black-tailed prairie dogs

Last Stand on the Prairie

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prairie dogs; black-tailed prairie dog
These two took up residence near a cattle shelter. They are on watch to be sure it’s safe to let the youngsters out.

Prairie dogs have a language all their own. They’re not really dogs, they are really part of the marmot family, but they bark and yip like dogs, which is how they got their name.

prairie dog jump-yip
These prairie dogs are doing a “jump-yip” which is a call they give. It travels through the colony like watching the “wave” at a football game. Only it is far more charming!

Sophisticated research has found their language to be quite complex, as you can learn about in this Scientific American blog that is consistent with what I’d learned many years ago.

prairie dogs
One parent is a sentry while the other one expands the burrow.

They give bark-like warnings to their colony-mates when they see a predator approaching, and that predator can be described uniquely. The colony’s call for a man is different, for example, upon seeing a man than it is when it sees a man with a shotgun or rifle.

prairie dog kiss
Baby prairie dogs kissing!

I’ve seen prairie dogs routinely since I moved to Colorado many years ago, and I find them to be a precious part of the ecology. I was disappointed to learn that 98% of their former size has been lost to car traffic, farming, ranching, and housing developments.

black-tailed prairie dogs
Here’s a family of two adults and six babies!

They are fighting to keep their species a member of the ecology, and they have been losing. They are wonderfully animated figures that are a major part of the prairie food chain.

prairie dogs
Parent is bringing bedding that he/she took it into the burrow.

They feed the foxes, coyotes, hawks, and eagles. It’s a wonder that they have endured as much as they have. Luckily they are pretty prolific, and the babies are precious.

prairie dog puppies
Black-tail prairie dog puppies

As spirit guides, prairie dogs signify communication and family, the traits most closely affiliated with them.

black-tailed prairie dogs
Parent feeding puppy grass

This post is to celebrate the black-tailed prairie dogs in my area and a salute to a hardy species. They’re an underdog in the fight against urban growth, but my bets are on them.

prairie dogs, Rocky Mountain foothills
You can see the prairie dogs are located on the prairie that lead up to the foothills to the Rocky Mountains.

Click on the pictures, below to see them large. Those little squirts are really cute!

#prairie dog, #nature, #Colorado, #animals, #spirit guides, #spring


        1. I can see that! Fearless! But if you were encroaching on their territory, then I’m sure they were barking at you rather than peacefully watching. And I’m sure you were VERY young!

          Liked by 1 person

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