prairie dog

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Related to Prairie dogs: Black footed ferret

prairie dog,

short-tailed, ground-living rodent, genus Cynomys, of the squirrelsquirrel,
name for small or medium-sized rodents of the family Sciuridae, found throughout the world except in Australia, Madagascar, and the polar regions; it is applied especially to the tree-living species.
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 family, closely related to the ground squirrels, chipmunks, and marmots. There are several species, found in the W United States and N Mexico. Prairie dogs, named for their barking cries, are 12 to 15 in. (30 to 36 cm) long, including the 1- to 4-in. (2.5 to 10 cm) tail, and have short, coarse, buff-colored fur. The black-tailed prairie dog, Cynomys ludovicianus, is found on the Great Plains. Members of this species live in connecting burrows, forming colonies, or "towns," which may extend many miles and include thousands of individuals. The entrances of the burrows are surrounded by cone-shaped mounds, which serve to keep out rainwater; the entrance shafts drop straight down for several feet. Prairie dogs spend much time maintaining the mounds by tamping down damp earth. They often sit upright on their haunches in rows, one animal on each mound; this behavior has given them the name "picket pins" in some regions. At any sign of danger the animals give a warning cry and duck down into the burrows. Rattlesnakes and burrowing owls sometimes live in the burrows and prey on young prairie dogs. Three species of white-tailed prairie dogs inhabit open or brushy valleys of the Rocky Mts; their burrows are usually less extensive than those of the black-tailed species. Prairie dogs feed mainly on grasses, but also eat insects; they hibernate in winter. Prairie dog towns were formerly much more common and extensive than now; some towns on the plains encompassed millions of individuals. Ranchers regard the animals as competitors for grazing lands and have destroyed them in large numbers. Prairie dogs are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Rodentia, family Sciuridae.

prairie dog

[′prer·ē ‚dȯg]
(vertebrate zoology)
The common name for three species of stout, fossorial rodents belonging to the genus Cynomys in the family Sciuridae; all have a short, flat tail, small ears, and short limbs terminating in long claws.

prairie dog

any of several gregarious sciurine rodents of the genus Cynomys, such as C. ludovicianus, that live in large complex burrows in the prairies of North America
References in periodicals archive ?
Earlier this year I spent a couple days sitting comfortably pulling overwatch on prairie dog towns out in Wyoming.
Let's face it: The prairie dogs are out there waiting for you," said Hoffman, whose stores (they also have a location in Mitchell, S.
The vaccine, developed specifically for prairie dogs by scientists at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center and the University of Wisconsin Madison, elicits a protective immune response that can help them fight off infection upon later exposure to the disease.
Black-tailed prairie dogs in a Rozol[R] poisoned colony can exhibit a spectrum of vulnerabilities to predation, ranging from overtly healthy to dead animals for at least 4 wk after Rozol[R] application (Vyas et al.
Audrey Boag wondered if prairie dog moms kill ground squirrels to protect their pups from predation or from diseases carried by the squirrels.
You may be lucky enough to see prairie dogs in their natural habitat or perhaps at a zoo.
maniculatus inhabiting grasslands without prairie dogs were antibody positive.
The answer is simple and clear: female prairie dogs that mate with two or more males rear more offspring than those that mate with only one.
Depending on prairie dogs for both food and shelter makes the ferrets very vulnerable," says Biggins.
Additionally, efforts to develop and use a sylvatic plague vaccine to protect both black-footed ferrets and prairie dogs are currently underway.
Wildfires and prairie dogs were considered disturbances to be suppressed.
Conservation of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus).