… The Barking Squirrels
A few years ago there was an article on a local news website about a prairie dog who decided to make his home on (or should I say in) the first hole green at a local golf course. The manager at the golf course had the area roped off so not to disturb him and told the news that he was welcome to stay as long as he wanted. Although Prairie dogs are native to the United States, Canada & Mexico, they are usually found in the northwestern states, not in Florida. It is assumed that this little guy was someone’s pet who either escaped or was released. Although it is illegal to release non-native species into the wild it happens often. Prairie dogs have become popular pets over the years but like any exotic pet make sure you research before deciding to adopt. It is important to note that they can be difficult pets to care for. They require a lot of attention, a very special diet and are known to bite on occasion. Despite this, they are very social and need to be with other prairie dogs to be truly happy.
Fun facts about Prairie dogs ...
- They grow to 16 inches long, weigh up to 3lbs and feed primarily on grasses and some insects.
- The Prairie got his name because of his ability to ward off predators with a high-pitched barking dog like call.
- Prairie dogs are rodents that love to burrow and are known for being escape artists. They dig complex underground tunnel systems that go on for acres.
- Of course, one single prairie dog will not dig a mile long tunnel alone. They are very social creatures that live in large colonies with several families of Prairie dogs within the same tunnel system. The colonies are called Coteries.
- Because they normally live where the climate changes from 100 degrees in the summer to 35 degrees in the winter, their burrows help to control temperatures as well as protect them from hailstorms and blizzards.
- Most farm owners in the west consider the prairie dog to be a nuisance, preferring to have them removed from their fields for fear their horses or cows might twist a leg in one of the burrow holes.
- There have many natural predators in the wild including; coyotes, foxes, badger, bobcats, eagles, and hawks. The Prairie dogs exceptional hearing, vision, and communication skills help them to avoid these predators.