-Under Construction-Chipmunks are cute little rodents who stuff their fat little cheeks with food, dig complicated tunnels, and sing covers of pop songs at a higher pitch.

Grapes are almost as good as acorns,

Just The Facts

  1. Chipmunks are part of the Squirrel family...just kind of small.
  2. They live in carefully excavated underground tunnels.
  3. Real chipmunks are usually cuter than cartoon chipmunks.
  4. Cartoon chipmunks do get pretty famous anyway.

Real Chipmunks

Chipmunks are seriously cute. Like, all the way at the top of the scale. Respected cutologists agree that this is due to a combination of their small size, their adorable little stripes, and their big fat cheekies.

When they are not busy stuffing their faces with various seeds, nuts, and fruit, they are usally working on their tiny chipmunk lair, consisting of confusing tunnels underground.

It turns out that chipmunks are surprisingly clever and diligent about this tunnel business. While larger squirrels dick around in trees, chipmunks are digging away like a team of seasoned bank robbers. Their tunnels are not only their homes and hideouts, they also dig seperate branches for food storage, sleeping, and taking a dump. Yep, chipmunks are too smart to shit in their own beds. They also carefully choose the placement of their tunnel exits, frequently hiding them behind large objects or under low foliage. When you see a chipmunk who disappears a second later, it's because he booked into his tunnel, and you can't see the entrance. You could find it if you looked, but it would take like 3 hours to find it and then the chipmunk would be mad. Just let them go do their cute activities. Don't look for their tunnel.

Cartoon Chipmunks

Cartoon chipmunks are also very popular with human viewers.

Chip and Dale

Like most Disney animals, these two are happy most of the time...

Walt Disney introduced Chip and Dale in 1943, and originally made them nearly identical. To help keep them straight, they gave Chip a black nose and Dale a red nose. Other ways to tell them apart easily include their teeth (Dale has a large gap between his teeth), and their "hair styles" (smooth for Chip, and messy for Dale).

Somehow, the children from Disney's focus group still couldn't tell them apart, so when Disney launched "Rescue Rangers" in 1989, Chip was dressed like Indiana Jones and Dale was dressed like Magnum P.I.

Mice and flies also tested well with children.

The show was a hit with kids (and some adults) and made the two chipmunks even more famous than they had been before.

Alvin and the Chipmunks

In the 80s, they wore wizard robes for some reason.

The world's other famous Chipmunks, called "Alvin and the Chipmunks" for some reason, even though it seems to imply that Alvin is not one of the chipmunks (when he totally is), were created in 1958 by Ross Bagdasarian Sr. (who voiced their human friend and father "Dave Seville").

Bagdasarian would sing in a normal pitch at half speed, then play back the recording at double speed, making the voices of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore sound high-pitched and squeaky. After scoring a pair of grammy-winning, #1 billboard hits with "Witch Doctor" and "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)", their popularity continued for many years.

Small children would force adults to listen to this record over and over and over...

Bagdasarian's death in 1972 effectively ended the project for a while, but in 1979, his son Ross Bagdasarian Jr. brought them back again, in the form a relatively popular saturday-mornng cartoon. Universal had the rights to make direct-to-video movies in the 90s, but the quality wasn't up to usual standards for the Chipmunks, and Bagsasarian Jr. was furious.

He sued them and won, and when the Chipmunks did make their cinematic comeback in 2006, Bagdasarian oversaw the entire project himself (as well as continuing to provide his singing voice). Jason Lee was cast as Dave, and the Chipmunks themselves were CGI animated, and voiced by Justin Long (Alvin), Matthew Gray Gubler (Simon), and Jesse McCartney (Theodore). David Cross was cast as the film's villain, and when asked why he signed on to such a clearly commercial production, Cross explained that he had discovered he was unable to buy a house with "indie street cred" and that for some reason the bank required money.

Here they are in a scene from Avatar their CGI incarnation.