The Prairie Dog habitat at the Maryland Zoo is popping with pups – literally! The staff reports that new pups are poking their little heads out of their burrows daily. They’ve counted 17 so far.
Black-tailed Prairie Dogs live a social life. These rodents live in family groups called coteries, and many coteries group together form a colony or town of Prairie Dogs. Members of a family group communicate constantly, often by “kissing” or grooming each other.
Native to the North American plains, Prairie Dogs are often considered pests by ranchers and farmers because they eat grasses and disturb fields. But studies show that Prairie Dogs are an important prey species that plays a crucial role in the grassland ecosystem. They are the primary food source of endangered Black-footed Ferrets, whose decline is associated with the extermination of Prairie Dogs in parts of the American West.
See more Prairie Dog pups below the fold.