Area:  Scattered colonies throughout the Great Plains

Habitat:  Grasslands

Diet:  Grasses, roots, and seeds; occasional insects

Size:    12 - 16 inches, and weigh 1.1-3.3 lbs

          Prairie dogs are colonial animals that live in complex networks of tunnels with multiple openings. Colonies are easily identified by the raised-burrow entrances that give the diminutive prairie dogs some extra height when acting as sentries and watching for signs of danger. The tunnels contain separate "rooms" for sleeping, rearing young, storing food and eliminating waste.

          Prairie dogs are very social and live in closely-knit family groups called "coteries." Coteries usually contain an adult male, one or more adult females and their young offspring. These coteries are grouped together into wards (or neighborhoods) and several wards make up a colony or town.

          Prairie dogs have a complex system of communication that includes a variety of pitched warning barks that signal different types of predators. Prairie dogs earned their name from settlers traveling across the plains who thought that these warning calls sounded similar to dogs barking. (Defenders of Wildlife)

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