Prairie Dogs

Prairie Dogs

Sweetly affectionate by human standards, prairie dogs of the same family group interact through ‘kissing’, that is oral contact, and through grooming. These rodents are native to the grasslands of the Midwest and give a warning cry like a dog’s bark, hence the name. Relatives of the ground squirrel, they are in no way related to canines as a species. Prairie dogs live in large communities called ‘towns’ that can cover hundreds of acres and are highly social as a species. 

Prairie Dogs Videos: This 3-minute video features prairie dogs in the Sonoran Desert. Here’s an awesome 4-minute video showing how prairie dogs deal with a venomous snake.

FunFacts about Prairie Dogs: (Source)

  • Basic information, quote: Prairie dogs (genus Cynomys) are herbivorous burrowing rodents native to the grasslands of North America. The five species are: black-tailed, white-tailed, Gunnison’s, Utah, and Mexican prairie dogs. They are a type of ground squirrel, found in North America. In Mexico, prairie dogs are found primarily in the northern states, which lie at the southern end of the Great Plains: northeastern Sonora, north and northeastern Chihuahua, northern Coahuila, northern Nuevo León, and northern Tamaulipas. In the United States, they range primarily to the west of the Mississippi River, though they have also been introduced in a few eastern locales. They are also found in the Canadian Prairies. (Source)
  • Prairie dogs are not actually canines.
  • Prairie dogs have a warning call that sounds like a dog’s bark.
  • The name, prairie dogs, has been in use since 1774.
  • The 1804 journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition note that in September 1804, they “discovered a Village of an animal the French Call the Prairie Dog”. (Source)
  • Prairie dogs are usually between 12 and 16 inches long.
  • Prairie dogs have short tails.
  • Prairie dogs primarily eat grasses and seeds but will also eat insects.
  • White-tailed prairie dogs are known to kill competing squirrels.
  • Prairie dogs burrow. A burrow can have up to 6 entrances. The entrances can be flat or have a crater, either domed or rimmed. The latter two types serve as both lookout platforms and to protect against flooding. Burrows have many chambers. Nursery chambers can be as many as two to three meters below the surface.
  • Prairie dogs are very social. They live in large colonies also known as ‘towns’. These towns can span hundreds of acres.
  • The family group is the main social unit. Members of a family group interact through oral contact, ‘kissing’, or through grooming. These family group behaviors do not extend into the ‘town’.
  • Ecologists consider prairie dogs to be a keystone species. Large grazing animals, like bison and mule deer, prefer to be in regions where prairie dogs are active.


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(Unless otherwise designated, today’s photos are from Pixabay ~ Pixabay is a free site, so feel free to share, pin and enjoy these wonderful photos. Any photo designated as coming from Deposit Photos has been purchased and is subject to copyright law.)

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We have a winner! Congrats Teresa!!!

First February Winner! Congrats Jackie B.!!!

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To be entered into the giveaway drawing, please leave a comment about prairie dogs. Have you ever seen these cute critters in the wild? Which photo did you like best?

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31 thoughts on “Prairie Dogs

  1. Aww, so cute. I like the way they communicate and look out for the babies. Cool how they attach the snake in the second video.

  2. They are so cute and very photogenic and would love to see them at a zoo or a place wher e they could be safe from predators

  3. Love all the pictures and enjoyed the videos. How they surround the snake is something else. So adorable and love they way they protect each other went eating. They don’t have a very long life though, that’s sad. AZ

  4. I love these guys. They are so cute and very family oriented. I love the one that has red all around its mouth. Maybe it was eating berries :). NE Ohio.

  5. Cute critters! I wonder if they play havoc with gardens and landscaping the way the ground squirrels we have here in the high desert of Southern California do?

  6. I have not seen them in the wild. I have seen the large colony at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

    love the photo of the prairie dog popping out of the hole.

    denise from maryland

  7. Love the pictures. I never seen a prairie dog in person but they do look cute. I know my brothers seen them when they were younger out west on vacation but I didn’t.

  8. Things look so adorable and cute but they are very destructive with all of their digging of holtes.. Definitely not I friend of farmers for animals such as horses and cows.
    Alberta,, Canada

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