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Prairie dog

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Prairie dog
Prairie dog eating.jpg
Scientific Classification
  • C. gunnisoni
  • C. leucurus
  • C. ludoviciarus
  • C. mexicarus
  • C. parvidens

Prairie dogs or sod poodles are small rodents that live in paw-built burrows in the ground. They are actually technically not dogs, but a type of ground squirrel and related to chipmunks and marmots. Way back in Lewis and Clark’s time the prairie dogs were found exclusive and was a gift from them to Thomas Jefferson showing what amazing things they have spotted among their expedition. [1] From the genus, Cynomys there is altogether five species of the prairie dogs. They range from the greatest to least as follows: black-tailed prairie dog, Gunnison’s prairie dog, White-Tailed prairie dog, Mexican prairie dog, and the smallest being the Utah prairie dog. [2] [3]


The main parts of the prairie dog is their big eyeballs, ears, sensory whiskers, usually golden brown fur or faded, four little paws equipped with wolverine claws. Tail color differs depending on which species it is, whitish cream-colored belly, and their short legs. Their sizes differ depending on their habitat and what they eat. There are some of the prairie dogs that are in open public access parks where they can be fed whatever the public feeds them including what the prairie dog babysitters feed them. Prairie dogs are said to be friendly although they can also be extremely aggressive when cornered. Prairie dogs are commonly twelve to fifteen inches long, tail is around three to four inches long, weigh two to four pounds being an average prairie dog with basic sustained food diet. Their ferocious man eating claws are not actually for that, but are for burrowing holes for safe homes. They also have very sharp teeth and have teeth common to any other rodent with the incisors to grow as big as their head. [4] They have a standard of twenty-two teeth. The head and body are about eleven to thirteen inches long. Their tails are short sometimes long and they are always somewhat bushy. Prairie dogs do have ears they are just hard to see because they are short and hidden by all the fur surrounding it. The prairie dogs do not have the best peripheral vision, which means they are more susceptible to predators. They are known to have bush cream colored feet. The prairie dogs way of communication is their loud and sometimes short and yappy barking. It can also be really high-pitched. They always use different tones in their barks similar to the way of dog’s barks although the prairie dogs are known to be a lot more advanced. Prairie dogs can hit speeds of up to thirty-five miles per hour, but are only their sprints and their long distance runs have not been studied in depth because for them it is not a need for the prairie dogs.


Reproduction for prairie dogs is very different in the way that it is from a four to five hour estrus where a female can mate with up to five various males allowing litters to be related with different fathers. The mating period is usually between March and April for all prairie dogs and will hibernate from October until March and time for making some more babies. Gestation is the period of the mother nurturing her young for twenty eight to thirty two days. It is common for a litter to consist of three to five babies, while considering that it means that a mother can have up to twenty-five babies at max and fifteen at the least. When the babies are just born, they are similar to a naked mole rat, they are blind and hairless, and their eyes do not attempt to open until around thirty-three to twenty-seven days later. The babies are nurtured from inside the burrow and do not even considering coming out until May and the early part of June. They are left to work hard succeed in the world they have been born into. The prairie dogs will either burrow their own hole or take control of one that has been long abandoned. [5]


All prairie dogs are mostly diurnal (active during the daytime). Majority are quiescent for the cold winters. Their populations differ from an average of five to thirty-five per acre. The way prairie dogs dig; their burrows are unique in the way of how they are funnel shaped tunnels and how there weather proof. Their burrows can come to a slant and slowly make its way from fifteen feet to fifty and over. The reason they are so big is for the safety of escaping in case their personal space is invaded and intruded. They love to be in habitats that are medium grass prairies, plateaus, hot, humid, dry, and a tad bit comparable to deserts. When put in danger from an attacker a prairie dog will start bobbing and barking a two-syllable bark at a rate of around forty barks per minute. The prairie dogs are most commonly vegetarians unless there is a need to be fulfilled in certain circumstances. Their diet consists of grasses, roots, weeds, forbs, blossoms, insects, seeds, leaves, flowers, fruit, eggs, veggies, and among many other things. Some of the other species that endanger the prairie dogs are coyotes, bobcats, eagles, hawks, badgers, weasels, dogs, wolves, foxes, black-footed ferrets, and humans.

Cautions Of Ownership

This is an informing flyer on monkeypox

Although people think they are cute and cuddly, they take a lot of responsibility to take care of, and there can be countless complications including exotic animal license and many diseases. Prairie dogs are very at risk to the bubonic plague from fleas infected with plague bacteria, although it is believed that it is not very likely. [6] The most common problem with keeping prairie dogs as pets was completely exposed all over the news not too long back, about how you can get monkey pox from the prairie dog. What monkey pox is is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus and can be obtained or transmitted to humans from rodents, pets, primates, and most commonly exotic animals through contact with the animal’s blood or through a bite. The average person with a pet is more than likely to be bit more than once or numerous times from their pets and what would make the prairie dogs any different. Human monkey pox is a rare zoonotic viral disease that occurs in secluded villages in the middle of nowhere that are close to tropical rainforests where there is repeated contact with infected animals.[7]


Related References