Prairie dogs are not dogs at all but ground dwelling squirrels, whose name is derived from their dog-like barking calls. The five species are native to the grasslands and prairies of North America. These very social rodents live in often enormous, but well structured, colonies called towns, all sharing a complex system of underground burrows. When a predator approaches, alarm calls are emitted by sentries who perch on mounds of earth. Different calls are used to identifiy different types of predator.
Scientific name: Cynomys
The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
The Prairie dogs can be found in a number of locations including: North America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.
The following habitats are found across the Prairie dogs distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Prairie dogs (genus Cynomys) are burrowing rodents native to the grasslands of North America. The five different species of prairie dogs are: black-tailed, white-tailed, Gunnison's, Utah, and Mexican prairie dogs. They are a type of ground squirrel, found in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In Mexico, prairie dogs are found primarily in the northern states, which lie at the southern end of the Great Plains: northeastern Sonora, north and northeastern Chihuahua, northern Coahuila, northern Nuevo León, and northern Tamaulipas. In the US, they range primarily to the west of the Mississippi River, though they have also been introduced in a few eastern locales. They are herbivorous.
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