Prairie dogs are the North American version of the meerkat. They are the most vital and significant of all prairie animals — more than other creature, they hold the prairie ecosystem together. Many of the prairie's other animals and birds either depend on them as prey, or inhabit their disused burrows.
Although they are rodents, prairie dogs were named dogs because of their bark-like calls. They have up to fifty different barks — thought to be the most complex language of any animal on earth apart from humans. The largest prairie dog town on record was in Texas, where it extended over 25,000 square miles (64,750 sq km) and was b4elieved to be the home of 550 million prairie dogs.
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