Prairie dogs are charming. Their underground burrows have extensive tunnels, entrances, and exits. The chambers within have defined nurseries, kitchens/pantries, sleeping quarters, and bathrooms. They are highly social and greet each other with a prairie dog kiss or nuzzle. The family group or entire Prairie Dog Town share food, groom, play with each other, and defend their burrow.
They are considered a keystone species because their existence benefits around 150 other species of animal. They aerate the soil, which helps to diversify plant life in the open grasslands. They are food for many other prairie dwellers such as hawks, foxes, and ferrets. They make adorable noises and stand on their hind legs to survey the world around them.
They are facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild because they are viewed as “pests” in the agricultural community. Their numbers have decreased by over 95%, with current populations in the 10-20 million range where once there may have been over a billion.
Another disheartening instance of humans ruining the planet for the rest of the natural world. Our hearts and ecosystems will sorely miss the charismatic and adorable Prairie Dog should they reach extinction…