BLACKTAILED PRAIRIE DOGS

(Cynomys ludovicianus)

prairie dogs
prairie dogs
These little rodants, which remind us of marmots, were named after the sound they produce – similar to barking.
They are extremelly smart and sociable as they live in groups. In the wild, they can form large groups up to 10000 individuals or more. Their habitat is sometimes divided into divisions and they are friendly towards each other. Adults can weigh as much as 1,5 kg and can become 33 cm long.
Males are larger than females. Prairie dogs have strong legs, big and long claws, which are excellent for digging rows. In these interconnected rows we find carefully created rooms (storages, bedrooms, sanitations, rooms for the offspring). Rows can be up to 5 m deep and can stretch out to more kilometres.

Breeding:

Sexual maturity is reached at the age 2-3. Mating lasts from February to April. The estrus lasts for only a day. Gestation lasts for 34 days. A female has 2-5 offspring per year. At birth, the offspring are furless. They only see after 30 days. They are born underground. They will start to explore the surroundings after 6 weeks. They become independent after 15 months. Males can mate with up to three females. During this period the males is very protective of its territory and can inflict nasty bites to its enemies.

Nourishment:

Russian grass, predominately dray western and buffalo grass, roots, smaller seeds, dry fruit (not often), carrots, cucumbers. They enjoy eating dry grasshoppers. An adult eats up to 3 kg of food per day.

Habitat:

The live on hilly areas and lowlands of South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. Loam is their favourite type of soil – it´s excellent for digging rows.

Enemies:

Birds of prey, coyotes, foxes, badger, marten, skunks and wild cats. Because they have a lot of enemies one member of the group is always on the lookout. When danger is near, it alerts the others with a loud bark. Because their rows prevent the pasture of beef and cause less food for the domestic animals, they are farmers’ arch enemies.

Advice:

These animals are not suited for an apartment (cage).


Dusan Kreslin
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