Prairie dogs invest a lot of energy in building their homes. The name “prairie dog” is due to their prairies/grasslands habitat and their bark-like warning calls. Because these highly social rodents largely communicate through vocalizations, theyâre highly sensitive to sound. There are five species of prairie dogs: black-tailed, Mexican, Gunnisonâs, white-tailed, and Utah prairie dogs. This way, they can identify each other and tell whether theyâre from the same family group. Families usually are made up of one male and two to four females living in a strict social hierarchy.Prairie dog pups reach sexual maturity at about 3 years of age, and after their third winter the dominant male in a given family will drive them away, forcing them to establish their own families on the edges of the colony. 4. Prairie dogs are members of the squirrel family. On occasion, these motherly instincts make them take care of young prairie dogs that arenât theirs. © 2020 World Wildlife Fund. One of the most impressive prairie dog facts is that their bark-like calls are part of their unique and sophisticated language. In a coterie or clan, there may be one or two dominant males, one or two juvenile males, and multiple adult and juvenile females. For example some of them have white tails and some have black tails. Biology of prairie dogs Prairie dogs have a stout body, with a narrow, pointed head, very short ears, short legs and tail, and strong digging claws on their fingers. “These animals support at least 136 other species through their various activities,” said Kristy Bly, a WWF senior wildlife conservation biologist. Prairie dogs range in weight from 1-3 lbs. 50 Beautiful Peacock Facts You Should Not Miss. They’re cousins of the squirrels in your backyardAll five species of prairie dog belong to the Scuiridae (squirrel) family. They live in large colonies which people refer to as a prairie dog village or prairie dog town. Black-footed ferrets depend on prairie dogs—and we’re working to protect both speciesPrairie dogs are the primary source of food and habitat for endangered black-footed ferrets. Join us to make change. Female prairie dogs take care of their young by nursing them, collecting grass for their burrows, and protecting them against threats. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. However, the litter sizes can be as few as one pup and as many as eight pups. Meriwether Lewis described the black-tailed prairie dog as a âbarking squirrelâ. When prairie dogs make their burrows and establish new territories, they sometimes destroy crops and agricultural land along the way. Interesting Prairie dog Facts: Prairie dogs are the same size like rabbits. This instinct conserves their energy until the environmental conditions permit them to go out and forage again. In the grasslands across the central and western United States, their intricate underground colonies—called prairie dog towns—create shelter for jackrabbits, toads, and rattlesnakes. Their range sits among the borders between New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and … 30 Strange Flamingo Facts That You Never Knew About, In 2003, because of threats of spreading plagues and other zoonotic diseases, the CDC. Not only do prairie dogs have a general call for danger, but they can also describe important details about the potential threats.Â. This leads to more nutritious vegetation growing in prairies, which many animals benefit from. When you hear the word prairie dog, you probably wouldn’t think of a rodent. Required fields are marked For black-tailed prairie dogs, the breeding season occurs after they hibernate â between March and April. , which are also rodents that live in arid habitats, prairie dogs do not bathe in the water. Check out these facts for a glimpse into their strange, surprisingly complex world. Females go into estrus for a single hour. they eat. FUN FACTS. Prairie Facts. “They’re basically the Chicken McNuggets of the grasslands.”. Because these highly social rodents largely communicate through vocalizations, theyâre highly sensitive to sound. Most notably, one prairie dog town in Texas reportedly spanned around 25,000 square miles (64,000 kmÂ²) with 400,000,000 individual black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). Within the families of prairie dogs, the females are typically related to one another and were born in the same group. Males will fight with other males to defend their territories through ramming, biting, and kicking each other. Prairie dogs arenât the only ones that benefit from their complex burrows – some other animals also take refuge in these spaces. Adopt a prairie dog. Although the CDC and FDA have lifted the ban on their hunting and trade since 2008, some states still have laws regarding the protection of prairie dogs. They live in large colonies which people refer to as a prairie dog village or prairie dog town. The largest recorded prairie dog town contained about 400 million individual prairie dogs. The biggest ever Black-tailed prairie dogs’ town recorded was in Texas, covering 65,000 sq. Highly social, prairie dogs live in large colonies – collections of prairie dog families that can span hundreds of acres. An old nickname for prairie dogs is âsod poodle,â which inspired the named of the Texas baseball team Amarillo Sod Poodles. Further leading to their decline are factors such as the spread of plagues and unregulated prairie dog hunting and population control. All rights reserved. They have very small, round ears and short tail (usually 3 to 4 inches long). World Wildlife Fund Inc. is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization (tax ID number 52-1693387) under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. As primarily herbivorous animals the prairie dog diet mostly consists of grass, roots, cacti, and thistles in the wild. 50 Interesting Prairie Dog Facts That You Never Knew About. Usually, males that take control over a family group will kill the offspring of the former dominant male. One of the most interesting prairie dog facts is that theyâre susceptible to plagues. After they mate with females, male prairie dogs insert a mating plug or copulatory plug inside the femaleâs vaginas to prevent other males from mating with them. 3. Body of prairie dog is covered with brownish-grey fur. This allows the prairie dogs to get proper amounts of oxygen even deep below the ground. Mexican and black-tailed prairie dog families are called coteries, which are more tightly-knit than the clans of Utah, Gunnisonâs, and white-tailed prairie dogs. The phrase âprairie doggingâ refers to people simultaneously looking over cubicle walls in response to a commotion, similar to how prairie dogs would pop their heads out of their burrows to watch for predators. Female prairie dogs in estrus lick their own genitals to prevent infections and sexually-transmitted diseases. But recent research has found that those calls can convey incredibly descriptive details. Laura Moss is a journalist with more than 15 years of experience writing about science, nature, culture, and the environment. At Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana, WWF is collaborating with tribal partners to monitor the health of prairie dog colonies where black-footed ferrets live—and identify new areas where ferrets could be released. During other times, prairie dogs can be quite sociable companions that can treat humans as parts of their family. With their adorable, fluffy appearances and their rabbit-like sizes, prairie dogs earned themselves a place in the exotic pet trade. comes from a Greek word that translates to âdog mouse.â. Prairie dogs can live up to 10 years in captivity. Read more prairie dog facts below. They live in very arid environments with little rainfall, and therefore mostly get hydration from the plants they eat. by admin; December 2, 2020; When you hear the word prairie dog, you probably wouldn’t think of a rodent. They have specific areas for nurseries, sleeping, toilets and even listening posts near exits. They have short ears and, compared to their body size, relatively large black eyes. Like bats, prairie dogs serve as a keystone species. Burrowing owls, mountain plovers, snakes, and other species of ground squirrels also depend on prairie dog burrows for their shelter. The five species are: black-tailed, white-tailed, Gunnison's, Utah, and Mexican prairie dogs. Read also: 30 Strange Flamingo Facts That You Never Knew About. Although they can run quickly, prairie dogs … A prairie dog uses its dichromatic color vision to identify predators and gives an alert to others with a special high-pitched warning call. rely almost solely on prairie dogs as their source of food. Types of Pasta and Their Best Pairing Sauces, 50 Interesting Nutella Facts That You Never Knew About, 100 Interesting Facts That Will Boggle Your Mind, 300 Random Facts No One Knows What To Do With, 100 Nutrition Facts To An Easier And Healthier Lifestyle, 100 Amazing Facts That Will Blow Your Mind, 300 WTF Facts That Will Make You Question Everything, 300 Weird Facts That Will Confuse And Amaze You At The Same Time, 100 Did You Know Facts Most People Have Never Heard About. Hundreds of species depend on prairie dogs. Black-tailed prairie dogs are tan with a whitish or buff-white belly. Their fur is short but thick, and is colored yellowish or light brown. These towns occupy a large area of land, housing large numbers of prairie dog families. Their historical range has shrunk by more than 95%There used to be hundreds of millions of prairie dogs in North America. This gave black-footed ferrets the nickname, âprairie dog hunter.â On average, prairie dogs make up around 91% of the black-footed ferret diet. However, prairie dogs look more like your average rat than an actual dog. The call is made once again, when the danger is gone. They’re threatened by the same plague that caused the Black Death in EuropeIn the late 1800s, the bubonic plague entered North America via rats aboard European ships. Now, both black-footed ferrets and prairie dogs are protected animals. Because of their unique landscaping abilities, some, even refer to prairie dogs as âecosystem engineers.â, 50 Interesting Giraffe Facts That Will Tower Over You, Some rooms serve as stations for nursing the young, some act as their, Prairie dogs arenât the only ones that benefit from their complex burrows – some other animals also take refuge in these spaces. There are 5 species of them and they vary in colors and locations. Prairie dogs are known as a “keystone species.” Over 160 vertebrates alone are associated with large prairie dog colonies and over 80 on “urban” colonies. Some researchers suggest that this could indicate a form of communal nursing in their kind. Instead, they take dust baths wherein they roll their bodies on dust for about 5 minutes at a time. It has yellowish to reddish brown fur on its back and sides and lighter colored fur under its neck and on its chest. Like most placental mammals, they have dichromatic color vision. The prairie dog is a diurnal mammal that searches for grasses, roots, and seeds in the daylight. Also contributing to their slow reproduction rate is that not all mated prairie dogs give birth. Speak up for species and places through WWF's Action Center. Bison, Bison Range National Wildlife Refuge, Montana. The five prairie dog species — … Read also: 50 Beautiful Peacock Facts You Should Not Miss. For example, through their calls, they can describe a short man wearing yellow or a coyote thatâs fast approaching. Prairie dogs (genus Cynomys) are herbivorous burrowing rodents native to the grasslands of North America. As the grass disappeared, so did the prairie chicken. The disease is still rampant in large tracts of the region, and tends to wipe out entire prairie dog colonies when it strikes. Prairie dogs can alert one another, for example, that there’s not just a human approaching their burrows, but a tall human wearing the color blue. Today, about two millio n acres of prairie dog colonies comprised of five species remain in North America, mainly in the Great Plains. Thank you for listening. and in length from 13-17 inches. Learn more about each species, below. It has small ears on the sides of its head, a long body, small front paws with long claws, and a short, black-tipped tail. Prairie dogs are social animals that have complex relationships with others of their kind. During torpor, their heart rate, respiration, and digestion drop significantly. 1. They stay with this group for life, while the males born in the group wander off into other groups to avoid mating with their kin. Their entire mating season is just an hour longIn contrast with popular perceptions of prairie dogs as fast-multiplying rodents, these animals actually mate just once a year, in early winter. In total, we expanded and protected more than 400 acres of prairie dog colonies! Quick Facts. Prairie dogs fight back.”. They’re tough Prairie dogs may look a bit like actual Chicken McNuggets, but in reality they’re fast, skilled fighters armed with sharp claws and powerful teeth. After humans, prairie dogs have one of the most complex forms of vocal communication in the animal kingdom. 03 Prairie dogs grow from 12 to 16 inches (30 – 40 cm) long from their heads to their tails. A prairie dog town discovered in Texas in 1900 was the size of the state of Maryland. These listening posts allow them to safely listen to footsteps without the risk of being seen out in the open. Because theyâre herbivores and will not eat the bodies of these ground squirrels, they leave them outside for the birds of prey. The tunnels are arranged so as to allow air to flow through them providing ventilation. After humans, prairie dogs have one of the most complex forms of vocal communication in the animal kingdom. These vocal rodents even have specific barks for warning others about a man wielding a gun. But these small, chubby-looking mammals are also fascinating in their own right. Prairie dogs live in burrows underground, which provides them with much-needed protection from various predators and environmental conditions. In the grasslands across the central and western United States, their intricate underground coloniescalled prairie dog townscreate shelter for jackrabbits, toads, and rattlesnakes. Black tailed prairie dogs are sometimes kept as pets. They then have litters of three to eight pups—usually only half of which survive their first year. It quickly spread through wild mammal populations, including black-tailed prairie dogs in the northern Great Plains. The dominant male will defend the family's borders against rival prairie dogs, a… The black-tailed prairie dog is the most widely distributed of the five prairie dog species found in North America, and occupies the short- and mixed-grass prairie from southern Canada to northern Mexico. These rodents weigh up to 1.7 kg (3.7 pounds), with a body 28–33 cm (11–13 inches) long. One study found that they can communicate “Here comes the short human in the yellow” (vs the tall human in blue) to each other. Burrowing. As pets, prairie dogs have a highly specific diet consisting of hay and grasses. Help support these grassland critters. Through their unique calls, prairie dogs can make different sentences describing the size, color, speed, and type of predator â even with a single chirp! Prairie dogs are mostly found in Mexico, North America and Canada. Sometimes, females will also mate with other males to increase their reproductive success. Prairie Dog Fun Facts and Information September 1, 2020 Light Future Art LLC Leave a comment Today at Light Future Art, we’re going to take a closer look at an animal which we’ve mentioned some facts about in passing before but never dedicated an entire post to: the prairie dog. 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