Note that the canines are lacking. The molars are prevalent because this is an animal that eats plants and crushes its food rather than tearing. Like all rodents, the incisors will keep growing if the animal does not wear them down by chewing. This is the same factor that we see so prominently in the beaver.
White Tailed Prairie Dog And Black Tailed Prairie Dog
Prairie dogs have a gestation period of one month. Average litter – four , blind and hairless at birth. Young remain underground for six weeks. They are weaned at 8 weeks. Greatest cause of infant mortality is infanticide by female member of coterie.
The relation of the Prairie Dog to both grasses and predators is complex
Coyotes shared the original prairie habitat with wolves
Golden Eagles are the most efficient of the aerial predators. Hawks and eagles are most efficient in winter.
Badgers are the most prolific and will dig up and kill an entire family
Prairie Rattlesnakes I nhabit the burrow, but most often prey on smaller rodents that use the burrows. The young prairie dogs are usually born while the rattler is hibernating.
Burrowing Owl live in the burrows but seldom predate the dogs
The owls actually benefit from both the burrows and the dogs vigilance in watching for other predators
Bisons are beneficiaries of the Prairie Dog aeration of the soil, the young, nutritious shoots, and the available mounds for dusting.
Plants and Prairie Dogs <ul><li>The bulk of the prairie dog diet is made up of five grasses </li></ul><ul><li>Blue grama </li></ul><ul><li>Buffalo grass </li></ul><ul><li>Sixweeks fescue </li></ul><ul><li>Tumblegrass </li></ul><ul><li>Western Wheatgrass </li></ul><ul><li>In one year, one cow eats the equivalent of 256 adult prairie dogs!! </li></ul>
Diet <ul><li>The prairie dog diet includes many more plants – such as orange globe mallow. </li></ul><ul><li>The additional plants vary depending upon the season. </li></ul><ul><li>They will eat grasshoppers and have been cannibalistic at times. </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes they chew taller, more fibrous grasses to clear observation areas. </li></ul>
Grazing by bison and pronghorn also helps to maintain the site lines for the prairie dogs Other mammals are aided by the fact that the constant mowing provides the more nutrient rich shoot and reduction of tall grasses encourages forbs
Questions??????? <ul><li>How does activity level change during day? </li></ul><ul><li>Which areas of the dog town have the most young? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there are difference in response to humans from those adjacent the road to the distant mounds? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the density of burrows? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there always a watch dog? Or do they all forage at the same time? </li></ul>