Prairie dog

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Cynomys gunnisoni
Cynomys leucurus
Cynomys ludovicianus
Cynomys mexicanus
Cynomys parvidens

Prairie dogs (Cynomys) are burrowing rodents native to the grasslands of North America. There are five different species of prairie dogs: black-tailed, white-tailed, Gunnison's, Utah and Mexican prairie dogs. They are a type of ground squirrel. On average, these stout-bodied rodents will grow to be between 30–40 centimetres (12–16 in) long, including the short tail and weigh between 0.5–1.5 kilograms (1–3 lb). They are found in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In Mexico, prairie dogs are primarily found in the northern states which are the southern end of the great plains: northeastern Sonora, north and northeastern Chihuahua, northern Coahuila, northern Nuevo León, and northern Tamaulipas; in the U.S., they range primarily to the west of the Mississippi River, though they have also been introduced in a few eastern locales. They will eat all sorts of vegetables and fruits.

Contents

Etymology

Prairie dogs are named for their habitat and warning call, which sounds similar to a dog's bark. The name was in use by at least 1774.[1] The 1804 journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition note that in September 1804, they "discovered a Village of an animal the French Call the Prairie Dog."[2] Its genus, Cynomys, derives from the Greek for dog mouse.

In companies that use large numbers of cubicles in a common space, employees sometimes use the term prairie dogging to refer to the action of several people simultaneously looking over the walls of their cubicles in response to a noise or other distraction. This action is thought to resemble the startled response of a group of prairie dogs.[3]

Biology and behavior

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