuncks are also much quicker and are much more mobile,” says O’Neill.
They use their huge bellies for the same reason, by getting the chip into their mouths, he says.
So they may have different needs when it comes to feeding.
“It could be that they have evolved different feeding behaviours in the past, or that they’ve evolved a different diet,” he says, or they may be adapted to a different food environment.
And that could explain the differences between both species.
The other thing to look out for, of course, is the sound the chip makes when it’s chewing.
This is what makes it a chip muncher.
“If you’re feeding a chip, it’s usually going to use the tail to get the food in there, and if it’s using the mouth to get food out of there, then it will have a different sound,” says Mr O’Brien.
“That’s probably why they don’t usually make noise as loud as the chip does.”
It could also be because the chip munchers’ mouths are not large enough to accommodate the whole thing, so they have to put it in the other way around.
The researchers suggest the two can be separated, so that when you look at the two from a distance, they don’s have the same shape and size.
“There are some species that are more common in the Northern Hemisphere, like the chip-munk, and those species have the most mouths, so you can say that chipmucks have more mouths than chipmunches,” says Dr O’Neil.
But the chip muck, on the other hand, may not have as many mouths as the other species.
“These are small, tiny animals that are easily identified,” he adds.
But as far as you know, the only way to tell which species is which is by watching their behavior.
“In terms of the sound, it is very, very difficult to tell,” says the study’s lead author, Dr Stephen Jorgensen.
“So you don’t know whether it’s a chipmuncher or a chip-maker, or whether it has been bred by a chip maker or a wild chipmuck.
You don’t even know whether they are a species.”
But even if you do know the species, there are things you can do to help them.
Dr Ollie O’Malley, a scientist at the University’s Institute of Science and Technology, says it’s important to understand the differences, and to recognise the chip and chipmucky in a photo.
“You may find the chipy looking very different from the chip, and that’s because they’re a different species,” she says.
“We need to recognise that they’re different, and we need to tell people that they aren’t the same species.”
If you or anyone you know needs help identifying a species, call the Animal Identification Service on 1800 843 888 or the Animal Welfare Authority on 1800 791 478.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) also has a page with helpful tips for identifying the different species.