Prairie Dog | Basic Facts about Prairie Dogs | Air conditioned homes | Facts

Prairie dogs

Prairie dogs are native of Grasslands of North America; dogs are robust rodents, slightly grizzled and fat. They have broad rounded heads, hairy tails and short legs. The skull has 22 teeth. Prairie dogs weigh 1.5 to 3 lbs. The head and body are 11 to 13 inches long, with a tail length of three to four inches. They are yellowish in color, with darker ears and a light buff to whitish stomach. Prairie dogs have whitish or buffy patches on the sides of their nose, their higher lips and around their eyes within the shape of a ring. Prairie dogs are the most social members of the squirrel family and are closely related to ground squirrels, chipmunks and marmots.

Prairie Dogs Five species:

  1. Black-Tailed:

Occupies narrow bands of dry plains stretching from central Texans to Canada.

  1. White-Tailed:

Inhabits Western US: Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana

  1. Gunnison’s:

It has a much shorter tail than other prairie dogs. It is uniquely colored and centers around the Four Corners area at elevations from 5000-11000 feet.

  1. Mexican:

Mexican is an endangered species with a limited distribution. It is only found within some parts of Mexico.

  1. Utah:

Utah is the smallest of all prairie dogs and is a threatened species. The most common species is the black-tailed prairie dog, the only species found within the vast Great Plains region of North America. Prairie dogs are considered a “keystone” species because their colonies create a natural home that benefit approximately 150 other species. They are also a food source for many animals, including coyotes, eagles, badgers and critically endangered black-footed ferrets. Many species, like black-footed ferrets and tiger salamanders, use their burrows as homes. Prairie dogs mainly consume grasses, sedges, forbs (flowering plants), roots and seeds, though they are found to eat some insects whenever available.

Geography Range Of Prairie Dogs:

 They are found throughout most of the western United States from Canada to Mexico, Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and Wyoming including higher elevations of the Mojave, Great Basin and Chihuahua deserts.

 Prairie Dogs Population:

Black-tailed prairie dogs once numbered in the hundreds of millions maybe even over a billion were possibly the most considerable mammal in North America. But due to a variety of reasons, their numbers have decreased by over 95%. Today, they may number around 10-20 million.

Prairie Dog: They’re Tough:

Prairie dogs may look a bit like actual Chicken McNuggets, but in reality they’re fast, skilled fighters armed with sharp claws and powerful teeth.

Their Vocabulary Is More Advanced Than Any Other Animal Language That’s Been Decoded:

To a human ear, prairie puppies’ squeaky calls sound easy and repetitive. But a recent study has discovered that those calls can bring enormously descriptive details. Prairie dogs can alert one another, for example, that there’s not only just a human approaching their burrows; but a tall human wearing the color blue.

Their Entire Mating Season Is Just An Hour Long:

These animals actually mate just once a year, in early winter. Females go into estrus for a single hour. They then have litters of three to eight pups usually only half of which survive their first year.

They Live In Tight-Knit Family Groups Called Coteries:

The common coterie tends to have one or two breeding males, several breeding females, and the females’ new pups. Males tend to jump from coterie to coterie, but the females stick together for life. These coteries are grouped together into wards and several wards make up a colony or town.

 Prairie dog Behavior:

Prairie puppies are colonial animals that live in complex networks of tunnels with more than one opening. Colonies are effortlessly recognized by way of the raised-burrow entrances that supply the diminutive prairie puppies a few greater peak when acting as sentries and looking for signs and symptoms of danger. The tunnels contain separate "rooms" for sleeping, rearing young, storing food and disposing of waste.

Prairie dogs have a complex system of communication that includes a variety of pitched warning barks that signal different types of predators. Prairie dogs earned their name from settlers traveling across the plains who thought that these warning calls sounded similar to dogs’ barking.

Comparisons Of Black Tailed And White Tailed Prairie Dog:

Of the two main species of prairie dogs, the black-tailed has a black-tipped tail and is much more common, occurring sparsely over the Great Plains and throughout the Great Basin. Black tailed are the prairie dogs normally sold in pet shops and may either be a baby caught in the wild or from a breeder. The opposite main species, the white-tailed prairie canine, has a white-tipped tail and inhabits at better altitudes than the black-tailed. It hibernates in wintry weather and is less colonial in habit.

Prairie Dogs Build Air Conditioned Homes:

Prairie dogs are highly social rodents that build extensive underground burrows in the plains of North America to house their family groups. The burrows can reach 10 m (32 ft) in length, and this size means that diffusion alone is not sufficient to replace used air inside the burrow with fresh air. The way that a prairie dog builds the openings to its burrow, however, helps to harness wind energy from the windy plains and create passive ventilation through the burrow’s tunnels.

Prairie dogs

As air flows across a surface, a gradient in slow speed forms, where air moves slower and closer to the surface. The prairie dog is able to take advantage of this gradient by building a mound with an elevated opening upwind and a mound with a lower opening downwind. Over the elevated opening, wind velocity is faster than it is over the lower opening, creating a local region of low pressure. The result of this difference in pressure between the two openings is one-way air flow through the burrow as air gets sucked into the lower opening and flows out at the elevated one.   The mounds around the burrow openings serve additional functions for the prairie dog, like providing a perch to watch for predators. Other organisms use a similar arrangement of openings to generate passive flow, including sea sponges and limpets.

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