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Black-tailed Prairie Dog Podcast: Extras
The grassland ecosystem of the Janos region of Chihuahua is home to the last free-roaming herd of bison in Mexico. View a gallery of bison and other prairie mammals from Ari’s trip to the prairie of Chihuahua, Mexico. Images courtesy of Gerardo Ceballos and Rurik List
The largest colony of black-tailed prairie dogs ever recorded stretched for 65,000 square miles beneath a Texas prairie. Scientists estimate the prairie dog town was home to 400 million prairie dogs.
Prairie dogs are ecosystem engineers, reshaping and modifying the landscape they inhabit. They keep the vegetation cropped short, which may aid the colony in spotting predators. They aerate the soil with their tunnel excavations, attracting harvester ants. The colony provides ideal nesting habitat for certain birds, including the burrowing owl and the rare mountain plover.
You may not live near prairie dogs, but it’s likely you live near one of their relatives. Tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, and flying squirrels share the family Scurridae with prairie dogs. Snap a photo of your local member of the large and diverse squirrel family and share it with EOL via our Flickr Group Pool.