They may not be the top of many people’s festive wish list, but keepers at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park really want socks for Christmas.

And staff at the Wiltshire attraction don’t even mind whether they’re odd or even single socks. For the winter stockings are destined to be used as cosy sleeping quarters for their colony of chilly chipmunks.

Longleat Keeper Darren Beasley said: “As well as great places to snuggle up inside the chipmunks also use the socks as places to store their food.

“It may be a bit early to be starting to think about Christmas but we’re hoping people will be happy to find an alternative role for all those odd and unworn socks cluttering up their drawers.

“It’s difficult to think of many other uses for odd socks and donating them to our chipmunks would definitely mean they were going to a good home,” he added.

It’s thought that chipmunks get their name from a North American Indian word which literally means ‘head first’ and refers to the method that they use to climb down trees.

Perhaps the most distinctive characteristic of all chipmunks is their pouched cheeks. The pouches are located in the sides of their mouths and are used to store food.

When the pouches are full they can be as large as an entire chipmunk’s head. Chipmunks can store large amounts of food in their pouched cheeks.

A chipmunk can carry nine large nuts at a time: four in each cheek pouch and one between its teeth.

One chipmunk was reportedly found with 31 kernels of corn in its cheeks.

For more information please contact Steve Mytton on 01985 845415.

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