Arizona black-tailed prairie dog
The black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus ) is a rodent of the family Sciuridae found in the Great Plains of North America from about the United States-Canada border to the United States-Mexico border. Unlike some other prairie dogs, these animals do not truly hibernate. The black-tailed prairie dog can be seen above ground in midwinter. A black-tailed prairie dog town in Texas was reported to cover 25,000 sq mi (64,000 km2) and included 400,000,000 individuals. Prior to habitat destruction, the species may have been the most abundant prairie dog in central North America. It was one of two prairie dogs described by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the journals and diaries of their expedition.
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example, foliage, for the main component of its die...
In zoology, a folivore is a herbivore that specializes in eating leaves. Mature leaves contain a high proportion of hard-to-digest cellulose, less ...
In zoology, a graminivore (not to be confused with a granivore) is an herbivorous animal that feeds primarily on grass. Graminivory is a form of g...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
A fossorial animal is one adapted to digging which lives primarily but not solely, underground. Some examples are badgers, naked mole-rats, clams, ...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
A burrow is a hole or tunnel excavated into the ground by an animal to create a space suitable for habitation, temporary refuge, or as a byproduct ...
Torpor is a state of decreased physiological activity in an animal, usually marked by a reduced body temperature and metabolic rate. Torpor enables...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
Polygynandry is a mating system in which both males and females have multiple mating partners during a breeding season.
Colonial animals live in large aggregations composed of two or more conspecific individuals in close association with or connected to, one another....
A dominance hierarchy (formerly and colloquially called a pecking order) is a type of social hierarchy that arises when members of animal social gr...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
U.U.S. States Animals
Prairie dogs are named for the dog-like yip they make. In fact, they are fairly big, stout, ground-dwelling squirrels. Black-tailed prairie dogs are generally pinkish-brown to tan on their upperparts and buff to whitish on their lower parts. Their name comes from the distinctive black tip on their short tail. The color of their coat varies slightly as the seasons change, their body hair tipped with black in winter and white in summer. There are no other significant characteristics that separate the genders, although males are usually heavier than females.
Black-tailed prairie dogs occur in the extreme south of central Canada, throughout the United States, and in north-eastern Mexico. They inhabit a fairly limited range of open, arid, level, short-grass prairies. They are often found near river flats and in coulee bottomlands where greasewood, sagebrush, and prickly pear grow. These animals never inhabit moist areas.
Prairie dogs live in towns or colonies, sometimes numbering hundreds, living in a very small area. The town has certain neighborhoods or coteries. The females usually stay in their natal coterie, while males disperse to a coterie nearby. Each coterie contains a group of females who are closely related (mothers, sisters, and aunts) and one or perhaps two territorial males. During the breeding season, females will aggressively defend their burrow against other females and sometimes even raid burrows of other female prairie dogs and kill their pups. These animals are diurnal and are active throughout the year. They do not hibernate, unlike many other prairie dog species. When active above ground, they engage in a range of behavior, such as moving dirt to enhance burrow entrances, gathering nesting material, and scratching to cope with fleas.
Black-tailed prairie dogs are typically polygynous (or harem-polygynous); a single male will mate with multiple females from his home coterie. In some cases, though, there may be more than one male living in one large coterie. In such a case, a female in the coterie may breed with both of the resident males, which indicates a polygynandrous (promiscuous) mating system. Mating occurs between January and April, according to the latitude. One to eight pups per litter (3-4 on average) are born following a gestation of between 33 and 38 days. Pups are born naked with their eyes closed and stay in their burrow for around six weeks. They are weaned at about seven weeks but stay near to their mother for two more weeks. Females stay in their natal coterie for the rest of their lives, but males disperse when they become yearlings. Black-tailed prairie dogs reach reproductive maturity at about 1-3 years old.
The number of Black-tailed prairie dogs has decreased due to habitat destruction as a result of development and agriculture. Widely considered a pest for destroying cultivated crops, they are exterminated through shooting and poisoning. Sylvatic plague-a disease that arrived in North America in 1900-also threatens the prairie dogs’ survival. These animals do not seem to have an immunity to plague, which now has impacted almost every area where they live. A plague often kills most if not all individuals in an area within a few days.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total Black-tailed prairie dog population size is around 18,420,000 individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC), but their numbers today are decreasing.
Black-tailed prairie dogs have a number of essential roles in their ecosystem. This species modifies the vegetation in the area, aerates the soil, and provides food as well as shelter for a variety of predators, including mammals, snakes, and birds of prey. Being primary consumers, they provide a vital link in food webs.