prairie dog

Encyclopedia Article


Belonging to the squirrel family of rodents, the prairie dog is a very social burrowing rodent who lives in colonies, called towns, that can include up to several hundred individuals. Communication occurs quickly throughout the town, as prairie dogs communicate via a range of physical contact, vocalization, and drumming patterns they beat into the earth's surface with their paws. The prairie dog language is believed to be the most advanced form of natural animal language.

Prairie dog numbers have declined drastically due to shootings, plague cycles, and poisoning.

Photo Credit: 

"Black-tailed prairie dog pups, Witchita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma, April 25, 2014" by Larry Smith is licensed under CC BY.