How much do you know about Prairie Dogs?

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Take a prairie dog Quiz!

Click a question to see its answer.

1. Why do rabbits, snakes and burrowing owls like prairie dogs?

Prairie dog burrows provide homes for these animals.

2. Do prairie dogs talk to each other?

Prairie dogs talk with yips. They have their own language. They can tell each other when enemies are coming. They have a word for coyote, hawk, dog, fox, man. They also have words to tell how fast a man is walking and if he is carrying a gun. They have many words to talk to each other about their world.

3. Do prairie dogs have feelings?

We can’t speak their language so we can’t ask them. But they seem to show affection for one another. They greet and groom each other. They play together. Some scientists believe that they take a vote to elect a leader of their colony. The best guess is that they do have feelings.

4. What do prairie dogs eat?

Grass and seeds.


5. What are prairie dog families like?

They have a dad with different moms who all have 3 or 4 babies. The whole family together is called a coterie. A coterie will share the same burrows. A group of coteries is called a prairie dog colony. Prairie dog colonies used to stretch on for miles and miles across the prairie.

6. Where do prairie dogs live?

They live on the prairie in underground burrows that have a front door and at least 1 back door. The burrows have different rooms – to store food, to sleep, to potty when the weather is bad outside, to listen for predators. The burrows keep them cool when the weather is hot and warm when the weather is cold.

7. Why do ferrets, badgers, coyotes and hawks need prairie dogs?

Prairie dogs are food for these animals.

8. Is it easy to get plague from a prairie dog?

It is not easy. Plague is carried by fleas and sometimes prairie dogs have fleas. Prairie dogs have no immunity to plague so they die as soon as they are bitten by a flea with plague. That is why they are called an indicator species. They indicate where plague is present because they all die. It is easier to get plague from your cat or dog.


9. What do prairie dogs do when it gets hot or cold outside?

They go underground into their burrow homes.

10. Do we have a lot of prairie dogs in Arizona?

We have lost 98% of the prairie dogs we once had in Arizona. It may look like we have a lot, because people build their houses where prairie dogs already live – where it is flat. But there are not many left. We used to have 2 kinds of prairie dogs in Arizona – black-tailed and Gunnison's. There are no black-tailed prairie dogs left. We will have to work to protect prairie dogs if we want to keep them.

11. Are prairie dogs really dogs?

No. They are members of the squirrel family.

12. Why do we need prairie dogs?

Prairie dogs make prairies healthy. By trimming the grass, they make the grass more nutritious. Their burrows give the rain a place to soak into the ground. More insects live at prairie dog colonies because the prairie dogs dig in the soil and make it looser. Animals who eat insects like prairie dog colonies because there are more insects. Some animals live in prairie dog burrows. Some animals need prairie dogs for food. People need prairie dogs because they help our world to be more healthy and more

13. How can we help prairie dogs?

We can tell other people about prairie dogs. We can tell people that prairie dogs are intelligent and they communicate with each other. We can tell people how other animals need prairie dogs. We can tell people how prairie dogs help us. We can learn more about all the animals who live on a prairie and who share planet Earth with us.

Prairie Dog Life

Click on the burrow images to find out more.

Nursing Chamber

A mother keeps her young pups safe while the other Prairie Dogs investigate the snake.

Entering the Burrow

A prairie dog hears an emergency cry of "snake" and goes to investigate.

Listening chamber

A prairie dog sits listening just beneath the surface of the ground.

The Rattlesnake

The rattlesnake found a prairie dog burrow to sleep in but has been discovered by the prairie dogs.

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