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Behaviors that signal that a female is in estrus include underground consorting, self-licking of genitals, dust-bathing, and late entrances into the burrow at night. For coyotes, the prairie dogs move to the entrance of a burrow and stand outside the entrance, observing the coyote, while those prairie dogs that were inside the burrows will come out to stand and watch as well. [11] The areas where they live can get as warm as 38 °C (100 °F) in the summer and as cold as −37 °C (−35 °F) in the winter. In the winter, lactating and pregnant females supplement their diets with snow for extra water. Populations of this species occur in either higher elevations (referred to as montane populations) or lower elevations (referred to as prairie populations) (USFWS 2008). Removing them from the wild was a far more common method of supplying the market demand.[31]. Family groups exist within these wards. Young pups are very playful and can often been seen romping near their burrows. [47], In companies that use large numbers of cubicles in a common space, employees sometimes use the term "prairie dogging" to refer to the action of several people simultaneously looking over the walls of their cubicles in response to a noise or other distraction. [11][12] They do not perform these behaviors with prairie dogs from other family groups. According to Slobodchikoff, these calls, with their individuality in response to a specific predator, imply that prairie dogs have highly developed cognitive abilities. The Amarillo Sod Poodles, a minor league baseball team, use a nickname for prairie dogs as their cognomen. It presently occurs within El Malpais NM (ELMA), El Morro NM (ELMO), Chaco Culture NHP (CHCU), and Petrified Forest NP (PEFO), and it may occur at Aztec Ruins NM (AZRU), Hubbel Trading Post NHS (HUTR), and Mesa Verde NP (MEVE). Prairie dogs are named for their habitat and warning call, which sounds similar to a dog's bark. Prairie dogs (genus Cynomys) are herbivorous burrowing rodents native to the grasslands of North America. Six of these states—Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas—are in the four NPS Inventory and Monitoring (I&M) Networks of the American Southwest, and five of the states—Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming—are outside of the area. They live in grasslands throughout their range. Within the SOPN, the species is known to have inhabited Pecos NHP (PECO); however, the habitat is no longer supportive of prairie dogs due to the encroachment of juniper and pinyon. The black-tailed prairie dog is not known to occur at this time within any parks of the Sonoran Desert Network (SODN), although historically the species occurred at/near Coronado National Monument (NM) (CORO), Fort Bowie NHS (FOBO), and probably Chiricahua NM (CHIR). Two to three groups of females may be controlled by one male. Otherwise, if a competitor is sighted, the females signal for the resident male. Some family groups contain more breeding females than one male can control, so have more than one breeding adult male in them. [3] Its genus, Cynomys, derives from the Greek for "dog mouse" (κυων kuōn, κυνος kunos – dog; μυς mus, μυός muos – mouse). [17] He also writes that prairie dogs have calls for things that are not predators to them. [17] According to them, prairie dog calls contain specific information as to what the predator is, how big it is and how fast it is approaching. [4], The black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) was first described by Lewis and Clark in 1804. These charismatic, rabbit-size rodents live on North America's prairies and open grasslands in only a fraction of their former numbers. When two prairie dogs encounter each other at the edges of their territories, they will start staring, make bluff charges, flare their tails, chatter their teeth, and sniff each other's perianal scent glands. They also will eat roots, seeds, fruit, and buds. The historic range of the black-tailed prairie dog extended to the east, north, and south of the combined ranges of the white-tailed, Gunnison’s, and Utah prairie dogs (Hoogland 2006a). They are also found in the Canadian Prairies. They feed primarily on grasses and small seeds. Even grazing species, such as plains bison, pronghorn, and mule deer have shown a proclivity for grazing on the same land used by prairie dogs. A warning cry, for example, will send a town's denizens hustling to their holes at the approach of a badger, coyote, or other predator. Of potential habitat within the prairie dog’s range, 43% occurs on private lands, 27% on state and federal lands, and 30% on tribal lands. The removal of prairie dogs "causes undesirable spread of brush", the costs of which to livestock range may outweigh the benefits of removal. Another concern is their susceptibility to bubonic plague. [29] They can be difficult to breed in captivity,[30] but breed well in zoos. Prairie dogs also have a mating call which consists of a set of 2 to 25 barks with a 3- to 15-second pause between each one. Living on grassy plains or prairies, the black-tailed prairie dog's historic range included parts of Canada, Mexico, and eleven U.S. states. Prairie dogs spend a lot of time building and rebuilding these dwellings. [12] Nursery chambers tend to be deeper, being two to three meters below the surface.[12]. These large squirrels emerge from their burrows in daylight to forage and feed on grasses, roots, and seeds. Prairie dogs are chiefly herbivorous, though they eat some insects. Prairie dog copulation occurs in the burrows, and this reduces the risk of interruption by a competing male. [12] Some mounds, known as dome craters, can be as high as 20–30 cm (7.9–11.8 in) high. In the fall, they eat broadleaf forbs. "Wonders of Prairie Dogs", New York, NY: Dodd, Mead, and Company. [22] Black-tailed prairie dogs comprise the largest remaining community. This action is thought to resemble the startled response of a group of prairie dogs.[50]. They communicate with loud cries. Among these multiple-male groups, some may contain males that have friendly relationships, but the majority contain males that have largely antagonistic relationships. Historically, black-tailed prairie dogs were thought to have occupied 324,000 to 405,000 km2 (80 to 100 million ac) range-wide. Habitat of the Prairie Dog As their name suggests, these rodents live primarily in prairie habitats. Burrows help prairie dogs control their body temperature (Thermoregulation) as they are 5–10 °C during the winter and 15–25 °C in the summer.

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