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 Prairie Dogs

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Animal Summary

The zoo’s present colony of prairie dogs was received in August of 2010.  They were donated by the Minnesota Zoological Gardens.

  • At least one member of a prairie dog coterie acts as a lookout.  It rears up on its hind legs and barks skyward to warn of approaching danger.
  • Empty sections of prairie dog towns offer a home to such animals as ground squirrels, cottontail rabbits, burrowing owls and rattlesnakes.
  • The burrow system of the prairie dog colony extends over a vast area.  These large areas are called towns which can cover hundreds of acres.  The town is divided into family units, or coteries which may cover only a few acres.


The Prairie Dog occupies just 2% of its original range.  In 1900 its numbers reached as high as 5 million.  But decades of shooting and poisoning have reduced its population by over 90%.


The main threat to Prairie Dogs is mans continued poisoning and shooting in areas where cattle roam.

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