January 14, 2020: Prairie Dog Colony, McIntosh Lake

 

Still a common site on the grasslands of the American plains, these rodents are fun to watch and are popular with tourists.

Prairie dogs (3)

Prairie dogs live in underground burrows connected by an extensive network of tunnels, with characteristic surface mounds where you'll often see them standing as they are in these photos, looking for threats.  If they sense danger they sound a loud warning cry to alert other prairie dogs.  They live in family groups -- a male, several females and their offspring.

Prairie dogs (5)

Much of the plains has been converted to farming or pastureland, and prairie dogs are usually not welcome on farms because their digging destroys the farming landscape and endangers livestock (who can break a leg if they step into a burrow).  Their range has shrunk to about five percent of what it once was, but they are usually not hard to spot on a trip across the plains.

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Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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