prairiedogs

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“There is an old Navajo warning that if you kill off the prairie dogs there will be no one to cry for rain … In fact, the burrowing animals, like prairie dogs, open breathing tubes in the Earth.  The underground aquifers act like the diaphragm in human bodies; the moon as it passes raises and lowers the underground water table and the Earth breathes through the many fissures and tubes opened by the burrowing creatures.  The exhalation
of moisture-ladened air, filled with negative ions,
helps create rain.”  

​- Stephen Harrod Buhner

Prairie Dogs: Coral Reefs of the Prairies

Prairie dogs are the keystone species of the prairies and are the main indicators of a healthy prairie community. More than 200 different species have been associated with prairie dog towns, with over 140 species benefiting directly including buffalo, pocket mice, deer mice, ants, antelope, golden eagles, black widow spiders, badgers, foxes, coyotes, weasels, horned larks, rattlesnakes, ferruginous hawks, burrowing owls and the black-footed ferret whom cannot live without large contiguous prairie dog colonies. Prairie dogs hold the native prairies together: Their disappearance from the grasslands creates a landscape scale loss of various plants, wildlife and climatic conditions necessary for the health of our planet. Prairies of the West are fast disappearing along with the diverse plant and wildlife communities that hold this fragile habitat together. Currently, less than 1% of prairie dogs and their habitats remain in the West.

"Remarkable's" Prairie Dog Facts

A prairie dog's entire mating season is just one
hour long!

In contrast to popular perceptions of prairie dogs as fast-multiplying rodents, prairie dogs 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.

Prairie dog vocabulary is more advanced than any other animal language that’s been decoded.

Research has found that their calls convey incredibly descriptive details. Prairie dogs can alert one another to a human approaching and tell their friends and family details about that human, such as the color of the human's shirt
Prairie dogs do not "carry" plague, prairie dogs
die from plague

The bubonic plague entered North America via rats aboard European ships. It quickly spread through wild mammal populations, including black-tailed prairie dogs. The disease is still rampant in large tracts of the US.  Plague wipes out entire prairie dog colonies when it strikes.  Most cases of plague in humans is the result of free ranging pets that carry fleas home.

Prairie dogs live in family groups called coteries

The average 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.

We Can't Live Without Prairie Dogs

Black-Footed Ferret
Burrowing Owl
Ferruginous Hawk