Prairie dog Facts

Prairie dog Facts
Although its name includes word "dog", prairie dog is a type of ground squirrel. There are five species of prairie dogs. These adorable animals can be found in the North America, Canada and Mexico. Prairie dog lives in open grasslands and prairies. Since large percent of their habitats is already converted in pastures and farming areas, number of prairie dogs is reduced to only 5% of their original number. Other factor that negatively affects survival of prairie dogs is hunt. Farmers kill prairie dogs because they consider them as pests. Populations of prairie dogs that live in Utah and Mexico are listed as endangered.
Interesting Prairie dog Facts:
Prairie dogs are the same size like rabbits. They can reach 12 to 15 inches in length, and 2 to 4 pounds of weight.
Body of prairie dog is covered with brownish-grey fur. They have very small, round ears and short tail (usually 3 to 4 inches long).
Prairie dog is very social animal that live in large colonies. Each colony is composed of smaller family groups called "coteries" which consist of male, one or more females and their offspring.
Members of the same group will show their affection by kissing and grooming other members of the group.
Prairie dogs will show aggression toward the members of other colonies and family groups. Members of the group will join their forces to chase away all unwanted newcomers.
Colony of prairie dogs can occupy very large space (up to 25 000 square miles) and include couple of hundred million animals.
Life in colony provides protection against predators. Prairie dogs use special kind of alarming call (which sounds like barking) to inform other members of the group about upcoming danger.
Due to small size, prairie dogs have a lot of predators. Main predators are coyotes, badgers, ravens, hawks, eagles, large snakes…
Prairie dogs live in underground burrows. Each burrow has "toilet", nursery room and resting area.
These burrows can be overtaken by other animals, such as snakes, black-footed ferret and burrowing owls.
Prairie dogs are herbivores. They eat different types of grass, seed and roots during the day.
Prairie dogs hibernate during the winter. They will survive by using the energy from fat tissue that was collected during the year. Some species of prairie dogs can wake up to eat during hot winter days.
Depending on the species and geographic region, mating season takes place from February to April.
Female gives birth to 3 to 8 pups after pregnancy of 28 - 32 days. Babies are blind and furless at birth. They require special attention during the first 30 days of their life. After that period they are ready to leave the burrow.

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