31 Mar '12, 4am

Prairie Dogs | Prairie Dogs 101 | Defenders of Wildlife: Includes facts about the size, appearance, habitat, and...

Prairie dogs are burrowing rodents that live in large colonies in the grasslands of central and western North America. The five species of prairie dogs (black-tailed, white-tailed, Gunnison’s, Mexican and Utah) were once likely more than one billion strong, and their colonies covered roughly 100 million acres. Since the late 1800s, their numbers have been reduced by at least 95 percent, and they are now found in comparatively small and fragmented colonies that total roughly 2-3 million acres. Why They’re Important Prairie dogs are considered a “keystone” species because their colonies create islands of habitat that benefit approximately 150 other species. They are a food source for many animals, including coyotes, eagles, badgers, and the critically endangered black-footed ferret . Many species, like the black-footed ferret and tiger salamander, use their burrows as homes....

Full article: http://www.defenders.org/prairie-dogs/prairie-dogs-101

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