Prairie dogs are belonging to the squirrel family. They are known as “keystone”species. They are 12-16 inches long and having the weight between 1-3 pounds. Their color is brownish-tan and having short tail. They are having smell. Between the male and female, there is no difference in mating season but male becomes little bigger in size because he starts eating more. Mating process is occurred in their chambers. Between January and April, they have their babies. For the female the gestation period is a month long. In the nursing chamber, a nest of grass is made by mother. For about 6 weeks, mother nurses the pups. Their pups are fully grown only in 5 months. In the wild, their average lifespan is 3-4 years.
FACTS ABOUT PRAIRIE DOG:
- Prairie dog are known as social animals. By kissing, hugging, or touching noses, they greet each other.
- There is always one member of a group plays a role as a guard.
- From theirvocal sound and habitat, Prairie dogs were named.
- In the United States, there are 5 different specieswith black-tailed that is mostly known.
- These five species includes the white-tailed, the black-tailed, the Gunnison, the Mexican, and the Utah.
- Among them both the black-tailed and the Mexican cannot hibernate.
- Since the late 1800’s, their number reduced to 95 percent.
- Coyotes, badgers, eagles, hawks, foxes, and the black-footed ferret are their natural predators.
- By farmers and landowners, this dog is killed due to their destructive landscaping.
- The communities in which prairie dogs live are known as “towns.”
- They are having a various variety of vocal sounds.
- The burrows of Prairie dog are about 16-35 feet long and 6-10 feet deep with multiple entrances.
- Their pups are playful.
- In a group, there is only one male prairie dog.
HABITAT OF PRAIRIE DOG:
In North America, Mexico and parts from Canada they live. In underground burrows, Prairie dogs like to live in large colonies. Within this 400-million-acre region, their colonies occupied 40-80 million acres. There are many chambers in their burrows that are used for multiple purposes like sleeping quarters, nurseries,listening posts,rooms for the winterand even a bathroom. By large mounds of dirt packed, the entrance into burrows can be identified. They are herbivores and like to eat grasses, flowers, roots, and seeds. Black-footed ferrets and tiger salamanders are used their burrows as a home.
In North America, Black-tailed prairie dogs are in billions and known as most abundant mammals. Their numbers have decreased due to many reasons by 95%. Now they are around 10-20 million in numbers.
- Mating Season: March
- Gestation Period: 33-38 days
- Litter size: 3-4 pups average.
With multiple openings, they are living in the complex networks of tunnels. They are social animals therefore lived in family groups called “coteries.” An adult male, one or more adult females and their young offspring are the part of the coteries.Prairie dogs are having a compound system of communication.