Just a Prairie Dog enjoying his cheese and minding his own business, How cute Is that! A brave prairie dog puts her life on the line to lead a deadly rattlesnake away from her babies and the colony.
Sexual dimorphism peaks during weaning, when the females lose weight and the males start eating more, and is at its lowest when the females are pregnant, which is also when the males are tired from breeding. Ecology and behavior[ edit ] Diet[ edit ] Prairie dogs are chiefly herbivorousthough they eat some insects.
They feed primarily on grasses and small seeds. In the fall, they eat broadleaf forbs. In the winter, lactating and pregnant females supplement their diets with snow for extra water.
Grasses of various species are eaten.
White-tailed prairie dogs have been observed to kill ground squirrels, a competing herbivore. Prairie dog tunnel systems channel rainwater into the water table which prevents runoff and erosionand can also change the composition of the soil in a region by reversing soil compaction that can result from cattle grazing.
Sometimes the entrances are simply flat holes in the ground, while at other times they are surrounded by mounds of soil either left as piles or hard packed. Other mounds, known as rim craters, can be as high as 1 m.
They also protect the burrows from flooding. The holes also possibly provide ventilation as the air enters through the dome crater and leaves through the rim crater, causing a breeze though the burrow.
They have nursery chambers for their young, chambers for night, and chambers for the winter. They also contain air chambers that may function to protect the burrow from flooding  and a listening post for predators.
When hiding from predators, prairie dogs use less-deep chambers that are usually a meter below the surface. The prairie dog family groups are the most basic units of its society.
Family groups exist within these wards. Most prairie dog family groups are made up of one adult breeding male, two to three adult females and one to two male offspring and one to two female offspring. Females remain in their natal groups for life and are thus the source of stability in the groups.
Some family groups contain more breeding females than one male can control, so have more than one breeding adult male in them. Among these multiple-male groups, some may contain males that have friendly relationships, but the majority contain males that have largely antagonistic relationships.
In the former, the males tend to be related, while in the latter, they tend not to be related. Two to three groups of females may be controlled by one male.
However, among these female groups, there are no friendly relations. Territories have well-established borders that coincide with physical barriers such as rocks and trees.
These interactions may happen 20 times per day and last five minutes. When two prairie dogs encounter each other at the edges of their territories, they will start staring, make bluff charges, flare their tails, chatter their teeth, and sniff each other's perianal scent glands.
When fighting, prairie dogs will bite, kick and ram each other. Otherwise, if a competitor is sighted, the females signal for the resident male. Reproduction and parenting[ edit ] Female with juvenile Prairie dog copulation occurs in the burrows, and this reduces the risk of interruption by a competing male.
They are also at less risk of predation.
Behaviors that signal that a female is in estrus include underground consorting, self-licking of genitals, dust-bathing, and late entrances into the burrow at night. Prairie dogs also have a mating call which consists of a set of 2 to 25 barks with a 3- to second pause between each one.
When copulation is over, the male is no longer interested in the female sexually, but will prevent other males from mating with her by inserting copulatory plugs. In addition to nursing the young, the mother also defends the nursery chamber and collects grass for the nest.
Males play their part by defending the territories and maintaining the burrows. By five months, they are fully grown. Some argue prairie dogs will defend and feed young that are not theirs,  and it seems young will sleep in a nursery chamber with other mothers; since most nursing occurs at night, this may be a case of communal nursing.The journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition note that in September , they "discovered a Village of an animal the French Call the Prairie Dog."  Its .
5 Amazing Feats of Animal Engineering by SciShow You might consider humans or beavers to be the best engineers on the planet, but these 5 other animals . THE USE OF TOXICANTS IN BLACK-TAILED PRAIRIE DOG MANAGEMENT: AN OVERVIEW GARY W.
WITMER black-tailed prairie dog, Cynomys ludovicianus, gas cartridge, fumigant, rodenticide, zinc phosphide Proceedings of the 10th Wildlife general references for this overview of rodenticides for prairie dog control (Buckle . May 03, · We investigated postbreeding resource selection by adult black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) on a ha black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colony in the Conata Basin of South Dakota during – We used resource selection functions (RSFs) to evaluate relationships between numbers of ferret locations and numbers of prairie dog burrow openings (total or active), .
Species Description: Prairie dogs occur only in North America. They are rodents within the squirrel family and include five species-- the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus), the white-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys leucurus), the Gunnison prairie dog (Cynomys gunnisoni), the Utah prairie dog (Cynomys parvidens), and the Mexican.
blacktail prairie dog; Cynomys ludovicianus Hypernyms ("blacktail prairie dog" is a kind of): prairie dog ; prairie marmot (any of several rodents of North American prairies living in large complex burrows having a barking cry).