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Prairie Dog Information, Photos, and Facts

Prairie Dogs have a lot in common with the people of the United States - these precocious critters are very social animals that look out for their family members.

Prairie Dogs (Cynomys) are North American rodents that live in underground burrows. American Expedition is proud to present information, interesting facts, and photos of The Prairie Dog.

Prarie Dog Painting

Photo by Eric F. Savage on Flickr


Prairie Dog Information

Prairie dogs are members of the squirrel family. They measure approximately 12-16 inches long and weigh between 1-3 pounds. They are brownish-tan in color and have small, short tails. Besides size around mating season, there are no differences in physical appearance between the male and female. Around mating season, the male will get a little bigger in size than the female because he starts eating more.

Prairie dogs mate in their chamber and have their babies between January and April. Gestation period for the female is a month long and the litter consists of 1-6 pups. The mother makes a nest of grass in the nursing chamber and does most of the raising. She nurses the pups for about 6 weeks and then brings them to the surface of the burrow. After only 5 months, they are full grown. The average lifespan of a prairie dog in the wild is 3-4 years.

Prairie Dog Facts

  • Prairie dogs are very social animals. They greet each other by kissing, hugging, or touching noses.
  • There is always one member of their group standing guard and acting as the lookout for the rest of the group.
  • Prairie dogs were named from their habitat and vocal sound.
  • There are 5 different species in the United States, with black-tailed being the most known.
  • The five species of prairie dogs are: the white-tailed, the black-tailed, the Gunnison, the Mexican, and the Utah.
  • Usually the Mexican and Black-tailed Prairie dogs do not hibernate, but the rest of the species do.
  • Prairie dog numbers have reduced 95 percent since the late 1800’s.
  • Natural predators of prairie dogs include coyotes, badgers, eagles, hawks, foxes, and the black-footed ferret.
  • Prairie dogs are often killed by farmers and landowners because of their destructive landscaping and the fact that they eat the grasses meant for their livestock.
  • The communities that prairie dogs live in are called “towns.”
  • Prairie dogs have a very large variety of vocal sounds.
  • Prairie dog burrows are 16-35 feet long and 6-10 feet deep. There are always multiple entrances.
  • Young prairie dog pups are very playful.
  • There is only one male prairie dog in a group, and he fathers all of the offspring in that group.
  • The family members are very close with each other, and often show affection with oral contact. They do not do this to members of other groups.

Prairie Dog Habitat

Prairie Dogs live in North America and parts of Canada and Mexico. They inhabit much of the Great Plains and other prairies in the western part of the country.

Prairie dogs live in large colonies in underground burrows. These burrows have many different chambers used for different things. There are sleeping quarters, nurseries, rooms for the winter, listening posts, and even a bathroom. The burrow entrances can be identified by large mounds of dirt packed on the surface.

Prairie dogs are herbivores that feed on grasses, flowers, roots, and seeds.

A prairie dog in the sunlight.

Prairie dogs are very social animals. They greet each other by kissing, hugging, or touching noses.

A curious looking prairie dog.

Prairie dogs are herbivores that feed on grasses, flowers, roots, and seeds.

A prarie dog outside of his hole.

Prairie dogs are seen as a nuisance by some farmers, and their numbers have reduced 95 percent since the late 1800’s.

A group of prarie dogs standing on their hind legs.

Prairie dogs often stand on their hind legs.

Prairie Dog Facts, Information, and Photos
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