A passel of Prairie Dog pups popped up this spring at Germany’s NaturZoo Rheine. Seven playful and social babies make the colony busy and active all day long.
Photo Credit: Eva Bruns/NaturZoo Rheine
The seven pups are from three different litters born to three different mothers. All were born in the colony’s network of underground burrows and chambers. In this extensive burrow system, there are special “rooms” for sleeping, toileting, and nursing babies. The zoo's colony is home to 20 Prairie Dogs.
Young Prairie Dogs are born blind and hairless, and they remain safely underground until about six weeks of age. The babies in the photos are seven to eight weeks old.
Prairie Dogs live colonies containing a few dozen to thousands of animals. Their burrowing habits cause them to viewed as pests by ranchers in central and western North America, where they favor open grassland and rangeland. Once numbering in the millions, their habitat has been fragmented and their numbers drastically reduced. However, Prairie Dogs are not considered under threat of extinction at this time.
See more photos of the Prairie Dogs below.