Average lifespan in the wild: 3 to 4 years
Size: Head and body, 12 to 15 in (30 to 38 cm); Tail, 3 to 4 in (8 to 10 cm)
Weight: 2 to 4 lbs (1 to 2 kg)
Group name: Prairie dog town
The prairie dog is considered a ground squirrel. There are five species of prairie dog: the black-tailed prairie dog, the white-tailed prairie dog, the Gunnison's prairie dog, the Utah prairie dog and the Mexican prairie dog.
Prairy Dog video.
What does a prairie dog look like?
Prairie dogs, named for their barking cries, are 12 to 15 in. (30 to 36 cm) long, including the 1- to 4-in. (2.5 to 10 cm) tail, and have short, coarse, buff-colored fur.
Where can you find prairie dogs?
They can be found living in highly structured social organizations from Southwestern Canada to Northern Mexico. The coterie relates to the basic family unit with one male, several females and their young. Several coteries form a ward, and many wards make up a township, which average up to 160 acres. A single prairie dog town in Texas may cover 25,000 square miles and include some 400 million individuals. They live in burrows in grassy habitats and vigorously defend their territories with a "jump yip" — an energetic display where prairie dogs bare their chattering teeth and fluff up their tails as a deterrent to intruders.
What does a prairie dog eat?
These large squirrels emerge from their burrows in daylight to forage and feed on grasses, roots, and seeds. They communicate with loud cries. A warning cry, for example, will send a town's denizens hustling to their holes at the approach of a badger, coyote, or other predator. A second, "all-clear" call alerts the community when the danger has passed.
Where do prairie dogs live?
Prairie dogs live in underground burrows, extensive warrens of tunnels and chambers marked by many mounds of packed earth at their surface entrances. Burrows have defined nurseries, sleeping quarters, and even toilets. They also feature listening posts near exits, so animals can safely keep tabs on the movements of predators outside. Prairie dogs spend a lot of time building and rebuilding these dwellings. Other animals benefit from their labors. Burrows may be shared by snakes, burrowing owls, and even rare black-footed ferrets, which hunt prairie dogs in their own dwellings.
Did you know this about Prairie dogs?
Studies suggest that prairie dogs have a sophisticated system of vocal communication with specific calls for different types of predators.
Prairie dogs engineer their burrows with multiple escape routes, and make sure their colonies are well-trimmed of vegetation, removing any potential cover for predators.
Prairy Dog wallpapers
Download free Prairy Dog wallpapers, click on the image to open the large version.
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Prairy Dog coloring pages
Download free Prairy Dog coloring pages, click on the image to open the large version.