Black Tailed Prairie Dogs Essay

1187 words - 5 pages

This profile is on the black-tailed prairie dog. It will be introducing their background, life cycle, structure and function, evolution and an additional interest. It will also be going over their unique social structure and the way they form communities called prairie towns, which are a large system of burrows. The importance of burrows, in particular, to the black-tailed prairie dog cannot be overstated.

Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs
The black-tailed prairie dog’s scientific name is Cynomys ludovicianus that, colorfully, means “dog mouse of Louisiana.” It lives in North America in the Great Plains region of the United States. Its territory stretches all the way to the ...view middle of the document...

They are also born in litters of 3 – 5, most of the time, although up to eight are possible. They gain weight rapidly and grow hair during their time in the burrow. Their eyes open on week five, and by week six, they are ready to venture aboveground, where they spend most of their time playing. Because coteries are groups of three or more adult females and usually only one adult male living with closely related juveniles, they sometimes engage in communal nursing and adults without offspring help care for the offspring of others within their group. Prairie dogs reach sexual maturity at 1 to 4 years, with females maturing faster than males.
While prairie dogs might seem like ideal parents, they are the biggest risk to the survival of their offspring. Fifty percent of their children die through infanticide by other females within the coterie. The female who kills the young is usually closely related to them, which is unusual. She also often cannibalizes them afterwards. “Problems of maternal nutrition are probably the primary reason for the infanticide and cannibalism,” (Graves, 2001). However, there are other reasons too, like getting rid of future competition and reducing the likelihood that a prairie dog’s own pups will be the ones killed. Prairie dogs also face predation from snakes, larger mammals, birds of prey, and humans. One of their greatest enemies is the sylvatic plague, which can wipe out whole towns and is carried by fleas. “When a colony becomes infected with plague, 99.5% of the prairie dogs will die in a short period of time.” (Nervig, Thomas, Fong & Plows, 2002).
Digestive System
The prairie dog’s digestive system is like most mammals, in that they use their teeth to tear into and grind up food. Prairie dog teeth are large, sharp, and like most rodents, continue to grow throughout their lifetime. Prairie dogs keep them sharp by gnawing on food and other objects to form a chiseled shape. After prairie dogs swallow their food, it passes through the stomach where it separates into nutrients and waste. The nutrients are absorbed, and the waste passes in the form of pellets or liquid waste, which the prairie dog excretes.
The prairie dog diet is very diverse depending on climate and availability. While they subsist on grasses most of the time, they also eat roots, cactus, insects, and the scat of larger animals. This makes them opportunistic omnivores. However, because they require very little protein it is entirely possible for them to survive on an herbivorous diet. Of course,...

Find Another Essay On Black Tailed Prairie dogs

The Grassland Biome Essay

1057 words - 4 pages . Some of the wild flowers can only sprout there seeds unless a searing heat. Fire also helps certain plants from growing that could change the grassland environment such as the deciduous tress. 1 Some of the examples of grassland animals are African Elephant, Bison, Black rhinoceros, black footed ferret, bobolink, brown hyena, giraffe, Greater Prairie Chicken, Ground Dove, lion, meadow vole, Northern pocket gopher, ostrich, prairie dog, and the

Different Biomes of the world Essay

3184 words - 13 pages Taiga biome on the other hand is not as diverse. Although there are many creatures living in the biome they are not exotic creatures.Description of selected Keystone species . . .Black tailed prairie digs are keystone species to the grasslands. Some of these animals depend on prairie dogs as a food source or for their habitat. Their burrows act as homes to other creatures, including burrowing owls, badgers, rabbits, black-footed ferrets, snakes

Wildlife Endangerment Due to Human Intervention in Nature

1893 words - 8 pages other species that rely on them for survival. "Providing burrows for shelter – and themselves as prey – prairie dogs anchor a vanishing ecosystem. The endangered black-footed ferret, dependent on prairie dogs for food and shelter, is the object of an intensive recovery program."13 As an ecosystem is disrupted, it consequently damages all organisms within it. All the organisms are connected in a web with each other

Meriwether Lewis

3006 words - 12 pages all his men. Another positive impact that resulted from the expedition was the discovery of new plants and animals. They discovered many mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish and gave vivid descriptions of them all. Mammals that were discovered or new to European Americans were black-tailed prairie dogs; (a rodent found in the Great Plains and is part of the Sciuridae Family), bushy-tailed Woodrat; (also a rodent but is found in the Cricetidae. This

Fox Island

1793 words - 7 pages Island State Nature Preserve contains marshes and swamps that border a wooded dune. The dune is a result of the decline of the Wisconsin glacier. The preserve is home to over 190 species of birds. The diverse land and water forms create an assortment of plant societies, which support animals. Black oak, white oak, black walnut, wild black cherry, willows, cottonwood, and sycamore trees all provide shade in the preserve. In the northwestern part of


1933 words - 8 pages former range. It is virtually impossible to describe the typical appearance of wolves. Wolves of many large arctic islands and Greenland usually appear snow-white from a distance, but closer up often reveal gray, black, or reddish shades. Wolves of northern North America and Eurasia vary in color. A single pack may contain animals that are black, shades of gray-brown, and white. Wolves in the heavily forested areas of eastern North America are more

D. Virginiana (Didelphis Marsupialis)

2851 words - 11 pages – 4.5 kilograms (4 – 10 pounds) (Yahner 11). The opossum has a gray, or black, hair color scheme, with a scaly prehensile tail (Merritt 33). The forefeet and hind feet both have five clawed toes. However, the hind big toe is opposable and resembles a thumb (Merritt 35). The opossum, being a marsupial, also has a pouch (Yahner 11). The life cycle of Didelphis virginiana is quite interesting, in that it is a marsupial. The opossum

Mustela Furo: The Domesticated Ferret

710 words - 3 pages ferrets and the prairie dogs to the same region, repopulation efforts have been difficult. Mustela Furo (the common ferret) does not face that similar problem, in fact, quite the opposite. (( Someone could usually find this ferret derived from the European pole cat in agricultural areas, natural forests, range/grasslands, rural/disturbed, scrub/shruanda, and urban areas. Ferrets are

The Great Plague

1084 words - 5 pages was being moved by trade routes, animals, and in the air. Even though is was getting moved in many ways most people to get the plague were poor and middle class not very many rich people had got the plague. (History) People were not the only thing that got affected by the plague many animals did to. A few of the animals to get infected were mice, camels, chipmunks, prairie dogs, rabbits and squirrels. But the most dangers to humans were rats

The Black Plague Continues to Propagate: Cause and Effect of Yersinia Pestis Bacterium

973 words - 4 pages . The actual transmission was in the bites of fleas that carried the virus, jumping from one human host to another. The spread of the virus through close contact was a side effect of the fleas as they left the host either due to the death of the host or the proximity of a warm host. Prairie dogs like rats have been found to carry fleas who are transmitters of the virus in its newest strain form. The fact that the spread of the virus from rodent

The Black Plague

1191 words - 5 pages caused by the bacillus Yersinia Pestis, a bacterium transmitted to humans from rodents through the bite of infected fleas. Today, when someone gets infected it is usually because they were bit or exposed to rodents, such as squirrels, rabbits, prairie dogs or scratches or bites from infected domestic cats. When outbreaks occur, and the number of rodents decreases in number due to overpopulation of fleas, the fleas from dead rodents fail to find

Similar Essays

Dogs, Ferrets, And Toads In The Wyoming Plains

1419 words - 6 pages Dogs, Ferrets, and Toads in the Wyoming Plains This report is about three species that inhabit the Wyoming plains. One of these species is the black tailed prairie dog which inhabits nearly all of the U.S. and was at one time considered to be endangered. The second is the black footed ferret which was thought to be extinct until a small colony of these little predators was discovered on a ranch near Meeteetse Wyoming. The third and final

The Importance Of Fire In Ecosystems

1161 words - 5 pages years and then decrease. In grassland and shrub communities, more complete fires result in the effects lasting longer. Overall, winter conditions impact ungulates more than effects of fire on grazing locations. The alteration of ungulate grazing patterns by fire affects other species that are impacted by the ungulates. Bison often graze preferentially around black-tailed prairie dog towns accelerating changes in the plant community surrounding the

Gp Lcc Essay

1179 words - 5 pages (Cowling etal 2004, Desmet and Cowling 2004, Groves etal 2002, Parrish etal 2003, Reyers etal 2001, Su etal 2004, Schwartz 1999, (selected references, bibliography available on request)). Several species on this proposed list are T&E species with detailed recovery plans. I believe guidance would exclude their use as landscape surrogate species. • Prairie dogs may be a species in peril (as demonstrated by reoccurring T&E candidate species

Canadian Prairie Skit Essay

933 words - 4 pages to 190 days. Soil Abby: The Prairie soil eco zone is rich and very productive. It is considered as Canada’s breadbasket. Maria: The soils that are in this eco zone are good for growing grasslands. The most soil that is most productive in the prairies are dark brown, dark gray and black soils. Abby: These type of soils are extremely fertile and it’s very compatible for growing crops like canola and grain. The prairies is known to contain almost