Prairie dog is a small, stout-bodied, robust rodent belonging to the Sciuridae family. It can also be described as a type of ground squirrel, which is rabbit-sized and lives in underground burrows. The burrows of prairie dogs represent extensive mazes of tunnels and hollows, marked by bundles of packed earth at their surface entrances. Prairie dog is slightly brownish-gray in color. It is known as a dog because of its warning call, which sounds similar to a dog’s bark. It is a highly social animal that lives in its colonies or towns. Prairie dog has small, rounded ears and a short tail. The animal is collected from the wild for the pet trade. There are five different species of the prairie dog, which include black-tailed, white-tailed, Gunnison, Utah, and Mexican prairie dogs. Read on to know some more interesting facts and amazing information on this mammal.
Facts About Prairie Dog
Species: Cynomys gunnisoni, Cynomys leucurus, Cynomys ludovicianus, Cynomys mexicanus and Cynomys parvidens
Height: 11 to 13 inches
Weight: 2 to 4 lbs (1 to 2 kg)
Life Span: 3-5 years in the wild
Diet: (Herbivore) all types of fruits and vegetables
Range: United States (mostly west of the Mississippi River), Canada, and Mexico (Northeastern Sonora, North and Northeastern Chihuahua, Northern Coahuila, Northern Nuevo León, and Northern Tamaulipas)
Habitat: Underground burrows, extensive warrens of tunnels and chambers
Age of Sexual Maturity: 1 year
Gestation Period: 28-32 days
Number of Offspring: 3 - 8, average 5
Interesting & Amazing Information On Prairie Dogs
- Prairie dog is an extremely social animal. It lives in large colonies or towns that can go beyond hundreds of acres.
- There was a huge prairie dog settlement in 1900, which extended about 100 miles by 250 miles on the high plains of Texas. It is estimated that about 400 million prairie dogs dwelled in the settlement!
- A burrow made by prairie dog has defined nurseries, sleeping quarters, and toilets. Moreover, the rodent also features listening posts near exits, so that it can easily keep a check on the movements of predators outside.
- Since it is a social animal, prairie dog lives in family groups that include a male, 2 to 4 females and the young children. The members cooperate with each other for food, chase off other dogs, groom one another and even greet each other with a kiss.
- A prairie dog uses its dichromatic color vision to identify predators and gives an alert to others with a special high-pitched warning call. The call is made once again, when the danger is gone.
- The young ones of a prairie dog are blind and furless at birth and need about 30 days of close nurturing by their mother. In addition, they are very playful and can be seen dancing and playing near their burrows.
- The prairie dog is a diurnal mammal that searches for grasses, roots, and seeds in the daylight.
- If a prairie dog is taken as pet, it demands full attention of the master. In the wild, the animal considers humans as member of their colony.