|by Marcia Malory|
Prairie dogs belong to the squirrel family, Sciuridae.
They live in grasslands in North America, where they eat grasses, herbs, seeds and insects.
Prairie dogs are famous for their enormous networks of underground tunnels, which house many individuals.
A prairie dog colony, or town, can take up hundreds of acres.
Prairie dog towns are divided into units known as wards.
Wards are subdivided into coteries.
Each coterie usually covers less than an acre.
Most individuals stay within their own coteries
Prairie dogs devote a large portion of their time building and re building their colonies.
They sometimes share them with snakes and owls.
Prairie dogs weigh between 1 ½ and 3 pounds. They have fat bodies, broad round heads, fuzzy tails and short legs. They have yellowish fur, dark ears, white patches on their faces and whitish bellies.
When two prairie dogs meet, they kiss.
If a prairie dog senses danger, it will alert other prairie dogs with a high pitched call.
Prairie dogs have different calls for different predators.
Farmers sometimes consider prairie dogs to be pests and kill them.
Some species of prairie dog are now considered to be endangered.