Prairie Dog

 

Prairie Dogs

Prairie dog teaches us to live in harmony with friends and family. Always a look out to warn the group of danger, survival is easier when you are not alone. Teaching us the need to develop our observation skills. Great gifts come when we learn to balance work and play. 

Prairie dogs are very social animals. They live as a group in prairie dog "towns" which range from one to over 1,000 acres.

Prairie dogs are strictly diurnal animals. They are most active during the cool hours of the day, when they engage in social activities such as visiting and grooming each other as well as feeding on grasses and herbs. Prairie Dogs in the wild do not usually drink water. They get moisture from the grasses and weeds they eat. 

When prairie dogs are out, to see a sentry who perches on the volcano-like ring that surrounds the burrow. Should a predator or any other danger become evident, the sentry will bark out a warning after which the community will dive into their burrows and wait for the "all clear" call before venturing out again.  Prairie Dogs issue different sounds identifying various predators, which include hawks, owls, eagles, ravens, coyotes, badgers, ferrets and snakes.

Female prairie dogs produce only one litter of approximately four to five young per year in March or April. The pups are born blind and hairless after a gestation period of 34 to 35 days. They do not make an appearance outside the burrow until they are about six weeks of age. Not long after, the family gradually will disperse. The young males of the family usually move away before their first breeding season while the females may spend their entire lives in their original coterie. Female prairie dogs may live up to eight years of age while male prairie dogs usually live to be no more than five years of age.

As members of the genus Cynomys (Greek for "mouse dog"), all 5 species of Prairie Dogs belong to the Squirrel Family (Sciuridae). 

Prairie Dogs are stout, burrowing rodents among the many varieties of ground squirrels.  Most Prairie Dogs hibernate during the Winter.  Settlers called them "dogs" and "sod poodles" because of their high-pitched, bark-like call.  

 

 

 

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