Prairie Dog Facts and Information
Introduction to Prairie Dog
The Prairie Dog is a type of rodent. It is often seen as being curious and intelligent. They are often seen at the sides of the road looking intently at their surroundings. There are 5 species of them and they vary in colors and locations. For example some of them have white tails and some have black tails. They can be from 12 to16 incheslong. They can weigh from 2 to4 pounds.
Prairie Dog Description
The body of the Prairie Dog is usually a light shade of brown so that they can blend in well with their surroundings. They have small, round ears and a small black pointed nose. They have sharp claws that they use for digging. They can dig many feet deep to create burrows in a short period of time.
Prairie Dog Distribution
The Prairie Dog is a burrowing creature and it is found around various locations in North America. This includes all over the United States, Canada, and Mexico. They live on the prairie, thus their namesake. They can live in locations where the land doesn’t seem to offer them much. They tend to be a nuisance to farmers and ranchers because they dig in those locations where they also try to raise animals or crops.
Prairie Dog Behavior
They live in colonies and they have many burrows all over it. There are some Prairie Dogs on guard at all times. They survey the area and listen intently for any signs of danger. Should they give the indication that there is a risk they will give out vocal sounds and all of the colony will enter a burrow as quickly as they can. Their warning calls often sound like a dog barking.
They are very social and there are plenty of subgroups in their colonies. They are often seen showing physical affection to their mate and offspring. This can include cuddling, rubbing on each other, and what resembles kissing. There are many family groups that have their own levels of hierarchy inside of a colony. This is very similar to how humans in a community interact with other families.
Prairie Dog Feeding
The Prairie Dog is an herbivore and they will consume a variety of plants, grass, and shrubs that grow in their habitat. They will also consume berries and fruits when they are available. They are often seasonal though so they can only get them at certain times of the year. They also eat vegetables and nuts and that is why they have become a pest in some regions. They can quickly destroy vegetable gardens or large crops grown by farmers. Sometimes they can eat some insects.
Prairie Dog Reproduction
All mating takes place in the burrows, but the males are very aggressive for the right to mate with a female. They will also mate with many females so at the end of the breeding season they are exhausted. After mating the females will want to keep the males as far away from their burrow as possible until the young are born.
Then his job will be to protect the burrow from predators. The mother will keep them in the burrow until they are about 6 weeks old. Then they will come out and it will be a social gala. The other colony members will welcome the young into their community.
Prairie Dog Conservation
The Prairie Dog doesn’t seem to be having too much trouble surviving now. Some species have had low numbers at times with but some conservation efforts they were able to increase without too much difficulty. In fact, in some locations there are now problems with overpopulation so it is legal to hunt them.