Natural History

Black-Tailed Prairie Dog

posted: 05/11/13
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BLACK-TAILED PRAIRIE DOG, Badlands National Park and Conata Basin, South Dakota | Photo Caption: Excerpted from North America: A World In One Continent by Huw Cordey | ARKive Animal Profile: Black-Tailed Prairie Dog

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.

EXPLORE THE GREAT PLAINS: American Bison | Prairie Dog | Red Fox | Ferruginous Hawk | Pronghorn | Jumping Spider | Bobcat | Prairie Chicken | Burrowing Owl | Pocket Gopher | Snow Goose | All North American Animals

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