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. Prairie dogs mainly live in areas with elevations of 2,000 to 10,000 ft (610 – 3048 m) above sea level. Read more prairie dog facts below. Named for their unique calls that sound like a dog’s barking, these animals display a unique set of social behavior that makes them stand out. , which are also rodents that live in arid habitats, prairie dogs do not bathe in the water. As primarily herbivorous animals the prairie dog diet mostly consists of grass, roots, cacti, and thistles in the wild. Sometimes, even females will participate in these fights. Prairie dogs have a unique sound to identify each of various predators. Usually, males that take control over a family group will kill the offspring of the former dominant male. Black-tailed prairie dogs are tan with a whitish or buff-white belly. Habitat destruction, poisoning, unregulated hunting, and disease have eliminated prairie dogs from about 98 percent of their former range. Female prairie dogs can breed at the age of 1 to 2 years. Know more about these cute and curious animals by digging into these interesting fun facts. However, other experts contend that they merely raise the pups after mistaking them for their own young. Among the five prairie dog species, only the Gunnison’s prairie dog has 40 chromosomes, more than the 35 chromosomes of the other species. An old nickname for prairie dogs is “sod poodle,” which inspired the named of the Texas baseball team Amarillo Sod Poodles. FUN FACTS. They have short ears and, compared to their body size, relatively large black eyes. After they mate with females, male prairie dogs insert a mating plug or copulatory plug inside the female’s vaginas to prevent other males from mating with them. to eliminate their competition. Read also: 50 Whale Facts About The Giants Of The Ocean. Know more about these cute and curious. Thank you for listening. The areas where they live can get as warm as 38 °C (100 °F) in the summer and as cold as −37 °C (−35 °F) in the winter. Other animals such as hawks, foxes and ferrets that hunt prairie dogs, disappear when the prairie dog population diminishes. To do so, they clear the plants around their burrows so they can better watch out for their long list of predators. Bison, Bison Range National Wildlife Refuge, Montana. Instead, they take dust baths wherein they roll their bodies on dust for about 5 minutes at a time. Although prairie dogs are social animals, they’re not friendly towards competition. Prairie dogs fight back.”. These listening posts allow them to safely listen to footsteps without the risk of being seen out in the open. In total, we expanded and protected more than 400 acres of prairie dog colonies! Prairie dogs live in underground burrows, extensive warrens of tunnels and chambers marked by many mounds of packed earth at their surface entrances. comes from a Greek word that translates to “dog mouse.”. 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. However, the litter sizes can be as few as one pup and as many as eight pups. Named for their unique calls that sound like a dog’s barking, these animals display a unique set of social behavior that makes them stand out. 30 Strange Flamingo Facts That You Never Knew About, In 2003, because of threats of spreading plagues and other zoonotic diseases, the CDC. The prairie dog’s coarse fur has a gray or reddish tinge, the underparts, throat, and lower face shading off from buff to white. Not only do prairie dogs have a general call for danger, but they can also describe important details about the potential threats.Â. One of the most interesting prairie dog facts is that they’re susceptible to plagues. Prairie dogs invest a lot of energy in building their homes. Through their unique calls, prairie dogs can make different sentences describing the size, color, speed, and type of predator — even with a single chirp! Prairie dogs are highly social, living in large groups called “towns”. Prairie dogs live mainly at altitudes ranging from 600 to 3,050 meters (2,000 to 10,000 feet) above sea level. 03 Prairie dogs grow from 12 to 16 inches (30 – 40 cm) long from their heads to their tails. In September 2015, new ferrets were released into a healthy prairie dog colony, and quickly darted down the holes. 4. All rights reserved. One of the most important prairie dog facts is that the critters are considered a “keystone” species. To do so, they clear the plants around their burrows so they can better watch out for their long list of predators. Aside from having a sophisticated form of communication, these prairie-dwelling creatures have so much more interesting traits. Learn more about each species, below. However, prairie dogs look more like your average rat than an actual dog. Instead, they take dust baths wherein they roll their bodies on dust for about 5 minutes at a time. The Prairie Dog is a type of rodent. Moreover, they can also describe things that are not their natural predators. For example some of them have white tails and some have black tails. These towns occupy a large area of land, housing large numbers of prairie dog families. Prairie dogs are social animals that have complex relationships with others of their kind. 04 They typically weigh around 1 to 3 lbs (0.5 to 1.5 kg). On occasion, these motherly instincts make them take care of young prairie dogs that aren’t theirs. These family groups live in separate wards within the town. Your email address will not be published. It was thought to contain some 400 million prairie dogs in its tunnels. They measure 14 to 17 inches (36 to 43 centimeters) long and weigh between 2 and 3 pounds (1 kilogram). Because of their profound influence on their local landscapes and wildlife, the disappearance of prairie dogs would spell bad news for the local ecosystem. Also contributing to their slow reproduction rate is that not all mated prairie dogs give birth. Prairie Facts. Contrary to their caring nature, the leading cause of death of around 51% of prairie dog babies is actually infanticide. 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. As a result, plagues contribute significantly to the loss of prairie dog population. Because these highly social rodents largely communicate through vocalizations, they’re highly sensitive to sound. Unlike other rodents such as rats and mice that breed and give birth more than once a year, prairie dogs only have a single and short breeding season in a year. 50 Whale Facts About The Giants Of The Ocean, Like bats, prairie dogs serve as a keystone species. Sometimes, females will also mate with other males to increase their reproductive success. They have specific areas for nurseries, sleeping, toilets and even listening posts near exits. 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. Females go into estrus for a single hour. When prairie dogs establish a town, they change their local landscape to better suit their territories. Make a symbolic prairie dog adoption to help save some of the world's most endangered animals from extinction and support WWF's conservation efforts. Because they’re herbivores and will not eat the bodies of these ground squirrels, they leave them outside for the birds of prey. In 2003, because of threats of spreading plagues and other zoonotic diseases, the CDC imposed a ban on the transport, hunting, and trade of prairie dogs. and specify size & color. Their gestation period lasts for around a month. They can weigh from 2 to4 pounds. One of the most impressive prairie dog facts is that their bark-like calls are part of their unique and sophisticated language. Prairie dogs can live up to 10 years in captivity. Interestingly, they may even have chambers that serve as toilets! As great architects, these rodents build their burrows with chambers or rooms that serve specific purposes. Gunnison’s – This species lives in the “Four Corners” are of the southwest United States. Some researchers suggest that this could indicate a form of communal nursing in their kind. If a keystone species is removed from that ecosystem, it would undergo dramatic changes, and other animals and plant life may suffer. European settlers traveling through the West wrote about passing through massive prairie dog colonies, some of which extended for miles. … Research on their burrowing habits revealed that when winds blow parallel to the ground, their underground burrows also get proper airflow. Despite having the word “dog” in their name, they are not closely related to dogs and other canines. The bare patches of ground created by their grazing and burrowing attract certain insects that feed a variet… Name “ prairie dog burrows for their burrows and establish new territories, they even surpass some of extended. Conceive or even miscarriages lives in burrows Greenland facts you Should not.! Establish a town prairie dog facts the litter sizes can be quite sociable companions that can treat humans parts... 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